Program on International Conflict Analysis and Resolution

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Program on International Conflict Analysis and Resolution (PICAR) "grew out of the efforts of Harvard University Professor Herbert Kelman and his associates, starting in the 1970s, to bring together politically active and influential Israelis and Palestinians for direct communication in interactive problem-solving workshops. PICAR associates continue to work on the Middle East as well as other ethnic conflicts such as those in Sri Lanka, Northern Ireland, Colombia, Cyprus, and urban settings within the United States." [1]

"As of August 1, 2003, the Program on International Conflict Analysis and Resolution (PICAR) has closed, after a long, productive, and distinguished trajectory under the leadership of Professor Herbert Kelman...

"The primary area of practice for many Program members was the Middle East. However, several other initiatives were developed by PICAR affiliates which included projects in Sri Lanka, the Balkans, Cyprus, Northern Ireland, Colombia, and US Cuban relations.

"Affiliates of the Program were dedicated to the integration of research, practice, and education. PICAR affiliates were trained and engaged in theory-building and action research as well as third party facilitation. Research arose out of practice, and practice, in turn, informed the development of the theory and methodology.

"PICAR was supported by a grant from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation." [2]

Projects [3]

The Joint Working Group

"The most prominent PICAR project was the Joint Working Group on Israeli-Palestinian Relations. The Working Group, established early in 1994, consisted of politically and intellectually influential Palestinians and Israelis, who had been meeting periodically for private, unofficial discussions, and for the drafting and review of joint concept papers. The Joint Working Group was an unofficial, third-party effort in conflict resolution, continuous with work that the Director, Herbert C. Kelman and his colleagues had been carrying out for more than 25 years. Using an approach called interactive problem solving, Kelman and his colleagues brought together politically engaged and, in some cases, highly influential Palestinians and Israelis for private, confidential discussions, facilitated by a panel of social scientists who were knowledgeable about international and intercommunal conflict, group process, and the Middle East region. The intensive workshops in which these discussions took place were designed to enable the parties to explore each other's perspective and, through a joint process of creative problem solving, to generate new ideas for mutually satisfactory solutions to their conflict. The ultimate goal was to transfer the insights and ideas gained from these interactions into the public debate and decision-making processes in the two communities. The group was co-chaired by the Director, Herbert C. Kelman, along with Picar Associate, Nadim N. Rouhana.

The Sri Lanka Project

"PICAR's Sri Lanka project was supported by a grant from the United States Institute of Peace. In December 1999, Donna Hicks, William Weisberg, and Rhoda Margesson convened a meeting in the Maldives with influential members of the two political parties from the Sinhalese community. The goal was to try to foster consensus between the two parties on how to resolve the 17 year war with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam.

Teaching and Training

"Program members conducted a one and one half-day seminar for the WCFIA Fellows Program, focusing on the theory and practice of interactive problem-solving as an unofficial approach to conflict analysis and resolution. PICAR members were involved in teaching, curriculum development, and training activities, both locally and internationally. For example, Donna Hicks and her colleague William Weisberg taught a week long course on conflict resolution for the International Institute for Political and Economic Studies in Athens, Greece.



Resources and articles

Related Sourcewatch articles


  1. Program on International Conflict Analysis and Resolution, Harvard University, accessed February 5, 2009.
  2. Home, Harvard University, accessed February 5, 2009.
  3. Research & Projects, Harvard University, accessed February 5, 2009.