Sà-wàt-dee ka, สวัสดี!
Week 4 – Strategies: Culture and Identity in Conflict and 3rd Party Interventions . This weeks material was definitely in my wheel house. As a board member of Mediation Services and Police Officer with the Winnipeg Police Service I have long appreciated the value of conflict resolution skills.
As with all of our weeks ALOT was packed into 5 days. Once again there was weekend homework and pre reading but thankfully I was somewhat knowledgeable about this material so I did not have to dedicate my entire weekend!
I was going to write one posting that included all “strategies” covered in Module 3 (weeks 4, 6 and 7) but that made the posting too long. So, I have included week 4 as a standalone blog post with the others coming shortly!
The week started with Chinese New Year – Trus̄ʹcīn ตรุษจีน! A BIG event here in Thailand. Many from our class made the trek to Chinatown from our residence and what a sight that was! Jam packed wall to wall people, food and fun. The Prime Minister and Princess Crown Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn made an appearance. I have never before seen such a respectful and well behaved crowd. We were literally within 20 feet of the procession along with most of the crowd.
First day of our Module/week – we looked at strategies involving, the roles of “culture” and identity in conflict. Our presenters were skilled mediators Joe Schaffer and Jan Sunoo, both men have vast practical and teaching experience negotiatioin, mediation and facilitation.
We were asked to wear our traditional costumes to class. We started the day introducing our selves and explaining a bit about where we are from and how we identify. With 16 Countries, 12 women, 10 men and many varieties of identity it was a really great experience! I wore my Metis sash and beaded Medicine wheel (pin) . Along with my colleague from Alberta Canada, the Metis got good representation today. Not many people from class were aware of our history and current context. Generated a number of discussions after class and at break!
The day was spent discussing cultural competencies and the impacts they have on individuals, communities and states? It is argued that there are goals of cultural competencies and if you understand your cultural goals you can also better understand how they impact you and others. What impacts your cultural programming? www.rw-3.com
Later in the week we tackled the skills and nuances of Negotiation, mediation and facilitation and the role of third party interventions. We put to work our conflict resolution skills, based on a class mates submitted real life situation the “deprivation in humanitarian aid to ethnic civilians displaced by war in the Kachin State, Myanmar”.
We were each given a role, that included the Mynamar government, the Kachin Independence Organization, the Kachin Independence Army(KIA), the Kachin Women’s Association, the Chinese government, the DurablePeace Programme and the United Nations. Background information was provided role specific and we were asked to then -go-, enter into negotiations and see if we could come up with an agreement to get aid into the country. Agreement is key. As is always the case there were lots of solutions but these were not agreed to by all parties for a variety of reasons.
Common interests were identified and agreements made and then reversed (often due to competing interests and secret backroom deals?) . Very true to life.
We did come to a temporary ceasefire agreement for the delivery of humanitarian aid but this was almost undone as some pretty political backroom deals were attempted. Incorporating(and learning about) geopolitical influence of world powers like China, made this exercise pretty intense.
The fact that is was based on a real scenario and an actual ceasefire was called during this week was pretty exciting. Read more about the real situation: https://www.mmtimes.com/national-news/1258-govt-knu-sign-ceasefire.html
Global, local or community driven conflicts can all benefit from these tools! Often they are used in labour disputes but they can and should be utilized in many more situations as a way to peacefully resolve conflict. I have taken training in these areas locally, nationally and internationally and I highly recommend individual or corporate training. There are many local and national services who provide this training. I highly recommend Mediation Services in Winnipeg, (I do sit on the board and so I believe in the work!). https://www.mediationserviceswpg.ca/
Class ended with a group picture of t-shirts we got made (in Chulalongkorns colour BRIGHT PINK). Ready to wear with pride!
You can see ukuleles in the above photo. Jan (front left) taught ukulele lessons at lunch hour this week and a number of class mates bought their own ukulele to keep and practice (I did not, for the sake of everyone’s ears…. your welcome).
This week in Thai class we focused on numbers and shopping lingo….. Which I may find very useful in the coming weeks?!
“Can you lower the price? Khuṇ ld rākhā dị̂ h̄ịm คุณลดราคาได้ไหม ?”
See you later! Læ̂w phb kạn h̄ım̀ , แล้วพบกันใหม่ !