In collaboration with the United States Institute of Peace (USIP), the Center for Empathy in International Affairs held a consultation with 15 academics, experts and mediators in Washington DC on 14 March 2016.
The consultation addressed empathy in conflict resolution, building on insights from CEIA’s March 2016 consultation on empathy in mediation, and expanded on those discussions with new insights, issues and case examples.
The experts views and insights are captured in this CEIA briefing paper: Empathy in Conflict Resolution: If, How and When.
Empathy has several definitions but can be considered as the practice of imagining or grasping the thoughts, feelings and perceptions of others. As such, it is an essential tool to resolve conflict and to ensure the sustainability of peace. Mediators or facilitators can empathize through finding something within their own character or experience that resonates with the parties.
This enables them to forge stronger connections, build trust and increase understanding. Empathizing helps mediators to identify a party’s key concerns and sacred values.