Guy Burgess and Heidi Burgess
Conflict Information Consortium, University of Colorado
Guy and Heidi Burgess both earned their Ph.D.s in sociology from the University of Colorado in 1979. They then did postdoctoral work at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and worked for several years as public policy conflict consultants. In 1988, with support from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, they established (with others) the University of Colorado Conflict Research Consortium (now Conflict Information Consortium), which they have co-directed ever since.
With its primary focus on intractable conflict, the Consortium has pioneered efforts to use rapidly advancing information technologies to provide citizens from all walks of life with the information that they need in order to deal with difficult conflicts more constructively. The Consortium sees such efforts to enhance and mobilize the skills of the general population as critical to efforts to deal with complex, society-wide conflicts.
This work, which dates back to the earliest days of the Internet, has now led to the posting of new versions of CRInfo: The Conflict Resolution Information Source (www.CRInfo.org) and Beyond Intractability, the website of the Intractable Conflict Knowledge Base Project (www.BeyondIntractability.org). These systems, which were constructed with the help of more than 300 experts, offer coverage of over 600 conflict topics (often with succinct, executive summary-type articles as well as links to recommended Web, print, and audiovisual sources of more in-depth information). Also available are over 100 hours of online interviews, featuring more than 70 distinguished scholars and practitioners, and comprehensive bibliographies with more than 20,000 citations.
The Burgesses' newer projects include Conflict Education and Training Resource Systems, the Conflict Frontiers project, Stop Fighting, and Online Courses.
In addition to designing and overseeing the Consortium's various knowledge and learning systems, the Burgesses also consult with individuals and organizations facing difficult conflicts. Though they do not typically act as mediators or facilitators for long-term processes, they help people assess their situation to determine what approach would likely be most constructive, and can help refer clients to colleagues who will actually carry out the conflict resolution process. This avoids any conflict of interest or concern that we are merely trying to sell our approach. We also provide prompt and affordable "second opinions" to individuals and organizations to help them assess whether a particular course of action is appropriate and feasible.