The Spirit of Dialogue: Lessons from Faith Traditions in Transforming Conflict

Event information
Venue:FIU Modesto A. Maidique Campus, SIPA 103


Jain Studies Program
Steven J. Green School of International and Public Affairs
Fifth Mahavir Nirvan Lecture on Applied Jain Ethics

The Spirit of Dialogue: Lessons from Faith Traditions in Transforming Conflict
Presentation by Dr. Aaron Wolf, Oregon State University

Tuesday, November 14, 2017 | 11 AM | FIU Modesto A. Maidique Campus | SIPA 103

Dr. Wolf has spent 20 years as a facilitator and scholar studying conflicts over shared water resources around the world. These experiences have led him to see the limitations of Western secular models of conflict resolution and cooperation based on rationality and interest, summed up in the maxim, “People will agree when it’s in their interest to agree.” Instead, Wolf seeks to shift the discussion from “interests” to “common values” as the starting point for real dialogue. He draws lessons from a diversity of faith traditions to transform conflict, such as the “true listening” practiced by Buddhist monks, contrasting it with the “active listening” advocated by many mediators. Alignment with an energy beyond oneself, what Christians would call grace, can change self-righteousness into a community concern. Dr. Wolf will present these and other practical lessons learned from years of traveling, reading and discussing these issues with practitioners from a variety of the world’s faith traditions and with those who have negotiated conflicts in a breadth of settings.

Dr. Aaron Wolf is Professor of Geography in the College of Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences at Oregon State University. His research focuses on issues relating transboundary water resources to political conflict and cooperation. He combines environmental science with dispute resolution theory and practice. Dr. Wolf has consulted on various aspects of international water resources and dispute resolution for the U.S. Department of State, the U.S. Agency for International Development and the World Bank, as well as several foreign governments. He is currently a Professor of Water Governance at UNESCO-IHE Delft Institute for Water Education based in Delft, Netherlands.

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