We have developed a broad array of operational methods, which we
call collectively our "toolbox." These include well-known conflict
resolution techniques, such as mediation and facilitation, and less traditional
ones, like TV productions, radio soap opera, and community
organising. We have found that employing several tools at the same
time increases their overall effectiveness.
Traditional Conflict Resolution Techniques
Mediation and Facilitation: Everywhere we work we serve as a mediating
and facilitating force between contending parties. We also train
people in mediation skills, leading, for example, to the establishment
of independent mediation centres in Gaza and Ukraine.
Capacity Strengthening: We work to increase the skills and understanding
of individuals, organisations, and institutions to respond
Sometimes, rather than physically convoking
opponents, we shuttle among them. We have done this on a sustained
basis between Israelis and Palestinians, as well as between
Iranians and Americans.
Back-Channel Negotiations: On a confidential basis, we facilitate
high-level communication between opposing parties.
Court-Based Mediation: In Ukraine we have established alternative
dispute resolution systems to lighten court dockets and improve
the judicial process.
Practical Cooperation Projects
We facilitate regional cooperation between Israel and its Arab neighbours
to reduce the threat of biological or chemical incidents, whether
intended or accidental.
In the United States we sponsor a joint effort by liberals and conservatives
to have Congress establish a national Consensus Council.
In Macedonia, we established bilingual kindergartens where
ethnic Macedonian and ethnic Albanian children develop mutual
respect by learning in each other's languages.
Radio and Television
Radio: In Burundi, Liberia, and Sierra Leone we operate radio studios
that produce news, features, drama, and music. A particular
speciality is soap opera for social change, which we produce in eight
countries, and programming produced by and for children.
Common Ground Television: We produce
TV programming for adults and
children that treats contentious issues
within a common ground framework.
Common Ground Journalism
Journalist Training: Press reporting can
both ignite and defuse violence. In
Africa, the Middle East, and the Aegean
region we hold workshops for journalists
to try to diminish inflammatory
reporting and promote mutual understanding.
News Service: In the Middle East we
operate the Common Ground News
Service, which syndicates articles giving common ground perspectives
on issues related to conflicts in the region.
Issue-Oriented Magazines: In the Balkans we produce two magazines
that examine controversial issues through the perspectives of journalists
of different ethnicities and nationalities.
Arts and Culture
Music, Dance, and Drama: We have held peace festivals in Burundi
that celebrated local culture, recorded a national peace song and music
video in Angola, and sponsored live drama with common ground messages
in West Africa.
Film: We hold Common Ground Film Festivals in Washington and
around the world that demonstrate how cinema can illuminate commonalities
and promote empathy, rather than glorifying violent conflict.
We collaborated with USA Wrestling to take an American wrestling
team to Iran. In Burundi we sponsor
soccer matches between Hutu and
Tutsi youths who were previously
involved in violence.
We co-convene the Conflict Prevention
and Resolution Forum in Washington
and the InterAgency Forum for
Conflict Prevention in Brussels, as well
as forums in Washington and Brussels
to promote information sharing and
policy coordination among groups active in Africa's Great Lakes region.
We have commissioned polls to ascertain attitudes and test innovative
approaches toward conflict among Israelis, Palestinians, and Americans.
We present Common Ground Awards annually to honour outstanding
achievements in conflict resolution and bring public attention
to the field.