A Culture of Peace

Ron Fisher

Professor of International Peace and Conflict Resolution, School of International Service, American 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 ???).

Q: What advice would you give to someone coming into this field?

A: The first advice I would give somebody starting out is to get a good solid base in the conceptual foundation and the practice of the field. Advance that with some skill sets that you can actually offer. At the same time to think beyond where we are now toward the policy domain, and start thinking about how the field of conflict resolution, its principles, its practices, its assumptions that we believe to be true can slowly influence policy makers at both domestic and also international levels. For them to move in the direction of trying to bring about a culture of peace in the sense that people look to cooperative non-violent methods with dealing with their differences. They can build institutions to do that

Even the use of violence as a last resort is eliminated, except in situations where some aggressor chooses to use force. This choice would be way outside what the vast majority of people in the world would condone or see as acceptable, that may be seen as an intermediate stage. If human beings don't learn to respect their differences, and live in cooperative ways, then this human experiment I don't think is going to survive, quite frankly.