Respect for the "Other"

Eileen Babbit

Assistant Professor of International Politics, Fletcher School of Law, Tufts University

Interviewed by Julian Portilla, 2003

This rough transcript provides a text alternative to audio. We apologize for occasional errors and unintelligible sections (which are marked with ???).

It was the problem-solving workshop coming out of the Burton-Kelman tradition. Where you begin with the needs and fears, but you move from that to a discussion of shapes of solutions. And as I said the women for whom this was an initial dialogue were much more interested in staying with the discussion of the needs and fears. The women for whom this was a more advanced process, were really interested in getting to the solutions. You know, we know the needs and fears already, let's just talk about what we do about them. And it was very interesting, because what we realized is that there's advantages to having these workshops with groups who are at different stages of understanding, i.e. the people who are sort of farther along can help the people for whom this is new or just a little scary or frightening.

On the other hand, they're also impatient, the more experienced ones. They don't remember what it was like to come to the first one and they didn't understand what the other side was saying, and it was very emotional, and they felt a little vulnerable, and all those things that happen when you first make contact with the enemy. And they were so far beyond that, that they wanted to rush it for the people for whom they were still in that sort of initial place, if this is making sense.

So one of the things that came out of this workshop was a sense that it may be more beneficial to bring together people who are more at the same place in terms of their psychological development vis-…-vis their relationship to the other community because they're all more in the position to make the same kind of moves at the same time, rather than to bring together people who are at different places along that continuum.