​Cohasset Rotary Club

Mary Jo Larsen, PhD, "patterns of Conflict, Peacebuilding and Sustainability"

SPEAKER - Mary Jo Larsen "Patterns of Conflict, Peacebuilding and Sustainability"
Mary Jo Larsen has been a permanent Cohasset resident for 6 years.  She worked as a Peace Corp volunteer for 2 years in Venezuela, received her Masters in Applied Linguistics, did another 6 years with Peace Corp worldwide and has received her PhD in Conflict Analysis and Resolution.
Mary Jo has worked for Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and worked in multi-lateral and NGO organizations.  While recently spending time in Kenya and while waiting to go thru Turkey to go to India, she experienced part of Rotary Internationals work as they required her to have a brand new Polio vaccine to make sure they remained Polio free. 
Mary Jo has spent most of her adult life working on conflict and peacebuilding. While speaking to the Cohasset Rotary Club she asked it's members what is conflict?  Is conflict a 'problem'?  Conflict is an intentional battle of wills.  Conflict is DANGER and OPPORTUNITY.  
The Polio vaccine is an example of Danger and Opportunity and how you need to "go slow to move fast".   Mary Jo's very informative talk was presented in a friendly casual manner opening our eyes to a world most of us had not personally experienced..  She posed a few thought provoking statements and questions, and recommended her latest read Beyond the Beautiful Forever.
Spearheading Polio Eradication can cause CONFLICT.  You need to work with your heart and head.  People need to evaluate the physical dimension.  Power asymmetry can cause conflict.  You must think about the multiple stakeholders, diversity of beliefs, history, and multiple sectors.
Patterns of Conflict can be viewed in a Venn diagram:
Symbolic -ATTITUDES what do you believe?
Physical and Material - BEHAVIOR & RESULTS
RAFT is the structure of effective progress.
When peacebuilding know that small effects become magnified when conditions are right.