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- New Directions
Solve Conflicts with Spirituality
You’ve probably never heard of the academic program called “Water Conflict Management and Transformation” because it only exists at one school in the entire country—Oregon State University. Aaron Wolf is its director and teaches in the geosciences, but he is also a “trained mediator.”
Combining all these skills, Wolf helps break up conflicts all over the world amongst people who are fighting over water. Rather than exclusively use arguments of logic to help these people, he emphasizes a spiritual component. He recently went on sabbatical in order to further study how spiritual tools can bring people together, even if those people are on opposing sides.
Wolf offers up one example of his spiritually-inflected work: in most approaches to negotiation, the two sides sit opposite one another. But this seating style is, by name, opposing from the start, and invites each side to be angry at each other. Wolf begins meetings by seating everyone in a circle, or next to one another, and starting off with personal anecdotes and “breaking the ice.” [Gazette-Times]