Alliance for International Conflict Resolution

Andrea Strimling

Commissioner, International ADR, Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service; also a founder of ACRON (the Applied Conflict Resolution Organizations Network)

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 ???).

But my intuition, as I said, which coincides with the interests of many, many other thoughtful people in this field was that we were missing major opportunities to really do good in the world because we are not working together. And so I've been focusing a lot of my effort on creating what I would call the infrastructure, to support the relationships that can yield effective cooperation on the ground. So the Alliance for International Conflict Resolution is that kind of infrastructure, it's a network of organizations that have to a very large extent, conceived of themselves as competitors for many, many years.

Yet they are headed by colleagues and even in many cases friends. So its this interesting mix of competition and cooperation, but the truth is that all of us are struggling, or many of us are struggling with the same sets of organizational challenges, as well as the same sets of challenges on the ground. I would say that we all have complimentary approaches to the purpose of this network and that is to facilitate the development of not just individual, but institutional relationships of trust and mutual understanding. Including to actively promote and support, including providing financial support, initiatives on the ground that test various models of collaboration, study them, learn from them and feed them back into the field.

The network actually has three standing committees. We have a collaboration committee that is specifically charged with developing mechanisms for on the ground collaboration among ??? but also more broadly with other institutions, organizations, and networks around the world. We have an education outreach committee, which is intended, which is focusing on building awareness of and support for the field in key constituencies that we haven't tapped adequately. We are building support on Capitol Hill, building support and appreciation for "Track II Diplomacy" within the state department, within sort of old school Track I circles or even not old school, its just within first track diplomatic circles. We are also building support within the defense department and building new bridges between our field and the security community. The bridges really haven't been built yet, but we are reaching out to non-traditional funders of the field, like the corporate community and engaging them not just their dollars but actually as partners and looking at approaches to building sustainable peace around the world. So this is education and outreach. And the third committee is Theory Practice, and its bringing scholars and practitioners together to try to bridge that divide.