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Conflict Resolution Institute

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CRI Hosts Educators

Trinidad Partnership

In June, the Conflict Resolution Institute hosted nine visiting faculty from the two-island nation of Trinidad & Tobago for several days of meetings, trainings, and site visits. Faculty from the University of Denver (DU) have partnered with faculty at the University of West Indies, St. Augustine Campus (UWI), in Port of Spain, Trinidad & Tobago to develop mediation curricula, programs, and a Conflict Resolution Resource Centre. This partnership project is supported by a grant from the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs of the United States Dept. of State under the authority of the Fulbright-Hays Act of 1961, as amended (see CRI Newsletter, June 2005).
The University of West Indies, St. Augustine Campus, Trinidad & Tobago (UWI),
became the first university in the Caribbean region to offer a degree in mediation. The Post-Graduate Diploma in Mediation Studies became available in 2003, and by Spring 2005, 55 graduates had completed the Diploma program. Students take 80 hours of courses, including a traditional mediation training taught by UWI instructor Tom Kalpatoo, a well-known mediator in British Columbia, Canada. Mr. Kalpatoo returns to UWI and his native Trinidad regularly to help build local capacity in
mediation. Students in his Specialized Ar eas of Mediation course do internships at
community sites, such as schools or community centers, where they develop and implement new conflict resolution programs. UWI's latest achievement is the approval of a full 40 credit Master of Science degree in Mediation Studies, to be offered beginning Fall 2006. In addition to their coursework in mediation, students add important topics such as Caribbean social issues, and the legal context for mediation in Trinidad and Tobago. In the future, University of Denver MA students will have the opportunity to take courses at UWI's campus in Trinidad.
The Denver visit provided UWI visiting faculty the opportunity to see how mediation and other conflict resolution processes are taught, and how they are integrated into local institutions such as courts, community centers, and schools. At the offices of the Colorado State Judiciary, they were received and welcomed by the Hon. Mary Mullarkey, Chief Justice of the Colorado Supreme Court, and a long-time supporter of a collaboration between the courts and mediation programs. The head of the Judiciary's Office of Dispute Resolution, Cynthia Savage, reviewed the variety of types of programs that offer mediation and other conflict resolution processes in Colorado and other US states.
Site visits to the Jefferson County Government Building and JeffCo Mediation Services, Boulder City & County's Children, Youth, and Family Mediation Program, Boulder Community Mediation Center, and the private mediation training firm Institute for Advanced Dispute Resolution (IADR) showed the varying ways mediation programs can be developed and implemented, as well as offering a chance to see different parts of the Denver-Boulder region. A longer trek to the Keystone Center, allowed visitors to learn from host Peter Adler about conflict resolution's important use in US and international regional policy disputes and resource planning, as well as experience our beautiful Rocky Mountains.
The UWI and DU teams also received training from local experts in center management, pedagogy strategies, and elicitive approaches for crafting culturally appropriate mediation processes. The latter workshop, hosted by renowned author and practitioner John Paul Lederach, provided support for UWI's important task of developing a mediation model, practices, and training that are appropriate for the Caribbean context. UWI and DU have begun joint research on this important topic. DU campus events included an orientation with Vice Provost Ved Nanda at DU's International House and a visit to DU Law School's Mediation Clinic hosted by CRI Core Faculty member and Law School Prof. Jeffrey Hartje. DU and UWI faculty members continued the planning of UWI's new Masters curriculum, as well as the proposed Conflict Resolution Resource Centre. CRI graduate students, coordinated by Carole Fotino, provided a vital hosting function for the nine-day visit. This included arranging meeting logistics, providing transportation, and joining in on the site visits and meals with the Trinidad visitors.
- TP d'Estrée