Nigeria has experienced a catastrophic explosion of violent religious conflicts in the last decade, contrary to some expectations that the inauguration of democratic governance would usher in stability, mutual coexistence and tolerance. The most recent crises erupted in Plateau State, where many men, women and children were killed. One initiative launched in response to the violence is the Nigeria-Plateau State Peace Dialogue Project, developed and supported by the International Development Law Organization (IDLO) in Italy. During phase one of this project, which started in December 2010, I traveled to Abuja, Nigeria, to facilitate three separate peace dialogues. Participants included Muslim and Christian men, women and youth. Although anxieties surfaced in the beginning, each group came together to build greater understanding. Subsequent phases will promote peace through legal advocacy and the establishment of Schools for Forgiveness and Reconciliation. Learn more in the Thunderbird Knowledge Network video below.
Dr. Eileen Borris, a licensed psychologist, is the author of “Finding Forgiveness” (McGraw-Hill). She is Director of Training for the Institute for Multi-Track Diplomacy in Washington, D.C., and teaches cross-cultural communication and negotiation at Thunderbird School of Global Management in Glendale, Arizona. In addition to her work with full-time students, she teaches in the Thunderbird Online program, Executive Certificate in Global Negotiations.
Lessons from Nigeria: Dr. Eileen Borris, adjunct Thunderbird professor, talks Sept. 1, 2011, about the Nigeria-Plateau State Peace Dialogue Project. View the video on YouTube (2:38).