Grafitour in Medellín: A Conflict Transformation Experience

In Medellin, Colombia, a group of urban artists taught me the most powerful lesson in conflict transformation. With colleagues from Columbia University, we recently walked the alleys of a marginal area of Medellín, the  Comuna 13. Like other areas of the city, unspeakable violence marked its life. Here, people were killed, tortured, dismembered, and disappeared. Decades of dirty war have characterized the social and political life of Colombia. In the collective imagination, Comuna 13 has become a metaphor for Medellin’s horrors. But it is in this space of death, that hope, creativity, and transcendence have emerged. Comuna 13 has...

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How to Develop Compassion in the Midst of This Madness: 5 Practices.

Well, it can be difficult to have compassion in this time of madness. In fact, how else should we call what’s happening today? Isn’t it madness when a person decides to strap explosive around his body, letting himself blow up at the end of a pop concert killing and injuring teenagers, like it happened at the end of Ariana Grande’s concert in Manchester? Or, isn’t it madness, when a few men decide to drive a van into crowds of people enjoying their Saturday night, as it just happened in London? Unfortunately, we have been witnessing lots of madness recently,...

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5 Ways to Deal with Political Disagreement at Dinner

Are you worried about your Thanksgiving dinner because politics might slip into the conversation and exacerbate tensions that have been mounting during the exhausting presidential campaign? In many cases, the worries are justified. A look at the thread on Twitter, and once realizes how political opinion have broken the lines of communication among family members, to the point that somewhere uninvited to Thanksgiving dinner. We are still suffering from post-election fatigue, and if tensions are simmering among family members that had opposing views about the candidates, some level of anxiety are justified. In this is your case, I want...

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The pianist and the terrorist. How do we respond to the attacks in Paris?

What’s our answer to the terror attacks in Paris? How can we respond in a way that is meaningful and effective? Almost two weeks have now passed since multiple terror attacks hit Paris, taking the life of over one hundred people and spreading fear across the capital of France and well beyond the country’s borders. The accounts and images that reached us through the media, in fact, have enveloped many of us in a transnational community of fear, shaping the perilous perception that the enemy, rather than coming from the outside, is among us and might be even one...

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