It finally happened. Someone thought I had something interesting to say.
My first article has been published in the Journal of Futures Studies.
The article lays the case for why futures thinking processes should be a part of conflict resolution efforts, particularly when trying to break cycles of violence. Research suggests that people living in violence lack the ability to think about a peaceful future, or any future for that matter. Addressing this inability by providing a space for people living in violence to think systematically about their future—be this for a grassroots community or heads of state embarking on a mediation—may hold a critical key to breaking out of cycles of violence. While there is mounting theory to support this idea, evidence based research is still lacking.
This article is also hopefully a strong foundation I need in order to now go out and find that evidence to support the theory.
My next step and oh so modest goal is to begin working with conflict resolution organizations to create their own scenarios, personal futures, or whatever the foresight maybe so that I can get direct feedback into the processes and learn if futures thinking might be useful in their line of work, and how.
Being a rookie and all, I forgot to thank some important people in the article. I had a lot of help and support along the way from a wide range of people. I’d like to thank my conflict resolution Professor Melissa Labonte, who read through and early draft and supported my efforts from the very beginning. She also pointed me towards John Paul Lederach’s The Moral Imagination: The Art and Soul of Building Peace, which has now become my thought bible. Professor Henry Schwalbenberg, Director of the IPED graduate program at Fordham University, allowed me to take in independent study in order to write this article, despite my inability to find an appropriate sponsor at the time. This of course meant that he took the time to read and grade a 7000 word essay during his busy schedule. I’d also like to Geci Karuri-Sebina for taking motivating me and supporting me during a trip to South Africa to work with SA Node. She took the time to read through a very early version before it probably made any sense and gave me some great feedback. I’d also like to make mention of Katinidi Sivi Njonjo, Bob Day, Koffi M. KouaKou, Jake Dunagan, and Kathi Vian, all of whom helped inspire and motivate me along the way.