by Lilia Aguilar, Mexico

I remember when I first arrived to the symposium I told my friend, and current employer, I have no idea what “peacemaking” is, but what I do know is violence and how conflicts can easily escalate.

That was what Raymond Shonholtz, from the organization Partners for Democratic Change, captured on the first part of his lecture and what I learned the most. To quote Shonholtz,  “The most powerful place if you are a disputant is Direct Negotiation”. There is no other way in which one’s real interests and stakes can be properly heard and addressed. However, there are various other ways to address conflict. Mediation and conciliation are methods used for the simplest of conflicts, like fighting with your spouse or your partner.

The moral of the fable is that conflict can be directed negatively or positively depending of how you approach it and how you address the situation. Do you want to maintain the relationship? Do you want to make a one-time agreement? Do you want to create a win-win situation, or just win yourself? Answering such questions can be the way to solve even the most simple-looking problems and approaches to life.