Learn more about THE FIVE PERCENT

the five percent problem: an introduction

About 5 percent of the more difficult conflicts seem to become intractable, unsolvable. In these videos Columbia University Professor Peter T. Coleman discusses why these 5 percent problems seem so unsolvable and offers a few helpful ways to think about them in order to reach a solution.

A conflict in the south bronx

This video describes a problem of gang-violence in a public school in the South Bronx in New York City, and describes how it became both more complicated and more simple at the same time, which made it feel impossible to solve.

A conflict in mozambique

This video shares some lessons about ending long-term conflicts from the bloody, 16 year civil war in Mozambique, which is a great example of a country where the impossible happened -- peace broke out.

A conflict at columbia university

This video describes how the Israeli-Palestinian conflict erupted on the campus of Columbia University in New York City, and how the concept of attractors from complexity science helps us understand why it became to hard to resolve.

the agenda with steve paikin: a climate of conflict

What do the Middle East, the abortion debate and climate change all have in common? They are all intractable conflicts. Columbia University's Peter T. Coleman tells Steve Paikin more about climate change and why presents such a quagmire.

why we are stuck: the attraction of polarization at ted x miami

In this TEDx talk in Miami, Columbia University Professor Peter T. Coleman explains why politics in the US are more deadlocked and polarized today than they have been since the end of the US Civil War, and what our next president and our citizens can do about it. Applying ideas from complexity science, Dr. Coleman explains how the current "attractor" pattern of polarization we are stuck in came about, the crisis it presents, and the window of opportunity it offers us for positive change to be sparked from both above (our leaders) and below (us).

international focus: resolving intractable conflicts with peter t. coleman

Peter Coleman, Director of the International Center for Cooperation and Conflict Resolution and an Associate Professor at Columbia University, joins Rob Ricigliano of the Institute of World Affairs to discuss the background of intractable conflicts.