The Director of Oxford Research Group's Middle East Programme, Gabrielle Rifkind, will be speaking with Lord John Alderdice on conflict resolution, mediation, and Rifkind's new book The Fog of Peace on Sunday June 22 at 15:00. Tickets can be purchased from the Tricycle Theatre here.
Institutions do not decide whom to destroy or to kill, whether to make peace or war; those decisions are the responsibility of individuals. When attempting to resolve conflict, politics is not merely about power but is about a complex web of relationships between individuals, groups, and communities.
In the book The Fog of Peace, the authors argue that the most important aspect of conflict resolution is for antagonists to understand their opponents as individuals, their ambitions, their pains, the resentments that condition their thinking and the traumas they do not fully themselves grasp. In this presentation, the speakers ask should we talk to the enemy? What happens if the protagonists are nasty and brutish, tempting policy-makers to retaliate? How do the parties find the capacity not to hit back, trapping themselves in endless cycles of violence?
Both speakers come from a psychological background and recognise the importance of putting the human mind together with power politics.
Gabrielle Rifkind is a psychotherapist, group analyst, and Director of the Middle East programme at Oxford Research Group and specialises in conflict resolution. Rifkind combines in-depth political and psychological expertise with many years’ experience in promoting dialogue behind the scenes, particularly on Iran and the Israel – Palestine conflict.
Lord Alderdice is a psychiatrist, psychoanalyst, academic and politician. Until very recently he was Convenor of the Liberal Democrats in the House of Lords. He has applied his psychological understanding to political conflict resolution extensively, including in Northern Ireland as a negotiator of the 1998 Belfast Agreement.
All proceeds from this event will go to the Camden Psychotherapy Unit.