One of the key tasks of the Canadian Culture of Peace Program ("CCOPP") is to draft a protocol to guide our conversations, relationships and how we approach diverse stakeholder groups.  It is simply how we relate to each other while trying to build a Culture of Peace, and safeguard (secure; or at least improve) all of our relationships. 

First, it is important to acknowledge that we expect that everyone who participates in CCOPP will pledge to live by the Culture of Peace principles declared in Manifesto 2000, in Appendix 1 below.

We (all) probably need a preamble to everything we say and do to try to diffuse our conversations (to minimize potential conflict).  Peace is of such ultimate importance that we have to take whatever safeguards we can not to jeopardize our most important work, and not to take things personally.  Whatever we do, we will have to ask participants to bear with us … and join us in a mutual learning conversation.  We must acknowledge imperfection in ourselves and others, and that we must continuously learn. 

We do not wish to offend and will also have to try to be mindful of “hot buttons” and speak in different languages to different audiences.  Some of us must get past old “we vs. they” images.  But as much as we will try, some people may be offended by what we say and they may divorce themselves from our conversation (I would suggest to our mutual detriment, and we hope to avoid this). 

Such a preamble may get tiresome (and may sound a bit overly cautious), but unfortunately there is a tendency to take some offence at a word, an action, a person, etc., and we know that we must always remind ourselves to rethink what we really want to achieve (in this relationship and life).

Until we develop our own “protocol” or strategy for approaching others, it is recommended for our own ‘internal security’ as a Culture of Peace community that we use the tools and methods contained in the following important texts - Difficult Conversations: How to Discuss What Matters Most; Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When Stakes Are High; Crucial Confrontations: Tools for Resolving Broken Promises, Violated Expectations and Bad Behavior; and The Practice of Peace, summarized in Appendix 2 below.  We recommend that anyone participating in the Culture of Peace Program read these books.

Possibly we can develop a short list of  “Principles for CCOPP Conversations”.  Considering the recommendations from the books in Appendix 2 below which explain and expand on these Principles, I came up with the following suggestions:

  1. Safety – guard the space against direct or indirectly violent behaviour (eg. Lack of respect, rejection, insult, etc.; there are no stupid questions or answers; we are all continuously learning; recognize that we live in an imperfect world and we are all trying to do our best to build a better one, for the sake of future generations; stop and think first, to select your words with care, compassion and empathy)
  2. Consequences – honest conversations are foiled if participants fear negative consequences; participants should mean no harm, have no fear, and have a clear understanding of the ‘rules’; trust must be built and earned; go to mutual purpose
  3. Acceptance – of the others as people, and respect for them and their opinions (dispel enemy images; listen to understand why they have the opinions they do)
  4. Mutual purpose – what is the outcome that we wish to achieve together? (invitation to a mutual learning conversation; answer ‘what is in it for us’; particularly being mindful of the overall Culture of Peace purpose/values; we aim for synergy and transformation)
  5. Patience - one of the essential characteristics of a Culture of Peace is 'patience'. Impatience almost always leads to a culture of violence, whereas a continued practice of patience is guaranteed to develop a Culture of Peace.
  6. Difference – we are not required to achieve consensus (it is OK to agree to disagree; we can learn from our differences, in fact we do not learn if we always agree)
  7. Empowerment – help the others to be courageous and find their voices so that we better understand their perspectives; we want them to honestly tell us what is bothering them, what their story is, what they wish to achieve, how we can help them and how they can help us
  8. Action – what are we going to do to continue to build a better relationship
  9. Responsibility – people are responsible for their own experiences (the success for any participant of any conversation depends to the greatest extent on the participant’s attitude; don’t blame others; don’t try to control others – you really can’t)

A Yahoo Group has been created to use as our communication tool at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/CCOPPprotocolAnyone is invited to join if they wish to participate.  Members of CCOPPprotocol can send emails to the whole group of using   CCOPPprotocol@yahoogroups.com .  Here is the Group Description:  

“A Canadian Culture of Peace Program working group to participate in the drafting of a CCOPP protocol and strategy for approaching diverse groups, building relationships and having difficult conversations.”

So, I would suggest that we move the discussion to CCOPPprotocol, the working group dialogue and draft something, to be returned to CCOPPcore in due course for consideration of the larger group.

Frankly, we know it will take some years of continuous learning for us to master crucial conversations – like peace, it is hard work!  In the meantime, we appreciate your patience.  (If you have suggestions for the "Protocol Document", please let us know at info[at]peace.ca and join the discussion on the Yahoo Group.)  

Respectfully submitted,
Bob Stewart




It is expected that participants of the Canadian Culture of Peace Program would join the over 60,000,000 other signatories world-wide and pledge to follow the six key points of Manifesto 2000 for a Culture of Peace and Non-violence (ref. http://www3.unesco.org/manifesto2000/uk/uk_6points.htm ):

Because the year 2000 must be a new beginning, an opportunity to transform - all together - the culture of war and violence into a culture of peace and non-violence.

Because this transformation demands the participation of each and every one of us, and must offer young people and future generations the values that can inspire them to shape a world based on justice, solidarity, liberty, dignity, harmony and prosperity for all.

Because the culture of peace can underpin sustainable development, environmental protection and the well-being of each person.

Because I am aware of my share of responsibility for the future of humanity, in particular to the children of today and tomorrow.

I pledge in my daily life, in my family, my work, my community, my country and my region, to:

Signature and date

For further reference, also see The Values of a Culture of Peace and Non-violence - as identified by UN/UNESCO research & development




1. "Difficult Conversations: How to Discuss What Matters Most", by the Harvard Negotiation Project.  ISBN 0 14 02.8852 X.  Penguin 1999. You can buy the book for $11.20 at http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/014028852X/002-6059897-9091241?v=glance  .

- "Returning from several years in the U.S. Army Air Force during World War II, I discovered that my roommate, two of my closest friends, and dozens of classmates had been killed in the war.  Ever since, I have worked to improve the skills with which we deal with our differences; to improve the prospects for our children's future; and to enlist others in that cause." 
- "What makes these situations so hard to face?  It's our fear of the consequences -- whether we raise the issue or try to avoid it." 
- "The dilemma ... Why is it so difficult to decide whether to avoid or to confront?  Because at some level we know the truth - If we try to avoid the problem, we'll feel taken advantage of, our feelings will fester, we'll wonder why we don't stick up for ourselves, and we'll rob the other person of the opportunity to improve things.  But if we confront the problem, things might get even worse.  We may be rejected or attacked; we might hurt the other person in ways we didn't intend; and the relationship might suffer." 
- "Delivering a difficult message is like throwing a hand grenade.  Coated with sugar, thrown hard or soft, a hand grenade is still going to do damage. Try as you may, there's no way to throw a hand grenade with tact or to outrun its consequences.  And keeping it to yourself is no better.  Choosing not to deliver a difficult message is like hanging on to a hand grenade once you've pulled the pin.  So we feel stuck.  We need advice that is more powerful than "Be diplomatic" or "Try to stay positive".  The problems run deeper than that; so must the answers." 
- "... learning conversations ... people who have learned new approaches to dealing with their most challenging conversations report less anxiety and greater effectiveness in all of their conversations ... dealing constructively with tough topics and awkward situations strengthens a relationship." 
- "At heart, the problem isn't in your actions, it's in your thinking."
- Reducing fear and anxiety and learning how to manage that which remains are more obtainable … we are also remarkably resilient 

Create a Learning Conversation
To increase our chances of achieving a successful conversation we must have a good strategy.  Here are some general tips from the above book:
1. having a purpose (what is the point and what does a good outcome look like?; three purposes that work: learning their story, expressing your views and feelings, and problem-solving together)
2. remember that we can not change or control other people (we can have influence, and engaging someone in a conversation where mutual learning is the goal often results in change)
3. letting go of past issues (grievances, losses) and working together from a basis of current commonalities, strengths and assets to build a better future
4. engaging in nonviolent communication (eg. do not "poke the other person in the eye" ;-); otherwise they get defensive and/or offensive (and blind to us ;-) (for information on compassionate communication, refer to http://www.bcncc.org/  )
5. realizing all parties to the conversation are not perfect (we all see the world differently, we all have powerful feelings, and we each have our own identity issues to work through; in short, we each have our own story, and our own picture of peace)
6. think like a mediator (identify the Third Side, or Third Story; the key is learning to describe the gap or difference between our stories, then working to try to close it, which may take movement by all parties)
7. turn it into a learning conversation: describe the problem in a way both sides can accept, propose mutual understanding and problem-solving as purposes, check with others to see if this makes sense, and invite others to join the conversation (make them your partner in figuring it out; those that do not wish to participate can opt-out).  Provide some relevant background reading that might help open minds.
8. listen to understand; ask open-ended questions; ask for more information; respect others; create a safe environment for dialogue
9. think and strategize before you speak; don't cross-examine; don't blame; don't take away from the other person; paraphrase for clarity, to show that you heard, and check your understanding; acknowledge their feelings; empathize; speak from the heart, start with what matters most and say what you mean; don't exaggerate, generalize or stereotype; be humble (having humility does not mean allowing others to "walk all over you")
10. It is up to each of us to find our own truth (i.e. my truth is not necessarily your truth; you should not simply accept what I say: you have to do your own "homework")
11. identify the issues and problems from all perspectives; make the "trouble" explicit; find out where there is agreement and disagreement, and why; then begin to problem-solve: brainstorm with all affected parties, invent options, ask what standards should apply, consider alternatives
12. have patience: it takes time
13. rehearse the conversation in your mind before starting (have preparation notes; think things through)
14. appreciate the diversity of thoughts and ideas
15. sometimes we have to agree to disagree, with all due respect
16. thank the parties for their participation (it will take a lot of effort, and hopefully it is worthwhile)
I look forward to your thoughts and additional suggestions on this.  I am most interested because peacebuilders and peace educators are always having a difficult conversation.  I am hopeful that we can develop a model for peacebuilding to help us work through the various difficult conversations that must take place.
 Click here to see an excellent 19 page summary of the book.  5 Star Must Reading.

2. Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When Stakes Are High, by Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny, Ron McMillan and Al Switzler.  Format: Paperback, 256pp. ISBN: 0071401946. Publisher: McGraw-Hill Trade. Pub. Date: June 2002. Retail price US$16.95. If you liked the book "Difficult Converations", you will love "Crucial Conversations".  5-Star Recommended/Must Reading .  A powerful, seven-step approach to handling difficult conversations with confidence and skill.  

- Relationships are the priority of life, and conversations are the crucial element in profound caring of relationships.
- "Crucial" conversations are interpersonal exchanges at work or at home that we dread having but know we cannot avoid. How do you say what needs to be said while avoiding an argument with a boss, child, or relationship partner? Crucial Conversations offers readers a proven seven-point strategy for achieving their goals in all those emotionally, psychologically, or legally charged situations that can arise in their professional and personal lives. Based on the authors' highly popular DialogueSmart training seminars, the techniques are geared toward getting people to lower their defenses, creating mutual respect and understanding, increasing emotional safety, and encouraging freedom of expression. Among other things, readers also learn about the four main factors that characterize crucial conversations, and they get a powerful six-minute mastery technique that prepares them to work through any high impact situation with confidence. Learn how to keep your cool and get what you want when emotions flare. When stakes are high, opinions vary, and emotions run strong, you have three choices: Avoid a crucial conversation and suffer the consequences; handle the conversation badly and suffer the consequences; or read Crucial Conversations and discover how to communicate best when it matters most. This wise and witty guide gives you the tools you need to step up to life's most difficult and important conversations, say what's on your mind, and achieve positive outcomes that will amaze you. You'll learn how to:

Whether they take place at work or at home, with your neighbors or your spouse, crucial conversations can have a profound impact on your career, your happiness, and your future. With the skills you learn in this book, you'll never have to worry about the outcome of a crucial conversation again.  Read Chapter 1 at http://www.leadershipnow.com/leadershop/0194-6excerpt.html  

- charged atmosphere … nourish our relationships and develop tools, skills, and enhanced capacity to find new and better solutions
- synergistic … the whole is greater than the sum of the parts
- crucial conversations transform people and relationships … an entirely new level of bonding
- they produce what Buddhism calls “the middle way” … a higher middle way, like the apex of a triangle
- it moves you from understanding the supernal power of dialogue, to clarifying what you really want to have happen and focusing on what actually is happening, to creating conditions of safety, to using self-awareness and self-knowledge … how to achieve such a level of mutual understanding and creative synergy that people are emotionally connected to the conclusions
- to know and not to do is really not to know

Click here to see an excellent 20 page summary of the book online. 5 star must read.

3. Crucial Confrontations: Tools for Resolving Broken Promises, Violated Expectations, and Bad Behavior,  by Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny, Ron McMillan and Al Switzler.  Format: Paperback, 272pp. ISBN: 0-07-144652-4. Publisher: McGraw-Hill Trade. Pub. Date: January 2005. Retail price US$16.95.  This 5-Star Recommended/Must Reading builds on Difficult Conversations and Crucial Conversations.  The difference - the hallmark of a crucial conversation is disagreement, while crucial confrontations are about disappointments.  Confrontations comprise the very foundation of accountability.  They all start with the question: "Why didn't you do what you were supposed to do?"  And they only end when a solution is reached and both parties are motivated and able to comply.  Confrontations are the prickly, complicated, and often frightening performance discussions that keep you up nights.  We will need these skills for conducting the 8 Crucial Canadian Conversations noted below Click here to see 2 page Training Overview.  here's the forward and 1st chapter in pdf.  

Click here to see an excellent 18 page summary of the book online. 5 star must read.

Learning in Relationship: Foundation for Personal and Professional Success, by Ron Short, 1998. Learning in relationship is “about how to learn from others who have different perspectives”.    Click here to see an excellent 13 page summary of the book.  5 Star Must Reading.

The Practice of Peace
by Harrison Owen.  I wish to tell you about this because I see another convergence between the comments that the peacebuilding happens during the process of working on projects (for example), and using the Open Space conferencing in the process.  Owen is the leader behind Open Space Technology.  Open Space Technology or methodology of conferencing is very complimentary to what we have come around to thinking in terms of Servant Leadership style, non-hierarchical organizing, and the principles contained in the draft Charter (borrowed from the World Social Forum).  I have come to believe (an "aha" moment) that essentially the Canadian Peace Initiative may be as simple as providing venues or "Open Spaces to Open Minds to Peace".  (Another "reality check" -- It has been my personal view that I saw my contribution as simply providing venues where peace educators and peace builders could come together to dialogue, network, disseminate information, plan, etc. - in a sense, I/we have been doing Open Space for the past 3 years + without realizing it, through our conferences, my web site, our email listservers, etc.)  What Harrison Owen is saying is, "do not worry about spending a lot of time organizing an agenda.  Just provide an Open Space, have a general theme(s), invite people with a passion to come, the conference will organize itself based on what these passionate people really want to discuss".  He confirms what I think many of our participants have said at the last National Peace Education Conference -- that our best time was in the personal chats outside the presentations.  Harrison puts it much better than I.  You can read (and I highly recommend it to you) the 146 page book on the Internet at  Practice of Peace, Chapters 1,2    Practice of Peace, Chapters 2,4    Practice of Peace, Chapters 5,6,    Practice of Peace, Chapters 7,8Practice of Peace, Chapters 9,10 .  (the only thing is, the Internet version is missing about 4 pages - but it doesn't really matter).  Alternatively, you can order your own copy from the Open Space Institute of Canada in Quebec , by printing an order form off the Internet at http://www.openspacecanada.org/books.htm  and mailing it with a cheque (but it may take 3 weeks to turn around).  Suggestion: do all your group work as a series of Open Space conferencing.  In Owen's words, it will be self-organizing (which coincidentally takes a lot of stress off you).  You may well think that I have gone a bit crazy with this Open Space stuff.  However, I feel it is right for us, for what we have been working on, for the peace constituents, and for these times.  Open Space has all the features of a Culture of Peace (eg. democratic participation, respect, listening to understand, etc.)    Click on this link to read Highlights of the Book.  http://www.peace.ca/openspace.htm    


7. Cialdini, Robert B. - Influence: Science and Practice, Fourth Edition. Allyn & Bacon: 2001 - Chapter by chapter topic summary. This book outlines the categories, uses, tools, and techniques of 'influence' and how to recognize them. This book is a useful tool for understanding the science behind 'influence'. 

8. Social Intelligence: The New Science of Success; Beyond IQ, Beyond EI, Applying Multiple Intelligence Theory to Human Interaction, by Karl Albrecht http://www.karlalbrecht.com .  Format: Hardcover, 280pp.  ISBN: 0787979384.  October 2005.  Jossey-Bass.  When I developed the Draft Canadian Culture of Peace Program Marketing Strategy (ref. http://www.cultureofpeace.ca/CCOPPmarketingstrategy.htm ) , I suggested we use the concept of Social Intelligence (i.e. raising Social Intelligence/Social Development) as a path to Peace Education and a Culture of Peace – that it is more readily acceptable/ understandable by the general population.  This book explains it much better than I, including the “How To”, hence I strongly recommend it. Karl Albrecht defines social intelligence (SI) as the ability to get along well with others while winning their cooperation. SI is a combination of sensitivity to the needs and interests of others, sometimes called your “ social radar, ” an attitude of generosity and consideration, and a set of practical skills for interacting successfully with people in any setting. "Social Intelligence provides a highly accessible and comprehensive model for describing, assessing, and developing social intelligence at a personal level. This book is filled with intriguing concepts, enlightening examples, stories, cases, situational strategies, and a self-assessment tool – all designed to help you learn to navigate social situations more successfully.  The author takes you on a guided tour of the five dimensions of social intelligence (“S.P.A.C.E.”): 1. Situational Awareness – the ability to read situations and to interpret the behaviors of people in those situations;  2. Presence – Often called ‘bearing’, it’s a whole range of verbal and nonverbal behaviors that define you in the minds of others;  3. Authenticity – the behaviors that cause others to judge you as honest, open, and ‘real’;  4. Clarity – the ability to explain your ideas and articulate your views;  5. Empathy – the ability to ‘connect’ with others.  You can get it (and read a descriptive summary) at Chapters book store online at http://www.chapters.indigo.ca/item.asp?Item=978078797938&Catalog=Books&Ntt=social+intelligence&N=35&Lang=en&Section=books&zxac=1 for $21.43 (which is 33% off the list price right now).  5 star must reading.   Click here to read detailed highlights of the book.


[Please note: we are in the process of having all Moncton Centre for Teaching Peace related web site material translated into French.  Assistance with translation would be greatly appreciated, if you know of anyone who might help.  In the meantime, we apologize for any inconvenience.  Translation will be available at meetings.]

[Attention: Nous sommes intéressé de traduire en français toute la documentation du site internet du Centre de l'éducation à la paix de Moncton.  Nous sommes à la recherche de personnes qui voudraient nous rendre ce service.  Entre temps, veuillez accepter nos excuses.  Aux rencontres, un service de traduction sera offert.]