Green.org sat down with Beth Fisher-Yoshida, Program Director of Columbia University, to learn about Beth’s passion for educating people about how to deal with conflict and negotiation.
Tell us a little bit about you and your background:
I am a Professor of Practice in negotiation and conflict resolution at Columbia University. I consult and coach in negotiation, especially focused on women and negotiation, and addressing organizational conflicts. I also conduct workshops with youth leaders transitioning out of conflict. I like to read, dance salsa, and create visual art pieces.
What would you do with $1 Billion dollars?
I would have an endowed fund to provide scholarships to so many youth who do not have educational opportunities. There would be a focus on giving back and I would hope the youth benefitting from these scholarships will give back to their communities to pay it forward.
Why do you think sustainability is such an important topic today?
The numbers and bleak outlook are real and I think this is finally hitting home. In the world of conflict, there is a reality that interventions may work, but there aren’t sustainable measures put into place, so that the effects stay after the intervention is over. We need sustainable actions by building capacity. There is a relationship between climate and conflict, each one influencing the other and causing great migrations. This is also a source of conflict when people fight over the same real or perceived limited tangible resources.
What do you envision your industry looking like 10 years from now?
In my idealistic vision, I imagine more widespread capacity building so that more people know how to collaborate, engage in dialogue, and learn how to peacefully co-exist at a minimum. Developing respect for this with different points of view is critical.
What can the average person do to make a difference?
Slow down your reaction and seek to understand where the other person is coming from before launching into an adversarial response. You may find out your are more aligned than you initially thought.