In 2001, I landed on an innovation to apply Open Space Technology to two warring factions of Kurds (of course, as these things go, it was not a new idea as future podcast interviews will reveal, but at the time, I didn't know that.) Zach Metz was a graduate student then and supported me on the project. He then, amazingly, rolled out theme and variation of the design all over the world -- in Iraq, East Timor and other places. Anyway, he's a crystal clear thinker, courageous and lovely guy and I'm sure you will enjoy spending some time with him on this podcast.
In this episode, Zach describes his extensive experience in different conflict-affected societies. Our conversation focuses on the conventional wisdom in the field that interventions must be systemic – “peace writ large” – if they are to be effective, and contrasts that thinking with the question of whether smaller initiatives – “peace writ small” -- can make a profound difference, particularly in pervasive, intractable conflict. Zach tells a specific and very moving anecdote about an event in 2005 Iraq in which a single intense interchange between participants embodied many of the identity group tensions in the war-torn country, while shifting the group to a different and much more cohesive place.
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Thanks for listening and be sure to tune in again for next week's episode.