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Volume 3, Number 1, Oct 2002

Teaching about the Third Side

The Project on Preventing War at Harvard University is interested in turning war into peace at home, work and in the world. One method of transforming war into peace is by teaching about the Third Side. The idea comes from The Third Side: Why We Fight and How We Can Stop, a book by William Ury (Penguin 2000). In his book, Ury argues that engaging in conflict is not human nature. He examines what we know about human history and provides a more accurate story of our past. He then argues that the mobilization of various types of conflict interveners is the key to creating peace.

According to the Harvard Project on Preventing War,

The [book] offers a promising new way to look at the conflicts around us. The Third Side is the community - us - in action protecting our most precious interests in safety and well-being. It suggests ten practical roles any of us can play on a daily basis to stop destructive fighting in our families, at work, in our schools, and in the world. Each of our individual actions is like a single spider web, fragile perhaps but, when united with others, capable of halting the lion of war.

Of the ten roles people can play as conflict interveners, the Teacher plays the key role in the development of a culture of peace. Joshua Weiss at the Project on Preventing War created a curriculum to help college educators teach the Third Side. The Third Side: A Pedagogical Accompaniment, the 48-page curriculum, is intended as a broad framework in which the educator can shape the way the book is used.

The curriculum is broken into four modules, 'What Do You Think and Why', 'Humanities Greatest Challenge', 'The Cycle of Human History' and 'What You Can Do'. The modules highlight key themes and topics in Ury's book. Ideas and discussion questions are provided for each chapter and for the book as a whole.

The Third Side: Why We Fight and How We Can Stop and The Third Side: A Pedagogical Accompaniment are especially suited for use in introductory conflict resolution courses at the university level. It is available for free in PDF format at http://www.thirdside.org/college_cur.pdf.
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Page last updated 11/27/2005

A project of Campus Conflict Resolution Resources.
Supported by a FIPSE grant from the US Department of Education
and seed money from the Hewlett Foundation-funded CRInfo project.


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(Attn: Bill Warters)
Campus Conflict Resolution Resources Project
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