Olaf Zylicz

Title: On meeting “the Other”: Cautions and Opportunities

Olaf Zylicz is a professor of psychology at the University of Social and Humanistic Sciences in Warsaw. He internationally researches and teaches in the domains of organizational behavior and moral psychology, including collective guilt and reconciliation. He co-authored with Samuel Oliner "Altruism, Intergroup Apology, Forgiveness, and Reconciliation."  Dr. Zylicz is currently involved in the organization of experiential Jewish studies at his university.


As a global society, we experience interactions both online and offline with people who represent diverse ideological contexts and worldviews. From a socio-psychological perspective, these interactions can be beneficial experiences, but can also pose a threat for social and personal cohesion or integrity. Each nation, group, and society can list “the Others” who belong to groups which are perceived as difficult or in opposition. Members of both parties may identify themselves foremost as victims in the relation. The situation becomes psychologically more complicated when “the Others” are mostly of different ideological background (religion, morality, culture, or political system). For “Us” they can be perceived as uneasy, often challenging. However, sometimes individual and group mechanisms maintain the others’ negative image; they can serve as an enemy or a defined oppressor for some sort of “well-being” of another group. Therefore, reconciliation between groups often faces barriers despite peaceful attempts and declarations. Various strategies between groups will be discussed using examples from South America, South Africa, and Eastern Europe. Postulated steps towards inter-group reconciliation will be presented.

Workshop — Deliberative Debate in Practice

Workshop Description: Deliberative Debate is a unique approach that can facilitate a resolution to difficult inter-group conflicts or problems. It is based on mutual understanding and respect. The parties involved look for solutions which may satisfy, as much as consensually possible, all the engaged stakeholders. It does so without needing participants to give up their identities or fundamental interests.

This workshop will consist of three elements:
1. An introduction to the history and principles of deliberative debate
2. Participation in a facilitated deliberative debate
3. A joint discussion on the applicability of deliberative debate in real life situations.