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Why Are Things Not Worse?
In community conflict situations there are multiple issues that create and escalate conflicts so that they are complex, prolonged and in some instances, seemingly intractable. The climate and effects of these conflicts are overwhelmingly dismal where it is challenging to find a silver lining. However, even in this foreboding atmosphere, life goes on and people manage to do what they need to do under these conditions, oftentimes transforming such circumstances Further, we have found in our work with youth leaders, especially in Colombia, that they are determined to make the world a better place and in spite of harsh, violent conditions and constant setbacks, they persevere in their endeavors. In this session, we will explore through case studies and narrative analysis, specific examples of what some youth leaders have done and continue to do, and identify some of the qualities or characteristics that distinguish them from others. We will interpret their mindset, actions, and how it is possible to build spaces of peace in the middle of territories entrenched with violent conflicts, through the theories of Coordinated Management of Meaning (CMM) and Dynamical Systems (DST). We will also identify and suggest some action steps that could facilitate growing and spreading these positive incidences in community conflict, so they are sustainable and lead to social transformation.