43 episodes

Join Global Consultant Susan Coleman, Host of the Peacebuilding Podcast- and today’s most innovative, courageous and inspired practitioners as we explore strategies to intervene in complex systems to build consensus and common ground across divides of worldview, culture and difference.

The Peacebuilding Podcast : From Conflict To Common Ground Susan Coleman & Stephen Gray

    • Technology

Join Global Consultant Susan Coleman, Host of the Peacebuilding Podcast- and today’s most innovative, courageous and inspired practitioners as we explore strategies to intervene in complex systems to build consensus and common ground across divides of worldview, culture and difference.

    Ep 43: Thomas Hübl: Healing Collective Trauma

    Ep 43: Thomas Hübl: Healing Collective Trauma

    One of the things I love most about doing this podcast is I get to spend time with, and really "tune in" to some amazing people.Thomas Hubl is one of them.Thomas is a contemporary spiritual teacher – sometimes referred to as a modern mystic.His teaching combines somatic awareness, advanced meditation and transformational practices that address both individual and collective trauma.I was introduced to him through my friend and colleague Amy Fox and affiliation with Mobius Executive Leadership.  He was working with a group of us organizational consulting types bringing the wisdom traditions to the world of work.  I also participated in the online course he created with celebrated negotiation expert William Ury – Mediate and Mediate. Thomas’ presence is incredibly light, smart, and deep and always seems to elicit in me an inner smile. He’s never afraid to tackle the difficult stuff and does it by listening, as he says, with “eyes all over his body”.  It’s a whole body listening practice I have adopted from him.In the short time I have known him, I have seen his visibility grow rapidly around the globe.He is a master with:Building communityManaging projection and his own authority in groupsSomaticsEpigenetics and the specifc topic of this podcast, Healing Collective TraumaAs my listeners know, I started this podcast because there is a “process crisis” in the world – we use too much win-lose, debate-based processes to deal with our differences, and the media just loves it. Win-lose processes are certainly better than use-of-force but, because they are win-lose, they can lead to use-of-force quickly -- as we can see from looking around the globe. They are not relational, they are patriarchal in origin and they dumb down us humans in terms of how incredibly capable we are of managing complexity and building common ground with each other given the right container and good facilitation.I wanted to interview Thomas because of the large group processes he has designed -- for up to 1000 people at a time -- to heal collective trauma.This kind of work truly excites me.As Thomas says “we have all been born into a collectively traumatized field and collective trauma needs collective healing.”While I have never personally experienced one of Thomas large group processes, I can tell how amazing they are because of how many large group process I have led and participated in.  He started this work about 15 years ago under the banner of what he calls the Pocket Project and has brought together thousands of Germans and Israelis to acknowledge, face and heal the cultural shadow left by the Holocaust. He has then gone on to do processes in other parts of the world addressing the various “scars” of humanity that exist everywhere.The other day, I was talking to a very close friend who is now about 50, grew up in Germany and lives in the United States. I know her struggles well, her desire to break out and manifest what I call a culture-shifting entrepreneurial enterprise. Without knowing I was working on the post production of this episode with Thomas, she started sharing with me her heightened awareness that the only way she was going to move forward was to unfreeze the past – that there is an “absent”, “nowhere” feel to her and her entire generation of Germans, and how much she suspects now that WWII was a direct result of all the undigested trauma of WW1.  I felt the same kind of absence in Beirut when I was there a few decades back, and a similar awareness in myself about how I have had to unfreeze and feel the sexual trauma from my past in order to heal it and stop it from recycling to the next generation.To quote Thomas in this episode... "The past doesn’t just disappear. The past needs to be digested". "Many of the conflicts we see in the world are actually wounds that break open

    • 1 hr 10 min
    Ep 42: Riya Yuyada: Crown the Woman

    Ep 42: Riya Yuyada: Crown the Woman

    Some of the more interesting assignments I have had in recent years have been with the United Nations peacekeeping missions -- four times in S Sudan and once a few months ago in the Central African Republic. It’s hard not to notice that peacekeeping missions are often set up in countries that are plagued with what some call “the resource curse” – oil that brings with it conflict and often, in spite of its value, huge income disparities and violence.But those of us who have worked with lots of conflict situations, also notice the phenomenon of "the lotus flower blooming out of the muck", or "diamonds being formed under great pressure".In this episode, I am honored to bring you one of those diamonds, Riya Yuyada, a 28 year old bright and sassy woman who has known nothing but war and conflict in her native S. Sudan. Riya Yuyada fled S. Sudan as a baby and grew up in an IDP (internally displaced person) camp in nearby Uganda. In spite of the challenges of growing up in a refugee camp and then later living in the midst of a very “cold peace” in S Sudan with regular outbreaks of civil war, she has grown herself into an impressive young woman and built an organization called Crown the Woman.Crown The Woman (CREW) is a “women founded and led nonprofit, non-governmental, non-political, humanitarian and national grassroots organization that aims at empowering girls and women to ensure they harness their potential and contribute to nation building economically, socially and politically. Established and registered in 2016 by concerned young South Sudanese women who realized the need to promote meaningful gender equality and equity as well as the need to recognize, appreciate, strengthen and empower women. CREW strives for realization and respect of women’s rights, enhancement of women’s security and the prioritization and provision of women’s basic needs. CREW has a special focus on investing in young women and children as the means of securing the future of South Sudan’s women in nation building and development.Two themes that stand out to me from this episode.The first is what I have concluded from doing this podcast for the last few years -- that the most impactful peacebuilding initiative we can undertake on this planet is to empower women – in our family, organizational and planetary systems. In the case of S Sudan and many countries like it that have been plagued by civil war, it means women equipping themselves to be part of the peace process – go Riya!! -- and men welcoming them in to sit alongside them at the negotiating table. For more on this, please go back to Ep 31 and my interview with Dr. Scilla Elworthy, A Business Plan for Peace. Peace agreements last longer by a lot when women are involved in the process.The second theme is interdependence. From the affluent and island continent of the United States from where I write, it’s easy to think of S Sudan as a far off land. But, of course, as the famous environmentalist John Muir said, “when you pick up anything in the universe, you will find that it is connected to everything else". While I’m grateful for the oil that has heated my house and runs my car,  I’m also aware of its cost in the form of global conflict and its impact on the lives of people like Riya.  It’s felt good to move off of fossil fuels to solar and wind as much as I can. An important step not just create a cleaner world but a more peaceful one.P.S. We are hard at work creating great on-line and live content on Women, Negotiation and Power,  join our list here or follow us on Facebook at susancoleman.global for our latest updates.P.P.S. Listen as Susan talks about the motivation behind starting this podcast.

    • 49 min
    Ep 41: Riane Eisler & Douglas P. Fry: Nurturing Our Humanity

    Ep 41: Riane Eisler & Douglas P. Fry: Nurturing Our Humanity

    Probably a deep reason I went into the field of conflict resolution long ago is that growing up as a girl in the heart of an affluent, male-dominated, Wall Street kind of culture meant that I had to reconcile deep love for the members of my family -- especially my powerful Dad -- and my resistance toward many of their views and behaviors.  In my fierce college days, I framed things as, my Dad was a “capitalist” whose clients supported the coup in Chile (they did), and  I --  deeply influenced by the raging American war in Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia, my new awareness of the hundreds of times the U.S. had intervened militarily into Latin America, and women’s studies -- declared myself a “radical socialist feminist”.Now after many years of growing, ripening and getting tossed around by the currents of our human existence -- seeing the contradictions in lots of things and people -- I am less interested in polarities and much more interested in finding common ground, deeper dialogue, genuine contact between people, in spite of difference.So, I would say now that perhaps I am part “capitalist” – a lover of innovation, entrepreneurship and creativity, part “socialist”, a firm believer in taking care of people’s basic needs and our planet, and the rest of me, well just rogue goddess -- wanting to move beyond what my next guest calls models of domination to those of true partnership.Riane Eisler is well into her later years and is still generating unsurpassed insight and contribution into how we can live well together on this planet. I interviewed her first in Episode 28 (please give a listen), and said then and repeat now that she is one of the brightest lights and most innovative social thinkers out there.What I have always liked the most is that she transcends the polarities of right v. left, capitalist v. socialist, religious v. secular, north v. south, -- “it’s useless”, she says, “because there have been repressive violent regimes in every one of these categories.”Instead, her frame is models of partnership v. domination and a special emphasis on how gender shows up in both.In my 20’s, when I first read her book, The Chalice and the Blade, it was such eureka moment that was then reinforced by Harvard social anthropologist William Ury in his book, Getting to Peace to learn that humans have not always been in a state of war and violence -- that, in fact, the vast majority of human existence on earth is characterized much more by what Riane calls models of partnership v. domination, or what Ury articulated as  2,500,000 years of possible coexistence to 10,000 years of coercion.So many smart people that I talk to believe humans have always been violent, and that there has always been war. But, there’s a lot of evidence that this is just not true. And there is also plenty of evidence that during those times, men and women lived together as equals and that, in many societies, the Divine was often a revered goddess, and maybe even a super sexy one.What Riane so clearly adds to this discussion is that all domination systems, whether they are left or right, are always characterized by rigid gender stereotypes.“It's not coincidental”, she says, “that whether it was Hitler in Germany, or ISIS in the Middle East today, secular Western, religious Eastern, or the rightist fundamentalist alliance in the US, that a top priority is always getting back to this quote, ‘traditional family’. It's a code isn't it?” she says, “for authoritarian, rigidly male dominated, and highly punitive family.”  Impetus for this current episode is Riane’s new book, Nurturing our Humanity: How Domination and Partnership Shape our Brains, Lives and Future which she has written with Douglas Fry. It’s a delight to get to know Doug through this episode. I knew of his work as an anthropologist, documenting ea

    • 1 hr 10 min
    Ep 40: Saba Ismail: From Northwestern Pakistan to Global Leadership

    Ep 40: Saba Ismail: From Northwestern Pakistan to Global Leadership

    I like to think of myself as fairly courageous. In fact, one of my mottos (adopted from Barbara Stanny (Huson — an earlier guest on the show) is to “do something scary every day”. So, I readily take work assignments in war zones in Afghanistan, South Sudan and most recently the Central African Republic; I go backcountry skiing on glaciers in remote parts of Alaska; I try to be courageous with my own inner evolution — to keep growing as a human; to be honest with myself and others, speak truth to power and to keep doing what I can to create a more peaceful and sustainable planet.But whatever courage I may have doesn't hold a candle to my current podcast guest, Saba Ismail, who grew up in Northwestern Pakistan, the most dangerous place on earth to be a woman. Saba and her sister, Gululai, and the well-known Malala, who comes from the same region (and was shot in the head simply for advocating for girls’ education), are speaking up in the face of many forces that would like to silence them and which would terrify me if I was confronted with the same. I'm glad I can give a platform on this podcast to young women like Saba, who now is 32.Here are a few excerpts from her bio:"Saba Ismail is a feminist, peace activist and is working for the empowerment of young women. At the age of 15, with other young women fellows, she co-founded “Aware Girls”, a young women-led organization working for empowering young women by strengthening their leadership. . . The young women of Aware Girls engage in Countering Violent Extremism (or CVE) programs in which young people are persuaded to not join militant groups and instead create open spaces for dialogue, and promote nonviolence and pluralism in the community.She was one of the first to convince the diplomatic community of the importance of including youth in building a more peaceful world.Foreign Policy Magazine acknowledged her bravery and activism by recognizing her as one of 100 Leading Global Thinkers of 2013 and she has been acknowledged in the “30 under 30 Campaign by the “National Endowment for Democracy” for her long struggle for democracy, peace and women’s rights."Here are some of my favorite "frames” of the episode:She couldn't even talk -- First of all, a few months back when I first reached out to Saba, she didn't even feel she could talk to me because her sister was in hiding from the Pakistani military and things were just too dangerous to bring any more attention to the situation.The Critical Role of Fathers -- Saba grew up in jihad, the influences were everywhere and as a young person she believed them. But when her father, a human rights activist, realized what she was bringing home from school, he intervened to make sure that all of his kids, especially his girls, were given information and education to counter the indoctrination. The critical role fathers play in the empowerment of their daughters is well-documented and I have experienced it personally:when I was working with two factions of Kurds in northern Iraq and i suggested it might be good to have some women among the representatives, it was a father who insisted that his daughter join us even though her mother and grandmother were dead set against it;when I had the privilege of working with the senior women leaders in the Afghan government, many of them shared with me that they would never be where they are without their father's support;in Saba’s story, a father who really paved the way for her sister Gululai and her to make a real difference to their community and world; and finally, in my own life, my father who loved me a lot but was ambivalent about my professional success -- how much effort it has taken me to transcend his messages.Advocating nonviolence in Madrassas -- Saba and Aware Girls going into the madrassas to convince young people that the Koran doesn’t support violence and

    • 1 hr
    Ep. 039: Stephanie Savell: The Costs of War

    Ep. 039: Stephanie Savell: The Costs of War

    I've been looking for somebody who could talk credibly about money. Of course, this podcast isn’t really about that. This podcast is about focusing on processes and ideas that build common ground and complex systems. However, I’ve always believed that one of the things you need to look at is money.I'm so excited to have found Stephanie Savell and The Cost of War project. There are three women who are doing an amazing job documenting what has been spent by the United States and to some extent, other countries, on what they call the post 9/11 wars.Stephanie Savell is an anthropologist of militarism, security and political culture and has studied these topics in the United States and in Brazil. She co-directs Brown University’s Cost of War project. She was one of the younger members and I thought it was appropriate that one of the younger members of The Cost of War project speak because it sounds like we are really mortgaging our children’s future in the United States with the amount that is being spent on the military.Let’s hear Stephanie talk about this more as she has done a lot of research and talks credibly and clearly about what exactly is going on.

    • 43 min
    Ep. 038: Rob Fersh: Finding Common Ground in the Belly of the Beast

    Ep. 038: Rob Fersh: Finding Common Ground in the Belly of the Beast

    A main focus of this podcast is to explore the best process interventions that build common ground and consensus in diverse and often polarized groups. But the reality is -- unless you are a process person like me – eg. a facilitator, coach, mediator – you probably don’t pay attention to process. Process is a little bit like plumbing: if it’s working, you don’t notice it, but if it’s not, watch out!! I started this podcast because I know that HOW we come together to resolve our differences has everything to do with whether we will be successful. If you create the right “container” with the right ingredients -- including meeting conditions, stakeholders, design – I am confident that you can make significant progress in bridging divides that seem unbridgeable. So, that’s why, when Convergence and Rob Fersh came to my attention I got interested. A divide that currently seems intractable to many people, especially those living in the United States, is the one between the Democrats (the left) and Republicans (the right) in the US Government. Most Americans these days are pretty frustrated, and even despairing, at the tone in Washington, the level of polarization, the acrimony. Rob founded Convergence in 2009 “to promote consensus solutions to issues of domestic and international importance”. Convergence has “mediated” or done creative problem solving around public policy issues where opposing sides agree on a goal but disagree, sometimes intensely about how to get there. The organization creates “containers” that allow opposing sides to build relationships and think together more clearly about creative ways forward. To date, it has worked on initiatives around health care, education, incarceration and is exploring other hot topics in the public policy arena such as gun safety and climate change. Rob came to Convergence after serving as the U.S. country director for Search for Common Ground, an international conflict resolution organization, where he directed national policy consensus projects and health care coverage for the uninsured and U.S. Muslim relations. He is also a very seasoned Washingtonian after many years of public service prior to Search for Common Ground. What I think will stand out to you, as it has to me, is the commitment that Rob brings to creating a safe and neutral environment for opposing sides to come together and think constructively about ways forward. When you create a good climate, people stop the demonization, trust builds, and it’s even possible to create solid and lasting relationships though people may still disagree on a number of issues. In Rob's own words “ at a minimum, at a time when people don’t talk to each other well, the people that we get to come to our tables --who are very diverse politically and otherwise -- have an amazing experience of seeing and understanding people -- and at a minimum we are lowering temperatures of the most important people – and at the best end we are having a real impact on the issues we care about. So, I invite you to tune in and hear Rob’s stories. Get inspired. It will give you hope that we can find common ground in the belly of the beast.

    • 53 min

Customer Reviews

Julene T ,

Listen in

This podcast is a great find for anyone interested in humanity. Susan is bringing us the voices of people who are social transformers and whose voices need to be heard in our time. If you want to be encouraged and challenged you have come to the right place to listen in.

bakerhl ,

Peacebuilding Student

I am so excited to have found this podcast! I’ll be entering a Masters if Sustainable Peacebuilding Program this fall and have been trying to soak up all the information possible to position myself to be impactful. I have listened to the first handful of episodes thus far and have found so much inspiration and hope for the future of our world though the lens of those doing Peacebuilding work. Thank you for sharing your experiences and insights so freely so that others may benefit. Peace be with you and all of your guests.

Jack Bynum, PhD ,

Words to Help a Wounded World

Susan Coleman charts a path out of this wounded world to a new planet defined by connection rather than disconnection. Always insightful and fresh with inspiration, The Peace Building Podcast should be required listening for anyone (everyone) committed to creating a more wholesome world. I can’t recommend it enough!

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