Mizan Law Review

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Comment: Interactive Problem-Solving Interventions as Instrument of Conflict Transformation: Prospects and Challenges

Frew Demeke Alemu


Even though wars between states were historically the major forms of conflict, civil strife based on questions of identity, ethnicity, religion and other similar grounds has become the order of the day after the end of the Second World War. The complexity of mostly overlapping, social, economic, cultural, political and religious factors in these conflicts makes them difficult to deal with. This structural and conceptual metamorphosis in the international conflict paradigm has required the international community to rethink the traditional and formal conflict management and third party intervention techniques and instruments such as negotiation and mediation. In the course of achieving these goals, conflict scholars have focused on multiple but concurrent multi-track diplomacy instruments. Track II of this multi-track diplomacy and its conflict transformation instruments are based on the concerted efforts of unofficial actors to establish unofficial communication channels and facilitate the relations between the conflicting parties. One of the most commonly used instruments of Track II diplomacy is interactive problem-solving. The primary (but not the only) instrument of interactive problem-solving is a problem-solving workshop. This interdisciplinary comment deals with pertinent issues of relevance with regard to the nature and effectiveness of this conflict transformation instrument. In doing so, it makes a practical effectiveness assessment test against one of such methods, i.e., the Kumi method. 

Key terms

Conflict, conflict transformation, multi-track diplomacy, Track II diplomacy, interactive problem-solving, problem-solving workshop, Kumi Method
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