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The Mosaica Multi-Dimensional Work Model

The Mosaica Center for Conflict Transformation in the Middle East developed a multi- dimensional work model in order to achieve maximum success in meeting the Center's programming goals. The uniqueness of this model is its ongoing developmental process which takes place amongst and between the programming developers, staff, participants, and professional evaluators. Successful programming occurs when the goals, targets, expectations and mode of action are synchronized through this work model.


Dialogue – The definition of dialogue: "a reciprocal conversation between two or more persons". According to Martin Buber, "true dialogue expresses an essential aspect of the human spirit, when we listen and respond to one another with an authenticity that forges a bond between us".

Dialogue between Identities – The dialogue between identities is in fact dialogue between people. Psychology views identity as an internal, holistic, and steady process (Erikson, 1959; Marcia, 1976; Gleason, 1983). Sociology sees it as a type of social label, or roles played by the person in different contexts. Classic philosophy perceives identity as having essential qualities that surpass historic, social and cultural contexts in which a person lives. In contrast, the Constructionist approach claims that human identity is formed and created within these contexts, by the individual himself and that their identities are their personal stories from a historic-cultural context.

Multiple Identities – The participants in dialogue have multiple identities. William James, the founder of modern psychology, stated in The Principles of Psychology, 1890 that:

"A man has as many social selves as there are individuals (or groups) who recognize him and carry an image of him in their mind...we may practically say that he has as many different social selves as there are distinct groups of persons about whose opinion he cares... From this there results what practically is a division of the man into several selves".

The supporters of the multiple identities theory are critical of the single identity model on both a theoretical and methodological level. They state that this criticism derives from the limitations common to all these models, regardless of the identity (Stuart Hall, Cultural Representations and Signifying Practices, 1997).

Accordingly, the multi-dimensional model advances beyond the single identity model, and refers to the interaction between a variety of identities as it attempts to understand the complex relations between the identities, and provide the required tools for multi-identity dialogue management.

Identity Types and Hierarchy between Identities in Dialogue Meetings – Mosaica's target population has a number of distinct identities: ethnic-national identity as Jews and Arabs, political-territorial identity as Israelis and Palestinians, religious identity as Jews and Muslims, gender identity, and family identity as spouses, parents, children and siblings. The majority of dialogue programs in Israel are held in the context of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and refer almost exclusively to the national-political component of identity. They do not include religious or cultural aspects which are central to the Mosaica's target population.

Religious-Cultural Identity in Dialogue – National/Political identity often dominates dialogue processes, and thus prevents the discussion of the deeper roots of the conflict grounded in religion and culture. Therefore, one of the guiding principles of the multi-dimensional work model is to focus on the religious and cultural content through meetings between religious leaders and scholars, the study of religious texts, visits to historical sites with religious character, discussions of the religious aspects of common issues (the status of women, attitudes towards the "other", etc.). Theoretical literature discusses interreligious dialogue although it refers generally to the religious-cultural identity. However, although the multi-dimensional work model emphasizes this identity, it does not disregard the political context in which the religious identities live, and also uses the psychological language, in addition to the religious one.

The hierarchy and composition of each identity in a project directly effects the choice of methodology used in order to tailor-fit the needs of the participants.

Identity and Language - Each identity has its own language/manner of communication. Mosaica's multi-dimensional work model, works within the dialogue among multiple and various identities, often requiring the use of a variety of methodologies. (ie - the use of mediation when approaching a dialogue on the territorial conflict, and the use of the religious language through the study of texts and encounters with religious scholars when discussing the land rights of the peoples from a religious-historical perspective.)

In order to enable the program participants to maximize the potential of interreligious dialogue and to achieve a program's goals, the multi-dimensional model includes:

1. Religious Language – providing a common basis of ethical and moral principles and behavioral codes.
2. National/Political Language - which refers to the conflict-related historical narrative and to current political and national events.
3. Cultural Language – emphasizing both unique and common cultural aspects of all participants.
4. Language of Gender – based on similar phenomena in different cultures and religions.
5. Psychological Language – based on group-dynamics, intra- and inter-psychological processes.

Interpersonal and Intergroup Identity – According to psychological and sociological literature, (Tajfel, H., & Turner, J. C., An Integrative Theory of Intergroup Conflict, 1979) any human trait can be described by its place on a spectrum, whose ends are: 1) the interpersonal, where interaction between people is determined by the individual characteristics of the participants (for example, interaction between a couple); and 2) intergroup, where interaction between the people is determined by the characteristics of the group to which they belong (for example, soldiers in battle).

Various studies of dialogue among conflict groups, (including an evaluation study of Mosaica programs) show that Muslim participants tend towards the intergroup identity while the Jewish participants tend more towards the interpersonal. This consistent finding derives itself from the relations between the groups themselves – rulers and ruled, majority vs. minority. The multi-dimensional model uses a dynamic-psychological language as a basic component of dialogue in order to bridge between the interpersonal and intergroup identity.

Mosaica's multi-dimensional model is defined as an encounter between the religious, cultural, historical, ethnic, national, political, and other identities, that requires the use of a various methods suitable for each identity. Often these identities form the overall group identity. In such instances, dynamic psychological methods are utilized between the group and interpersonal identities to achieve programming goals.


Contact Mosaica

Mosaica – The Center for Religious Conflict Transformation in the Middle East
P.O.B. 53413
Jerusalem 91533 Israel
Tel: 02-673-2199
Fax: 02-672-7581

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