On 8 November CEIA Director Matt Waldman gives a lecture at the Council on Middle East Studies at Yale University.

More details about lecture, Missing in Action: Empathy as a Means of Conflict Resolution in the Middle East and Beyond, can be found here.

This talk emphasizes the role of human beings in creating and resolving conflict. It considers the challenges of understanding the parties involved in conflict, especially under challenging conditions and given the prevalence of cognitive errors and biases, such as demonization and denial.

The speaker argues that empathizing can help to throw light on warring parties – including their identity, psychology and motivations – which are too often overlooked. Empathizing can also help decision makers overcome their own biases. It can give them a deeper understanding of others and their own role in conflict.

The speaker will reference cases, such as Afghanistan and Iran, to illustrate how the failure to empathize can contribute to false assumptions that underpin war, or, alternatively, how empathizing can build understanding that paves the way to negotiations. He argues that empathizing should be institutionalized in mediation, diplomacy and foreign policymaking.

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