Day 13: Dr. Marc Gopin

Marc Gopin is the Director of the Center for World Religions, Diplomacy and Conflict Resolution (CRDC), the James H. Laue Professor at the School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution at George Mason University, Arlington, Virginia. Gopin has pioneered projects at CRDC in Afghanistan, Iran, Syria, Palestine and Israel. Gopin directs a unique series of overseas educational and practice experiences ranging from conflict and peace intervention in Palestine and Israel, to support for Syrian activists and refugees in Turkey and Jordan, to pioneering educational classes in the Balkans and Northern Ireland. The classes are open to all for either a certificate or credit. marc-syria-comment

Gopin has trained thousands of people worldwide in peacebuilding strategies for complex conflicts. He conducts research on values dilemmas as they apply to international problems of clash of cultures, globalization and development, and social justice. The direction of his new research and teaching investigates the relationship between global trends in nonviolence and new approaches to global conflict resolution. His fifth book, Bridges Across an Impossible Divide: the Inner Lives of Arab and Jewish Peacemakers (Oxford, 2012), explores the role of self-examination in the resolution of human conflict as portrayed in the lives and testimonies of indigenous peacemakers.

Gopin has engaged in back channel diplomacy with religious, political and military figures on both sides of conflicts. He has appeared on numerous media outlets, including CNN, CNN International, Al Jazeera English, Al Jazeera Arabic, Al Arabiyah, The Jim Lehrer News Hour, National Public Radio, Voice of America, and the national public radios of Sweden and Northern Ireland. He has been published in numerous publications, including the International Herald Tribune, the Boston Globe, the Christian Science Monitor, and his work has been featured in news stories of the Times of London, The Times of India, Associated Press, and Newhouse News Service. He received a Ph.D. in ethics from Brandeis University in 1993. He was also ordained as an Orthodox rabbi at Yeshiva University in 1983, although he eventually stopped identifying with any Jewish denomination. In recognition of Gopin’s work and dedication to the hard work of peacemaking, take a moment to reflect on his words:

“The fact is that it is easy to demonize, it is the lazy primitive brain’s way out of stress. It takes work to see good and bad existing side by side…I will never again assume that if someone is from a victim group that they have an evolved moral mind, and I will never again assume that education has anything to do with empathy, balance, and the capacity for making peace between enemies.”

(Thanks to much of this information. This site has great postings.)

2 thoughts on “Day 13: Dr. Marc Gopin

  1. I think the quote you chose to end with for Marc Gopin rings very true, and not just the part about demonization, which I think is easy for many to recognize as it’s happening. It’s the part about victims that really struck a chord, because I do think too often we assume that if people have been victims of violence (in whatever form, be it physical, emotional, structural, etc.), they will sympathize with other victims and not commit violence against others. But that “evolved moral mind” doesn’t grow within everyone, and some victims can be just as cruel as–if not more so than–the ones who hurt them. And they can be cruel to people who have nothing to do with the original conflict (as well as to their “natural enemies”).


  2. Thanks, Helen. I was thinking much the same thing this morning as I was reading an article in the news about Palestinian women in Gaza boldly defying authority and taking grave risk by, simply, riding bicycles. In my Quaker circles, I hear so much about “bad Israel/good Palestinians”, but stories like this (there are similar tales of treatment of gay people) are reminders that painting victims as good is naive. I heard a man from Darfur a few years ago remark that, while touring DC, he saw countless “Save Darfur” signs. He told an audience, “whatever you do, don’t arm us. We will kill with a vengeance.”


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s