Negotiation Journal

, Volume 5, Issue 1, pp 75–82 | Cite as

Conflict resolution symposium derails a potential tobacco “war”

  • Dayle E. Powell
In Practice


While it is, of course, very satisfying to see measurable results from a conflict resolution initiative, the immeasurable byproducts of the symposium are no less important. All who were present will never forget the evening at dinner when a preeminent cancer surgeon diagnosed skin cancer on the face of the oldest tobacco farmer and offered to fly across country to help treat him. The doctor who had earlier almost resorted to blows when the symposium began, made a commitment to visit North Carolina and see the plight of tobacco farm families firsthand.

In debriefing the symposium's design and outcomes, many of the participants expressed desires that such processes could be used more routinely. Value was seen in having meetings throughout the country to teach such skills and model the processes of alternative dispute resolution. One member of the Congress even expressed a desire that training be offered on Capitol Hill, so that all members could benefit from becoming better at resolving disputes.

What the tobacco symposium participants experienced is not unique. It demonstrates the positive experiences that can occur when people in conflict are empowered to resolve their differences in ways that uplift them and result in mutual gain. Instead of focusing on each other as enemies, their creative powers were focused on common problems and redirected; they were then able to design creative solutions.


Conflict Resolution Smokeless Tobacco Teaching Model Tobacco Industry Alternative Dispute Resolution 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • Dayle E. Powell

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