“IF OUR HEART IS AT WAR, WE HAVE BROUGHT ABOUT THIS CONDITION OURSELVES”
Discovering the roots and origins of conflicts around the world as well as the methodologies to confronting and resolving them.
Conflicts and the ongoing clashing of ideologies among states and peoples occur constantly and besiege us globally, from conflicts in the Maldives in Asia to the Israeli- Palestinian in the Middle East. In his most intriguing presentation at the University of Saint Joseph, Prof. Barry Bannister highlighted several key attributes and behavioral patterns shared universally by political aspirants and politicians that define the roots and origins of conflicts. In addition, Prof. Bannister discussed possible approaches to modern day conflicts as well as the restoration of peace in regions impacted by conflicts.
Let’s Start from the Beginning
To begin with, Prof. Bannister exhibited remarkable knowledge of Maldivian history and heritage as well as an in depth understanding of the Maldivian people. Prof. Bannister’s extended stay in the Maldives allowed him to carefully analyze the hardships and weak spots of the islands as well as the origins of the on going conflict and mismanagement that weakens the regions these days. To expand, some of the challenges to peace identified by Prof. Bannister include the vast number of islands that compose the Maldives (nearly 1200!) and the cultural, community-based differences between Maldivian people in different Maldivian islands.
Continuing, Prof. Bannister has worked hand in hand with the Maldivian president on a program to promote and build democracy. In addition to his work with the high-ranking civil servants Prof. Bannister constructed a series of what he calls ‘seminars’ to train civil servants of lower ranks in governmental administration. These seminars sought to teach and ultimately certify civil servants in the ways of conflict resolution and better assessment of public needs.
Furthermore, Prof. Bannister is a Visiting Professor at the University of Saint Joseph who specializes in the negotiations and ultimate resolution of conflicts since 2007. Prof. Bannister has been incredibly active in his field, working for some major international bodies including the US Department of State, the World Bank and the more recent United Nations Development Program (UNDP) where he served as a government consultant to the Republic of the Maldives that was going through a civil reform in hopes for democratization. In addition to his work for major governmental and international bodies Prof. Bannister is also a founding editor of the liberal arts journal Evaluation Journal of Australia as well as the Northerly.
Prof. Bannister summed the talk with a quote which he believes captures the essence of conflict resolution, and, according to him, is the key attribute one should attain in order to truly resolve a conflict: “If our heart is at war, we have brought about this condition ourselves”. To conclude, one shall not look to assign blame but focus on what he must do in order to solve the conflict. Once blame is removed from the equation a conflict can be resolved.
Dan Shalev, Yr1 Communication & Media
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