n African Journal on Conflict Resolution - Foreword

Volume 12, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 1562-6997


When, twenty five years ago, I was making my first study of academic courses in the field of dealing with conflict, a professor told me that they teach their students to give to any party in a conflict situation. Suggestions may of course be given, but they should not be phrased as advisory prescriptions. The reason was that in most cases the parties are adults who regard themselves as grown-up enough to be independent of the advice of others, and who would almost feel insulted when being given advice. Through the years, I have therefore passed on this suggestion to my students, and kept reminding myself to practise it from my side. And so, when writing a foreword, I usually try to refrain from advising our readers about what they should read, how they should read it and what they should learn. In my previous foreword, I was prompted by the thrust of several articles to discuss 'a few aspects of receiving and responding to "lessons"', but I hope I have managed to do it in a non-sermonising way.

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