by Einav Dinur and Rupert Friederichsen
It’s 2015 – Welcome to CISV’s year of Conflict and Resolution!
Happy New Year, CISV world!
We are excited to launch 2015 as the year of Conflict and Resolution. Let’s take our stylish 2015 banner (designed by Alex Neuman) as a basis to explore what we mean by those two words, ‘conflict’ and ‘resolution’.
In the banner conflict is symbolised by a flash of lightning. Lightning comes with thunder and it releases a lot of energy. If it hits, lightning can set things on fire and kill. Conflict also has these qualities. A lot of energy is released when we shout at each other and argue. Violent conflicts harm and kill many people around the world every day. So it may seem logical to view conflict as something that should be avoided and it is common for us to feel that if a conflict arises it means that something is wrong.
Resolution in our banner is symbolized by the heart, the universal symbol of love. Needless to say that we all want and need love, that we all aspire to give love, and that we would all prefer being in a place where love is in the air, rather than conflict.
So it is completely understandable that we tend to avoid conflict. But if we look at the banner as a whole, there is both conflict and resolution. And that is also the reality of human life. Conflicts, small or large, are all around us. We can’t, realistically, avoid them. But by trying to avoid conflict rather than look it in the eye and deal with it, we miss out. Because we won’t develop the knowledge, skills and attitudes that we need to handle conflict in a constructive way.
Throughout the year, we will explain in much more detail what we mean by knowledge, skills and attitudes for conflict management. We will also explore how conflict can indeed be constructive – think of the light and energy created by lightning. In other words, looking again at the whole of our banner, our 2015 peace education focus area will explore the line where blue and red meet: how does conflict turn into something different, something better?; how do conflicts arise?; can the lightning bolt help the heart grow?; can the heart turn the destructive energy of lightning into a force for good?
These questions indicate our attitude towards conflict and how to deal with it. And we encourage you to also accept conflict as a natural result of different thoughts, ideals, feelings, opinions and behaviours coming together. We promise to support you, throughout the year, with specially cooked food for thought and with practical tips on how to become better able to deal with conflict effectively, rather than run away from it. We hope that you are curious enough to make it a new year’s resolution to get involved in CISV’s educational work for a more just and peaceful world. In our next post we will explain who our teams are this year and what we will offer you throughout the year. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and get our blog posts delivered directly into your inbox by subscribing to our RSS feed on this page.
Happy New Year once more!
(Author of Confronting Conflicts and member of the Conference and Events Committee)
(Training and Quality Assurance Manager)