Interview with Martin Griffiths on the role of empathy in mediation and diplomacy.
The newly established Center for Empathy in International Affairs published an interview with Martin Griffiths about empathy and diplomacy. Here are some key quotes:
"The mediator or political thinker who places an overemphasis on interests, diplomacy and negotiation misses an extraordinarily important part of the puzzle and in doing that they are reducing the chances of peace. So, actually, it’s deeply negligent. I would say very forcefully to those who do this, if you don’t prioritize an understanding of your friends, enemies or people you don’t yet even know – if you don’t try to emphasize – then frankly you have failed to give it your best shot."
"Understanding people is not a form of approval, by no means. It’s quite extraordinary how people seem to think efforts to understand others are essentially affirmatory activities."
"It is not about saying the world is relativist, which is dangerous thing, and construed these days as giving in to terror – it’s not that. If you want to succeed as counter-terrorist official, you damn well know that first of all you have to understand the terrorist. That is essential."