In this episode, Susan interviews Dr. Andrea Bartoli, someone who takes important professional risks to get good work done. Dr. Bartoli is currently Dean at Seton Hall School of Diplomacy and International Relations and an incredibly brave, intelligent and collaborative soul. He has been part of peacemaking initiatives in Mozambique, Guatemala, Algeria, Kosovo, Burundi, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Burma/Myanmar, East Timor, Colombia, and has been an advocate of innovative processes to build common ground in the university systems in which he has spent most of his professional career.
In this podcast, he tells the story of his contribution in Mozambique to bring about the end of a 16-year civil war. This work, he says, was the most important and formative of his long career in the field of peacemaking. Instrumental to the success of the endeavor was a strong belief that, in spite of the huge challenges, peace was possible. As Dr. Bartoli says, “Peace is always possible. This must be repeated over and over in situations where you do not see the possibility of peace... If peace was possible in Mozambique, then it is possible in Syria, Afghanistan, it is possible everywhere.”
The story of Mozambique started simply – giving assistance to just one friend. That friend, in turn, was connected to expanding systems of people, ultimately to an entire country and then, by way of example, to the world. Dr. Bartoli reflects how “each of us has a daily decision to make regarding how we use ourselves to evolve systems to a more harmonious and constructive place.” And, he says, “I think that the human spirit is much stronger than war, much stronger than violence. I think that violence and war are mistakes, collective mistakes, of not applying yourself to the discipline of seeking what unites and not what divides.”
Towards the end of the interview, Dr. Bartoli talks about the importance of innovative process choice in peacemaking and diplomacy and, similarly, in the “diplomacy” required to run large complex systems such as universities.
There is a lot of learning in this episode. You may want to listen closely, and listen twice.