Univ. of Utah Professor: Keep Talking to Solve Conflict in Syria
Source Newsroom: University of Utah
David Derezotes (dere – zo – tes), professor of social work at the University of Utah, is an expert on the role dialogue plays in conflict and believes dialogue may help foster peace in the ongoing conflict in Syria.
“The fact that people from different political parties share similar values in this discussion suggests an opportunity to go beyond the political polarization we have had in our country for so many years,” Derezotes says. “In dialogue, we seek to understand each other, and even care for each other, despite our differences.”
Traditional political debates are often scripted and focus on a “winner” and a “loser,” rather than engaging in a discussion that can lead to solutions that appeal to everyone, he explains. Debate skills are taught from an early age, but few people learn how to engage in dialogue, where the goal is cooperation.
“Our world needs more cooperation if we are to solve the global and local challenges we face,” he says.
Derezotes is the director of the Peace and Conflict Studies program at the University of Utah. He has published and presented on dialogue models in peacemaking, the role of spirituality in mass casualty terrorism and building peace movements within communities. His latest textbook, “Transforming Historical Trauma through Dialogue,” examines ways key dialogue practice models can be utilized to remedy conflicts within large and small communities.