Monday, February 27, 2012

February 29 Wicked Conflict and Fixes From History

Let's just say I have and interest in South Africa. South Africa is the most developed country in Africa. What does that mean? Well, Egypt might be number 2. Once upon a time, the country had a legal system and constitution allowing democracy and human rights for about 5 million citizens whose families migrated from Europe. 3.5 million "mixed race" citizens had some participation, their own separate parliament of lessor power. And 31 million Africans had neither voice nor many rights. Beginning a few years earlier, the South African government initiated secret negotiations with opposition groups in the civil war. That war and adjacent actors, like Chief Buthelezi, was very destructive of the country's culture. The result was the release of Nelson Mandela and other opposition leaders from prison, negotiations on a new government and elections for all in 1994. Happy ending. Those negotiations and the work of the president, F W De Klerk and Nelson Mandela enabled the relatively peaceful transition. They were jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize as a result.

Wicked problems is a friend's name for the most difficult problems facing society and the world. As a strategy, he assigns them to students to explore, maybe to solve. Someone's got to do it.

The Concordia University Wholistic Peace Institute is bringing President De Klerk to Portland to speak on resolving wicked problems, peacefully. He speaks at a variety of events today which you can find here: Peace, out.