As part of KBOO’s international Day of democracy special programming I sit down with Mike Duerr, a retired U.S. Army Officer who served as a conflict mediator during the course of the U.S./NATO occupation of Afghanistan and Iraq. After his Army service, Mike continued to study and practice methods of conflict resolution and mediating. Presently, Mike is a visiting lecturer for the International Graduate Program on Conflict Resolution and Mediation at the Middle East Training Team for the Bosserman Center for Conflict Resolution at Salisbury University.
In this episode, Mike Duerr shares some of his experiences with us and his own opinions of what the US could have done to mediate with the Afghanistan/Iraq populace to avoid conflict, he also answers some difficult questions about the power imbalance of being a conflict mediator while also being an occupying force. Mike will give us a step by step break down of the process of conflict mediation and explains what happens to democracy when we refuse to acknowledge the opposing side. Towards the end of the episode Mike provides us with insight on how to disarm and engage with friends and family who have become contentious because of disinformation, misinformation, anti vaxx sentiment and far right fringe groups online.
I’d like to thank Mike Duerr for sharing his story and opinions with me. Mike’s opinions are his alone and don’t reflect his workplace or any of the agencies mentioned in the interview.