Non-violence is the greatest force at the disposal of mankind. It is mightier than the mightiest weaponof destruction devised by the ingenuity of man. -Mohandas Gandhi
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Thematic Focus

Three themes in Conflict Resolution represent well-developed faculty expertise, overlapping research interests, and selected topics for further development to guide the mission and activities in the Center for Research and practice:

The Artful Practitioner

Developing the blend of appropriate skills for effective Conflict Resolution practitioners drawing on new theory and approaches to negotiation and mediation, mechanisms for evaluation and reflection, and ethical behavior standards.

Ethnic Conflict Assessment

Analyzing the characteristics, sources, and dynamics of domestic and international conflicts using new frameworks and models to map escalation and de-escalation processes and recommend whether and how to intervene.

Reconstruction, Reconciliation, and Restoration

Structuring programs for capacity building and ways to restore community fabric in intractable ongoing, and recently settled, conflicts.

Projects

Evaluating Colorado Community Mediation Impact

Partnership to Establish the Georgia Mediation Clinic

Capacity Building in Mediation in Trinidad and Tobago

Trauma and Peacebuilding Conference

Association for Conflict Resolution Environment and Public Policy Section Conference

 

Evaluating Colorado Community Mediation Impact

Since the 1960’s, local communities have set up neighborhood justice centers, community mediation centers, and restorative justice programs o provide constructive, non-adversarial processes more accessible to local community members.  Community mediation centers in Colorado felt it was important to determine how effective they are and what impacts other impacts they have in the communities in which they operate.  In 2003, the Colorado Community Mediation Coalition approached CRI faculty member Tamra Pearson d’Estree to explore possibilities for a joint effort.  The result was the birth of the Community Mediation Evaluation Project.  The project brought together CMPs to share what they currently did in evaluation and learn from each other what was needed to make their case for impact.  The project also resulted in the initial drafting of the components of a common evaluation framework.

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Partnership to Establish the Georgia Mediation Clinic

The Republic of Georgia, transitioning from communist rule to free-market democracy, recently introduced a program of political reforms, including changes in the judicial and legal system that highlight the need for improved conflict management between disputing parties. In this project, Tbilisi State University and the University of Denver are combining their conflict resolution expertise to create a training center and curricular model to support mediation practitioners in the South Caucasus region, and to develop a local mediation clinic. The clinic will provide free, confidential services for the university and the community, offering reforming business, educational, and legal sectors a viable, respected institution for non-violent resolution of disputes.

Capacity Building in Mediation in Trinidad and Tobago

Trinidad and Tobago, a plural society with divergent social, ethnic and cultural groups, seeks to develop alternative systems of justice and form of civil disputes through capacity building in mediation and related conflict resolution frameworks. This project is designed to enhance conflict analysis and resolution training programs at The University of West Indies, St. Augustine campus in Port-of-Spain, by working with the Trinidad faculty in developing their mediation curriculum to create a master’s degree, establishing a Conflict Resolution Center on the campus, and providing students and faculty at UWI and the University of Denver with greater international perspectives in understanding conflict and conflict resolution dynamics.

Trauma and Peacebuilding Conference

In February 2007, the Conflict Resolution Institute hosted our annual conference, “peacebuilding and Trauma Recovery:  Integrated Strategies in Post-War Reconstruction,” which proved to be one of our most significant achievements to date.  This conference was co-hosted by CRI, The Center for Justice and Peacebuilding at Eastern Mennonite University, and the International Disaster Psychology Program of DU’s Graduate School of Professional Psychology. 

The conference brought together peacebuilding theorists and practitioners, psychologists, cultural anthropologists, and others engaged in the work of transitional justice, post-conflict healing and peacebuilding.  The goal of the conference was to examine the important interface between peacebuilding and trauma recovery during post-war reconstruction.  This conference allowed for the presentation and sharing of the most current thinking in the fields of peacebuilding and trauma recovery.  The conference achieved international visibility and drew marked acclaim from participants.

Association for Conflict Resolution Environment and Public Policy Section Conference

Local communities, regions, states, and national governments are increasingly confronted with the causes, consequences, and conflicts of climate change. Addressing these challenges can be daunting:  it requires us to develop, articulate and facilitate broad-scale change, in the face of significant conflicts over values, interests and uncertainty. Collaborative governance approaches have already demonstrated a powerful capacity for promoting sustainability and addressing other environmental challenges. This conference, in June 2009, focused on ways to engage citizens and organizations to confront the vulnerabilities and challenges – as well as leverage the opportunities - associated with global climate change. 

 

Presenters and participants included leading practitioners of environmental conflict resolution and collaborative governance; community and business leaders; scientists; and elected officials and staff from all levels of government. Conference goals included sharing of knowledge, lessons learned, and transferable models, and exploration of innovative new strategies to further the use of consensus-building, collaboration, and conflict resolution to address climate change.  Concurrent sessions also focused on emerging best practices as they pertain to the field of environmental conflict resolution in general. The gathering was intended to serve not just as a stand-alone event, but also as the foundation and catalyst for establishing new collaborative efforts to address this global imperative. 

 

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