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Conflict Resolution Institute

Trauma Conference 2016

Trauma and Trust: Peacebuilding in Ruptured Social Systems: Oct. 13-15, 2016


Conference: October 13-15, 2016
Pre-Conference Workshop (optional) October 12
University of Denver


From Baltimore to Baghdad, peacebuilders and trauma professionals engage in complementary but often unintegrated work which falls short of optimal change. Practitioners knowingly or unknowingly impact multiple systems.  Might a sustainable systemic approach minimize unintended consequences of interventions and in some way facilitate success? October 13-15, 2016, The University of Denver will host a conference to consider how a systems approach to Trauma & Peacebuilding could inform the international and domestic work of practitioners from multiple fields.

Peacebuilding in contexts of group trauma invites consideration of the following central conference themes: neurobiology of trauma and relationships, social cohesion and attachment, and empathy and social perspective taking. A particular focus will be on how the systems approach allows us to cross levels and boundaries from the individual to society, taking into account the multiple stories at play in the spaces inhabited by both trauma and peacebuilding practitioners.

Additional themes will include:   Crossing Levels and Boundaries | Challenges to Systemic Approaches | Past Successes and Failures | International and Domestic Contexts | The Social Construction of Peace and Trauma Narratives | Police-Community Relations | Individual and Societal Functioning Post-Trauma | Revisiting Assumptions about Informed Field Practice 

POSTERS: Accepted on a rolling basis before Oct. 1, 2016.   Submit your abstract here.

View the Trauma & Trust 2016 Conference Preliminary Agenda Here!

Please note that this is a preliminary agenda and is subject to change. 


One-Day Pre-Conference Workshop with Bob Williams:

"Applying Systems Thinking to the Design and Evaluation of Peacebuilding and Trauma Interventions"

Peacebuilding and trauma interventions invariably occur in complex situations. In complex situations there is often so much going on, so many unknown dynamics and perspectives that designing an intervention is fraught with difficulties and uncertainties.

And then comes the issue of assessing whether it has done good or harm – and if so from whose point of view. Ideas from the systems field won't solve these problems; you can't consider everything from every point of view and every possible outcome. However, concepts and tools from the systems field can help reduce some of the uncertainties and enable more robust and flexible designs and appropriate evaluations.

The workshop will introduce some basic systems ideas and associated tools that will help peacebuilding and trauma workers to:

  • Map more clearly highly complex situations
  • Assess the key ways of understanding those situations, and the assumptions underpinning those perspectives
  • Take critical decisions on the basis of those understandings

The focus will be on the design and evaluation of interventions.  However, since design and evaluation are two key elements in any adaptive management process (design, do, assess, redesign, etc.) the tools and learnings can be applied to any aspect or stage of peacebuilding and trauma work.

The workshop will be practice-based, using examples supplied by participants within the workshop.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016
Price for Pre-Conference:

Register now!


Keynote Speakers:

Monnica Williams

      Monica Williams

David Anderson Hooker

   David Anderson Hooker

Judith Herman

       Judith Herman


Bob Williams

        Bob Williams 

Teresa Betancourt

      Teresa Betancourt


Co-hosted by the Graduate School of Professional Psychology's International Disaster Psychology Program and the Josef Korbel School of International Studies' Conflict Resolution Institute at the University of Denver, and SalusWorld



Printable PDF parking passes are available during registration at the rate of $8/day. If you choose not to purchase parking ahead of time, there is street parking and metered parking available on campus. Please consult the Parking Services website for a map and instructions for parking on campus without a permit.


During registration you may also request special accommodations regarding accessibility or dietary concerns, large print materials, or a private room for nursing. Please contact us with any updates or additional requests (at least one week prior to the event).

Public Transportation

Light Rail access to campus is available at the University of Denver station. The DU light rail station is a short walk from the heart of campus (about 8 minutes).  Please consider using light rail to attend events at DU!

University of Denver Lines: E/F/H

Station Address: 1901 E. Buchtel Blvd


Limited financial support may be available to interested students who would otherwise be unable to attend the conference. Please email with a brief statement of need by 10/1 to be considered.


Here are three special DU rates:

Fairfield Inn & Suites from $112/night 1-303-691-2223

Courtyard Marriott from $109/night 1-303-757-8797

Click here for the Marriott discounted rate link.

Hyatt Place Cherry Creek from $115/night 1-303-389-6077

The Inn at Cherry Creek from $169/night 1-303-377-8577

*When making reservations, please reference the "DU rate."

See full list of DU's lodging partners.


Explore Denver and Colorado

Local Weather Rocky Mountain National Park
Denver Travel & Visitor Bureau Nearby Hikes
Restaurants Pike's Peak by Train
Denver Zoo Denver Outdoor Adventures
Microbrew Tour Garden of the Gods
Denver Botanic Gardens Red Rocks Amphitheater
Denver Art Museum Molly Brown House Museum
Denver Museum of Contemporary Art Air & Space Museum
Denver Museum of Nature & Science Four Mile Historic Park
Buffalo Bill Museum & Grave Cherry Creek Shopping District


Register Now! 

Trauma and Trust: Peacebuilding in Ruptured Social Systems