Julian Baggini’s recently published book “How the world thinks” is a history of global philosophy, looking at how thinking has developed in different places and times. In the introduction he highlights the importance of not just seeing something from another’s perspective, but trying to see what they are seeing as well. As he puts it:…

You can get much farther with a kind word and a gun than you can with a kind word alone. Al Capone This popular quote attributed to the famous US mobster announce the use of force and other dirty tricks in negotiation. I do not especially like it. I would relativise it by the following…

The story of the blindfolded men who each approach an elephant from different angles (at the tusk it’s described as a spear, at the tail a rope, at the leg a tree etc.) is a good example of how multiple truths can exist depending on the perspective you take. Different views can often be the…

I had the privilege of running a workshop with Marcus Lim (Executive Director, Singapore International Mediation Institute) at CDRC Vienna. For those of you who are unfamiliar with CDRC Vienna, it is a law school competition which focuses on components of negotiation, mediation advocacy and mediation. It is in its third year of running, and…

I am travelling back from a couple of days in and around Dublin, discussing an initiative on respectful political dialogue with politicians, academics and conflict resolution professionals. It was a privilege to spend time at Glencree, the centre for peace and reconciliation which was one of those places where so much was done in recent…

Public Service Warning: This blog post will contain spoilers. If you have not watched Arrival and intend to, please do not read any further. I’m a movie addict. I admit it. And I am ashamed to say that most times, my favourite genre of movies is the “check your brain in at the door shoot…

In this article I discuss some of the perception and cognitive biases relevant to conflict as well as the interaction between biases and conflict. I think that it is important for mediators to be aware of the parties’ biases, firstly, to understand how biases are contributing to the conflict, and secondly, to help the parties…

I have just read Ian Macduff’s recent Kluwer blog (26 November: “Upheaval and resilience: a note from the Shaky Isles”). What a privilege it is, in this blog, to follow Ian’s erudite writing. He captures so well the spirit of the age, with all its uncertainty, tragedy, hope and opportunity. On that theme, my wife…