Frontiers of Conflict Management

This is an excerpt from a 2007 interview with Gini Nelson for
It was published under the title of Spirit in Life and Practice. 

Gini Nelson: What do you think are the big questions to be answered next in the conflict management field?

Ken Cloke: The frontiers, as I see them, are both internal and external. The internal frontiers include a deeper understanding of the neurophysiology of conflict and how to respond to it (reading Antonio Damasio’s Looking for Spinoza is a good start) and exploring the ability to explore caring (heart) and energy (spirit) as sources of deep understanding, powerful techniques, and fresh approaches to resolution. The external frontiers include coming to terms with the systemic sources of conflict, especially their chronic social, economic, and political causes; taking responsibility for helping to resolve international disputes through the United Nations; developing a program I call “Mediators Beyond Borders;” and applying conflict resolution systems design principles – not only to organizational disputes, but to social and political institutions on all scales. It is becoming increasingly clear that we will not survive long as a species, or an ecosystem, unless we learn how to communicate, solve problems, negotiate, and resolve our conflicts peacefully across cultural, religious, and national boundaries, without resorting to enmity and warfare.