CRI has begun a three year partnership with the Department of Behavioural Sciences at the University of the West Indies (UWI), St. Augustine campus, Trinidad and Tobago, to develop conflict resolution expertise among UWI faculty and community lecturers to support implementation of a Master's degree in Conflict Resolution. This project is funded by a grant from the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.
Additionally, the grant provides for development of educational materials, culturally appropriate models of conflict resolution for the Caribbean, establishment of a Conflict Resolution Center at UWI St. Augustine Campus, a certificate program for the lay public and government workers, a multi-cultural conflict field class for Institute students and joint research by the two universities.
Five DU Institute faculty members visited Trinidad and Tobago in December 2004 to begin the faculty exchanges. Visits were made to UWI administrators and to local sites where mediation is being implemented such as police substations and the family court. Working meetings were held with UWI project faculty to plan the Masters curriculum and courses. Nine faculty members from UWI will travel to Denver this June to further develop the Masters curriculum and the shape of the UWI Conflict Resolution Center.
The need for conflict resolution expertise is rapidly developing in Trinidad and Tobago. As Trinidad and Tobago seeks developed country status, it is looking for systems that will address instability and inefficiency. There is recognized need for certified mediators in many sectors. For example, the Cabinet-appointed Task Force on Penal Reform and Transformation has recommended the widespread use of diversionary programs as alternatives to imprisonment. Such programs are heavily dependent upon mediation, and require corrections officers with certified qualifications in mediation.
Structural and administrative reform, called Vision 2020, is a plan to bring Trinidad and Tobago to developed country status by the year 2020. Enhancing the conflict resolution expertise base is a critical part of the institution strengthening and capacity building thrust. The Department of Behavioral Sciences, St. Augustine campus, UWI, has responded to this need. The new Post-Graduate Diploma in Conflict Resolution, launched September 2003, is the first step toward meeting the need for mediation training. The new Masters program and the Center will further expand Trinidadian conflict resolution capacities.