Dennis Sandole

Institute of Conflict Analysis and Resolution, George Mason University

Interviewed by Julian Portilla, 2003

This rough transcript provides a text alternative to audio. We apologize for occasional errors and unintelligible sections (which are marked with ???).

Q: How do you talk about the past and how do you deal with affective levels without getting into the "he said, she said," and this is what you did to me, I am the victim. This all leads to the cognitive blindness.

A: Where the emotion determines what you are saying. I think it might be quite a challenge to design processes where, I think Louis Diamond and ambassador John McDonald did in Cyprus from the Institute for Multi Track Diplomacy are the only ones I know of who train the parties separately and together and then bring them together to talk about the conflict. Most of us who do third party intervention don't do the training first. When you talk to ambassador McDonald and Dr. Diamond they do this so that they can have a common language, so that is not an issue. If anything the conflict resolution schools should help them get closer to dealing with the cognitive, affective connection and disconnect. Most of us don't do the training we just jump right in and start talking, including here. I am not aware of any one here that does the training first, nor do I. I don't do a lot of training in any case. Usually when I do a third party intervention I eak out three to five days and I go do it some place, ideally you should do what they do. Training the party requires time, funding, and infrastructure support. You train them first in conflict resolution and theory, handling concepts and skills separately talking about other conflicts never about theirs. Then you train them together still talking about different conflicts and then you bring them together with that first separate, and then joint training background. Finally, you talk about their conflict. I know of no one else who does this. I am sure there are but I don't know of them the field has become so huge.