The Conflict Resolution Institute (CRI) celebrated its inauguration on April 2 with a Gala in the Ritchie Center Gottesfeld Room on the university campus. The sold-out event welcomed alumnae and community supporters, and hosted current MA students. The evening program began with an official champagne-toast inauguration of the Institute by former Provost, William Zaranka, who provided a very positive picture of conflict resolution faculty and student efforts in reaching this stage in our development. The after dinner program featured Bernard "Bernie" Mayer, CDR Associates, and author of Beyond Neutrality: Confronting the Crisis in Conflict Resolution. Two awards were also presented: the first annual "Best Thesis" Award presented by the
Institute for the best MA thesis (1999-2004) and a recognition award to an outstanding student from the student organization SCORE. In his remarks, Mayer challenged university-based conflict resolution programs such as the one at DU to provide the field both with new thinking about how to engage in conflict constructively and with tools to shape more reflective practice. His words inspired the faculty and others attending at a particularly critical time for the Institute as its expanded mission and capacities are put into place. CRI began as an interdisciplinary graduate degree program in Conflict Resolution, established in 1998 based on theories, methods, approaches and practical techniques of social management and problem-solving.
An increasingly popular field of study, this program draws its strength from the
entire university, rather than base itself in a single disciplinary perspective. It is one of the relatively few in the United States so organized. Participating units include the Graduate School of International Studies, Sturm College of Law, Daniels College of Business, the School of Communication, the Graduate School of Social Work, and Alternative Dispute Resolution at University College.
The program also combines a scholarly and vocational approach—theory with practice, applied to international and to domestic settings. Generous support from the Henry R. Luce Foundation, a competitive award for private U.S. universities, added a new Conflict Resolution professorship in 2002. In addition to yearly conferences, ongoing projects have been developed in Colorado Community Mediation Evaluation, Structures for Building Effective Ethnic Relations, and Conflict Resolution Capacity-Building in Trinidad & Former Provost, William Zaranka, inaugurates the new Institute.
In 2004 the increased Conflict Resolution activities were consolidated with Luce professor activities in the formalization of the Center for Research and Practice as part of the Institute establishment. The Institute and the collaborative efforts of its faculty center around three themes: the Artful Practitioner draws wisdom from the latest theory, practice and evaluation. The second theme, Ethnic Conflict Assessment captures work analyzing conflict characteristics, sources and dynamics, and recommending whether and how to intervene. The final theme, Reconstruction, Reconciliation, and Restoration, addresses the growing need for expertise in conflict resolution capacity building and restoration of community fabric. This theme brings together strengths in restorative justice, post-conflict reconstruction, conflict resolution capacitybuilding, community development and reconciliation.
Patricia Whitehouse, MA in Conflict Resolution (2001), currently Human
Resources Manager at 9News, the NBC television affiliate in Denver, accepted the Best Thesis Award and its monetary prize of $500. Her thesis, "Bullies and Victims: From the Schoolyard to the Boardroom" describes and compares bully and victim conflict styles in children and adults. She argued the bully-victim destructive conflict cycle prevalent in childhood is mirrored in some workplace conflicts, showing how and why these conflicts emerge. Her central contribution focused on strategies for individuals to develop social and emotional competencies, and conflict management skills; and on strategies to create school and workplace atmospheres where policies and procedures promote a healthy, peaceful environment.
Brian Beck, MA graduate ('10) in Conflict Resolution, received the SCORE recognition award to honor his friendship, support, openness, and honesty to fellow members, students, and the community. SCORE is an organization comprising students interested in conflict resolution from various programs at DU such as conflict resolution, international studies, and public administration as well as non–students of varying disciplines from the surrounding community. Beck helped to found the organization in 2004.