We see the world the way we do not because that is the way it is, but because we have these ways of seeing.
- Ludwig Wittgenstein
What is our added value?
- The Oxford Process method addresses the complexity of global conflict.
- Its special contribution is that it can foster dialogue in order to set the conditions necessary for official negotiations.
- It is responsive and agile and is able to cut through red tape.
- It depends on deeply established networks and is able to bring people together quietly, behind-the-scenes and outside the glare of publicity, in ways governments cannot.
- Many of the team have worked inside government and therefore have long-established and trusted relationships with influential individuals.
- What differentiates it from government is its capacity to be independent of vested interests.
We talk to people before it is politically acceptable for governments to do so. Where Oxford Process differs from other more traditional organisations is it has a number of specialists who have been deeply immersed in the region and have an analysis that fully understands the impact of the turbulence and where authentic opportunities lie.
It is important to identify which groups can be engaged in a peace process, and who is irreconcilable. This will involve careful research, a careful consultation process and engaging with groups who already have a deep understanding of what is possible.
The Oxford Process is subtle in its methodology and built on years of understanding the psychology and geopolitics of conflict and analysing how and why, collectively, governments so often fail to prevent or resolve it. The Oxford Process will have a contribution to make here, in creating the conditions where some of the historical wounds are addressed and time is given to considering the pain and trauma of the conflict and their effect. Without this, parties may not be in a state of readiness to make some of the historic compromises required.
Moreover, those caught up in the violence of war will often have radically different ways of understanding the conflict and its history. Most likely, they will be driven by emotion rooted in the trauma they have suffered as a result of the conflict. Embracing the strategic calculations required to work towards an end of conflict is extraordinarily difficult. With the help of skilled facilitation, the Oxford Process recognizes that (often) radically different positions are not easy to reconcile. The aim of this first stage is therefore to help create an environment in which talks can be elevated from a state of emotion to strategic rational calculations based around mutual self-interests.