Workshop on "New Approaches to Conflict Transformation: Trust, Empathy and Dialogue" at Aberystwyth University in Wales

Samuel Passow gave a lecture on the “Inherent tensions or negotiator dilemmas which influence the dialogue at the bargaining table” at a workshop hosted by the David Davies Memorial Institute of International Studies at Aberystwyth University in Wales.  The aim of the workshop was to examine the role that trust, dialogue and empathy play in transforming conflict in International Relations.  The role that these concepts play in identify formation, understanding individual and community needs and interests, representations of gender and security, and decision-making processes mean that they should be at the heart of research on conflict transformation.

Bringing together leading academics and conflict resolution practitioners, the participants explored a range of important issues including: the theoretical concepts of trust, dialogue and empathy;  the role of empathy in particular cases of conflict and post-conflict reconciliation;  the relationship between perceptions of justice and trust, dialogue and empathy;  the challenges to building trust both within and between states drawing on different examples of recent and on-going conflicts;  and discursive practices which shape and construct conflict and its transformation.

The workshop took place in the Department of International Politics, Aberystwyth University, 23-24 June 2010 with financial support from the ESRC and Aberystwyth University. Also speaking at the workshop were Professor Karin Fierke (St. Andrews University);  Professor Nicholas Wheeler (Aberystwyth University);  Professor Lynne Cameron (Open University);  Dr Gabrielle Lynch (University of Leeds);  Paul Ingram (British American Security Information Council) and Dr Roxane Farmanfarmaian (University of Cambridge).