Skills for Impact - Turning Conflicts into Collaboration

Course Description: 

Skills for Impact Program, Elective module, MPA Year 1 Students

Conflicts are unavoidable aspects of social life, inherent in all human relations. We respond to a conflicts with strong emotions, perceive it as a threat, but it can be turned into an opportunity for individuals and communities.

The purpose of this workshop is to learn principles and practice skills necessary for preventing and resolving conflicts in two-party and multi-party settings.

Public policy is mostly dealing with contoversial issues, addressing tough problems with diverse stakeholders’ perspectives. In order to develop more effective public policy initiatives, people’s conflicting interests , needs and values have to be taken into consideration. The best way is to do it by engaging them into identifying issues, generating alternative proposals to address these issues and finding a creative way of problem-solving jointly.

In the public policy landscape dispute resolution processes - such as mediation and policy dialogue - are mobilizing resources, empowering people and contributing to more effective policy implementation.
The workshop is taylored to explore techniques for collaborative processes and to develop awareness of process manager’s role.

Learning Outcomes: 

By the end of the workshop, students will

• be more aware of the causes, dynamics and consequences of a conflict situation;
• learn how to reformulate offensive messages helping people to take personal responsibility for their feelings;
• develop skills of reframing - turning the negative presentation of a conflict to a constructive one while preserving the content, contributing to clarification and de-escalation;
• understand the role of a neutral process manager;
• be familiarized with the collaborative approach of preventing and resolving conflicts;
• learn about the concept and steps of mediation;
• be able to adapt these principles for designing inclusive public processes.


The seminar’s credits are earned on a Pass/Fail basis. Students pass the module if they attend and participate in all three days of the course and write a 2000 word take home exam on
a) a summary of the three-four most important lessons learned during the course
b) how do they forsee to use the learned skills in their private and professional life