Ep. 014: Aldo Civico: Working in the Fire
In this episode, Susan interviews Aldo Civico, cease-fire negotiator, peacebuilder and, in the words of George Mitchell, “one of the most innovative leaders in the field of conflict resolution. Aldo talks about how his Austrian grandfather, a resistance fighter against Hitler during WWII, planted the seeds in him to do this work – a man who lived for something bigger than himself. He recounts his professional journey of being inspired by life coach Tony Robbins particularly Robbins’ work with a live conflict on 9/11 using tools such as performance psychology, neurolinguistic programming (NLP), etc. In that experience, Aldo realized that the “Getting to Yes” and conflict resolution frameworks could be radically deepened to create lasting shifts for his clients by incorporating more of these kinds of tools.
Aldo shares with humility one of his early stories of traveling to a warzone in Colombia with the mind-set of “expert” from New York and realizing that he had to throw away all of his notes, re-connect to his purpose of service and listen deeply to the group he was working with. His tale is a great one of adapting quickly to the power of storytelling and simply staying with participants — with deep listening, no agenda or manipulation –to allow the power of story to unfold.
Aldo shares his experience in building rapport with perpetrators of some very dark crimes and understanding how the capacity for violence lives in all of us. He also talks about the need to change the landscape and narrative from “let’s get ISIS” and shares a beautiful image of a young German pianist whose response to the recent violence in Paris was to put his piano on a truck and travel overnight to play Lennon’s “Imagine” for an outdoor audience.
He talks about his vision of the future of conflict resolution work and how building capacity in urban communities to live conflict resolution principles will probably have maximum impact.
There is a lot of learning in this episode. You many want to listen closely, and listen twice.