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Peter T. Coleman, PhD
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Dr. Peter T. Coleman holds a Ph.D. in Social/Organizational Psychology from Columbia University. He is currently Associate Professor of Psychology and Education at Columbia University where he holds a joint-appointment at Teachers College and The Earth Institute and teaches courses in Conflict Resolution, Social Psychology, and Social Science Research. Dr. Coleman is Director of the International Center for Cooperation and Conflict Resolution (ICCCR) at Teachers College, Columbia University, Chair of Columbia University’s Advanced Consortium on Cooperation, Conflict, and Complexity (ACCCC), and a research affiliate of the International Center for Complexity and Conflict (ICCC) at The Warsaw School for Social Psychology in Warsaw, Poland. He has conducted research on ingroup/outgroup formation, the mediation of inter-ethnic conflict, intractable conflict, complexity theory and conflict, identity formation, moral emotions, ripeness and conflict, and on the conditions and processes which foster the constructive use of social power. In 2003, he became the first recipient of the Early Career Award from the American Psychological Association, Division 48: Society for the Study of Peace, Conflict, and Violence. Dr. Coleman co-edits The Handbook of Conflict Resolution: Theory and Practice (2000; 2nd edition 2006), and has authored over 50 journal articles and chapters. He is also a New York State certified mediator and experienced consultant.

Entries by Peter T. Coleman, PhD

The Power of Moral Complexity

(1) Comments | Posted September 17, 2014 | 12:12 PM

Today, the citizens of the United States face some very difficult moral choices. Should the U.S. government commit to spending billions conducting airstrikes against ISIL in Iraq and Syria or stay out of the conflict and invest those dollars in our own education and transportation systems? Is Obamacare a constructive...

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Mad With Power?

(30) Comments | Posted August 29, 2014 | 11:49 AM

Co-written with Robert Ferguson

Weeks after a chorus of international outrage erupted over the annexing of Crimea and the downing of Malaysia Airline's Flight 17 in pro-Russian rebel airspace in Ukraine and the death of 298 civilians, Russia is unapologetically sending new military convoys equipped with mobile...

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The Beginning of Peace?

(63) Comments | Posted November 27, 2013 | 12:09 PM

Co-authored by Kyong Mazzaro

If we ever find peace, will we know it when we see it?

The interim nuclear deal between Iran and the major powers is a hopeful step in the long ambiguous journey toward peace. However, in the 67 other conflict-prone regions of the world currently monitored...

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Communicating With Rogue States: The Power of the Weak

(10) Comments | Posted April 15, 2013 | 5:17 PM

Syria, North Korea, and Iran. Today these three nations share the dubious distinction of being labeled by the international community as well-armed rogue states ruled by leaders who are insane, criminal, or worse and who pose grave threats to regional stability and peace. They also share the fact that they...

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The Consequences of Our Games

(9) Comments | Posted January 1, 2013 | 11:48 AM

After seeing this season's holiday movies Argo, Zero Dark Thirty and Lincoln, I found myself thinking, "Damn, we are good at games." Whether it is the CIA gaming Iranian revolutionary leaders by posing as a Hollywood film crew to rescue U.S. diplomats in 1980, the U.S. government, military and CIA...

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The Missing Piece in Sustainable Peace

(1) Comments | Posted November 6, 2012 | 5:03 PM

Despite Governor Romney's newfound call for international peace during the final presidential debate, as well as all of the other political rhetoric bandied about on peace, the fact is we know very little about what it is (and what it isn't), the conditions that promote it, the motives that drive...

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Why Politics Are Stuck in the U.S.

(0) Comments | Posted November 5, 2012 | 3:20 PM

In this recent TEDx talk in Miami, Professor Peter T. Coleman, Chair of the Advanced Consortium on Cooperation, Conflict, and Complexity (AC4) at The Earth Institute explains why politics in the U.S. are more deadlocked and polarized today than they have been since the end of the U.S. Civil War...

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America Needs Political Shock Therapy

(11) Comments | Posted August 16, 2012 | 2:02 PM

Last week Congress sailed for vacation and in its wake left floundering a bill to reauthorize and reform the national farm program (which includes the food stamp program), a bill to protect the US Postal Service, and a bill on cybersecurity for the US power grid, water supply and financial...

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The Decade for Peace in Israel-Palestine

(20) Comments | Posted May 14, 2012 | 11:05 AM

Having just returned from a visit to Israel where I spoke at a meeting of government scholars which included several negotiators who had been directly involved in past peace processes, one thing is clear: peace with the Palestinians seems impossible. The message I heard was that the Israeli government is...

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President Obama's Mixed-Motive Dilemma

(0) Comments | Posted February 3, 2012 | 1:20 PM

Early indications seemed to suggest that President Obama would be a conflict resolution president. During his campaign for office, he pledged to bring a new tone to Washington and to make every attempt to reach across the aisle. He engaged many new stakeholders through the Internet and social media, promising...

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Awakening to Women: The Nobel Effect

(2) Comments | Posted October 17, 2011 | 1:12 PM

The awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize to Liberian peace activist Leymah Gbowee is an occasion for both celebration and reflection. Gbowee, 39, one of the youngest recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize and currently the Executive Director of the Women in Peace and Security Network, was prompted...

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The Mandela Doctrine: Lessons for Obama

(1) Comments | Posted September 20, 2011 | 10:49 PM

Our country is fickled. Progressives demand that President Obama finally stand up and fight for a jobs bill. Conservatives prefer that he quietly demur. The general public is calling for partisan compromise, while economists preach bold initiatives. Obama's political advisors are looking for quick wins to gain points in the...

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The Mathematics of Middle East Conflict and Peace

(50) Comments | Posted July 1, 2011 | 10:59 AM

Israel's mired peace talks, expanding settlements and renewed violence have become all too familiar. Despite the rise and fall of many Jewish and Arab leaders, dramatic changes in official policies, swings in the political will of the citizenry, and perpetual waves of pressure from the international community, these conditions have...

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Ethnic Divisions and the Fall of the Arab Spring: What's in a Name?

(0) Comments | Posted June 10, 2011 | 10:12 AM

There is great concern today about interethnic divisions signaling the end of the Arab Spring. Trepidation that hopes for national democratic unity in the Middle East and North Africa are giving way to ethnic, religious and sectarian tribalism rooted in ancient hostilities and newfound struggles for power, which could lead...

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Are Peacemakers Helping or Harming? Conflict Resolution and the Science-Practice Gap

(2) Comments | Posted May 27, 2011 | 10:42 AM

A hundred years ago the field of medicine underwent a major crisis in the U.S. Until then, many physicians happily plied their trade paying little or no attention to the latest developments in science. Physicians had attended medical schools, collected their degrees and developed their skills with patients, and frankly...

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Seasons of Change in the Arab World: For Better or Worse?

(0) Comments | Posted May 20, 2011 | 2:33 PM

The revolutionary events that have swept across the Arab world since last December, branded the Arab Spring, have stirred great turmoil. In Tunisia, Egypt, Yemen, Bahrain, Jordan, Libya, Syria and most recently Israel, a chain of destabilizing events has been unfolding, the likes of which have not been seen since...

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Bottom-Up Peace

(24) Comments | Posted April 22, 2011 | 3:48 PM

Co-authored by Morton Deutsch

The protracted Israeli-Palestinian conflict has again reached a stalemate and negotiations between the parties have broken off. However, we believe it is urgent that the United States and the others in the Quartet (The UN, the EU and Russia) take steps to initiate a renewed movement...

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Give Peace a (Last) Chance

(4) Comments | Posted March 7, 2011 | 8:36 AM

As President Obama has said, recent events in the Middle East present both a challenge and an opportunity for the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. For Israel, the opportunity might well be the last chance to beat the demographic and democratic clocks for a two-state solution. For the Palestinians, the urgency to...

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Washington Is Fixed and Needs to Be Broken

(3) Comments | Posted January 19, 2011 | 4:57 PM

Fellow Citizens:

In December, Gallup reported a 13% approval rating for Congress -- a record low. Last year hundreds of bills were sent to the Senate which were never debated on the floor. In the last two terms of Congress, 275 filibusters were brought to the floor, the highest number...

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Leadership in the Time of Obama

(41) Comments | Posted March 19, 2010 | 10:15 AM

President Obama is today negotiating for his political life. The pundits claim he is "all-in" on the health care bill, and that its defeat would be the practical end to his presidency. So here's a pop-quiz.

Should Obama:

  • A. Command and control - Use every ounce of his...

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