Days after the September 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center in the United States I heard an interview on the radio. The short exchange, with peace educator and activist Johan Galtung, not surprisingly in light of world events, focused on conflict resolution. While I was impressed by professor Galtung's commitment to peacemaking and his real experience serving as a mediator in world conflicts, what struck me most was the word he used to describe the key ingredient in conflict resolution. That word was 'creativity'. As an artist, art educator, academic and parent I suppose it makes sense that creativity, whatever that may mean, would be important to me. After hearing Professor Gallung describe how he has worked with disputants individually to try to move them into the kind of creative mindset that would allow them to imagine beyond the immediate details of violence and conflict, I had a vivid example of something I believe to be true. Creativity isn't just about personal expression, it is also foundational to the health and survival of society. It takes real risk-taking creativity for adults locked in violent conflict to get beyond the action of war to the challenge of questioning their own actions.
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