Home > Tools for Transcending Conflict

Through various projects, Commonway has developed tools for transcending conflict. These tools include:

The “Advocacy of the Whole.” Commonway workers are “Advocates of the Whole”; we work not for any individuals or groups, but are trained to see all sides in a conflict and to resolve the conflict to the honest satisfaction of all parties. This may mean re-defining “winning” in such a way that all sides can have their needs met.

“Safe environments.” Establishing that our process is safe for all parties, that Commonway does not take sides.

“Single Issue Meetings.” Clarifying what each party wants, before they come to the table. This is the place where the common ground becomes clear.

“All Stakeholder Meetings.” Inviting all stakeholders to a discussion; not just including those who claim to represent others. People can represent themselves. This dilutes the power of ideologues in favor of ordinary people.

“The Magnet.” Inviting all sides to the table, using something that all parties want as the impetus to come to the table.

“Common Ground” empowered dialog. The way to peace is found when ordinary people can come together in an empowered dialog to determine their best interests. In order to do this, they have to find “common ground;” a safe environment with neutral facilitators within which the dialog takes place.

“Assertive Consensus.” All parties led through ever-deepening levels of consensus, allowing them to build trust in the process and trust in each other.

“Spiritual Consensus.” Parties are invited to their highest level of transcendent knowing to seek a spiritual (non-religious) resolution to conflict.

“Reconciliation.” It may be impossible for some levels of conflict to be reconciled. Parties can get stuck trying to re-interpret each other’s history. Therefore, consensus may be that parties agree not to discuss certain hurtful parts of their history, at least until they can resolve their present difficulties and establish a certain level of trust.

“Forgiveness.” Forgiveness must be an integral part of reconciliation. What form that takes in any particular conflict remains to be seen. In South Africa, “forgiveness” was linked to public disclosure and confession (and forgiveness) of one’s prior role in the Apartheid regime. In the Czech Republic, “forgiveness” has not been linked to public disclosure; there were too many millions of people who collaborated with the prior communist regime. Which method works best will only be determined on a case by case, nation by nation, people by people, basis.