Join National Conversation on Civility Live Stream Tonight

In case you missed it, you are invited to join the livestream for a National Conversation on Civility tonight from 7-9 pm Eastern, hosted by NCDD member org National Institute for Civil Discourse and the American Psychological Association. The conversation moderated by Scott Simon of NPR, will feature a panel with Dr. Johnathan Haidt, Sally Kohn, Dr. Arthur Evans, and Dr. Carolyn Lukensmeyer, as they explore the importance of civility in our society and how to repair it moving forward. They will be answering questions via the live stream and for folks in the DC area you can attend the event in person, see the details below.


Revive Civility: Our Democracy Depends on It

From the Brett M. Kavanaugh Supreme Court nomination hearing to people burning their Nike products, as the country approaches the 2018 midterm elections, our national rhetoric is more polarized than ever. Rudeness, name-calling, bullying and insults have become so commonplace that many Americans have tuned out. Can these behaviors be curbed, and can we learn to disagree civilly? To address these and other questions, the American Psychological Association and the National Institute for Civil Discourse have partnered to present “A National Conversation on Civility.”

Please join us for a National Conversation on Civility via live stream on September 26th from 7-9 PM (Eastern) on Civility and our Democracy in the run up to the 2018 elections with Scott Simon, (NPR) moderating a panel that includes authors Jonathan Haidt and Sally Kohn Dr. Arthur C. Evans and Dr. Carolyn Lukensmeyer .  We’ll be exploring the importance of civility, why it has broken down — and why it’s necessary for solving the major challenges confronting our nation.

You can participate in this event via live stream from your home, coffee house, place of worship, library or community center.  Gather with family, friends, members of your community organization to watch together.  There will be opportunities for you to share questions for the panel via YouTube and to engage with those gathered around you.

REGISTER HERE

For those in the DC area who can join in person:
Jack Morton Auditorium George Washington University 805 21st St., N.W. Washington, DC 20052

Doors open at 6:30. Panel discussion with audience participation from 7-9 p.m., followed by a reception from 9-10 p.m. Haidt and Kohn will be signing copies of their books. Tickets are available for purchase at www.gwutickets.com $18 for the panel discussion only, $28 for the discussion and reception

Together let’s continue to explore how we can build civility and respect into our lives and public discourse.

This information was drawn from Cheryl Graeve, National Community Organizer with the National Institute for Civil Discourse and from a blog post on NICD’s site from the American Psychological Association at www.nicd.arizona.edu/news/cant-we-all-just-get-along-national-conversation-civility-features-psychologists-media.

Dispute Resolution Grant Opportunity, Applications Due 10/5

Our theme for NCDD2018 is about how to bring the D&D field into more widespread practice and a big part of that is funding, so folks can continue doing this work. Which is why we’re thrilled to find this grant opportunity to forward to the NCDD network from the American Arbitration Association-International Centre for Dispute Resolution Foundation. Applications are due Friday, October 5th, and there is an informative call for prospective applicants on Tuesday, September 18th. Several NCDD organizations have been awarded in the past, like Essential Partners, Consensus Building Institute, The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law’s Divided Community Project – and we hope another NCDDer will be granted this year! You can read about it in the post below and find more information on AAA-ICDR Foundation’s site here.


Grant Opportunity –  American Arbitration Association-International Centre for Dispute Resolution Foundation

The AAA-ICDR Foundation is now accepting Initial Descriptions of Grant Requests for its fourth funding cycle. In its review the Foundation will be focusing on innovative and replicable proposals that provide:

  • ADR for vulnerable and underserved populations
  • ADR for community-focused dispute resolution.

The Foundation remains committed to funding high-quality innovative programs in furtherance of its broader mission dedicated to mediation/other non-binding ADR process and arbitration/other binding ADR processes, and beyond.

Interested organizations or individuals should submit an Initial Description of Grant Request no later than October 5, 2018. The Foundation is launching an online application this year. Only applicants submitted via the online system will be considered, please do not email a PDF of the application. See Additional Information below for links to training/instructions for using the new online system.

To Apply: Please click here to register and submit your Initial Description of Grant Request starting September 10, 2018.

The Foundation will be hosting a brief Q&A call on September 18th from 2:00 – 2:30 pm ET regarding the initial description process to answer any questions from potential grantees.

Call-in details are:
Toll-Free Number: 1-888-537-7715
International Number: 1-334-323-9858
Participant Passcode: 15083676 #

Additional Information: 

What We’ve Funded

Grants Awarded in 2018
The AAA-ICDR Foundation funded nineteen grants in its third funding cycle. The Foundation received over ninety Initial Descriptions of Grant Requests. The Foundation, after a careful review of all of the submissions and the presentation of full grant proposals, approved the following nineteen grants totaling over $500,000 in funding:

ABA Fund for Justice and Education: $10,000 to fund ABA’s annual Law Student Division Arbitration Competition.

Arizona State University Foundation: $59,789 to fund empirical study with goal of providing guidance about what needs to be accomplished during opening stages of mediation.

Association for Conflict Resolution Elder Justice Initiative on Eldercaring Coordination: $32,136 to fund training and expansion of elder caring coordination, a form of conflict resolution.

Association for the Organization and Promotion of the Vienna Mediation and Negotiation Competition: $5,000 to fund the Consensual Dispute Resolution Competition Vienna, which is an educational event in the field of international negotiation and mediation.

Community Mediation Services: $15,181 to fund facilitated dialogues by experienced Restorative Practitioner between youth, community and law enforcement in New Orleans Police Department 1st District.

Conflict Resolution Center of Baltimore County: $40,000 to fund training and direct ADR services in substance abuse centers in Baltimore County, MD.

Consensus Building Institute: $74,950 to fund pilot program in Piermont, NY to train local residents who will spearhead collaborative neighborhood dialogues on resilience planning against rising sea levels and increased flood risks.

CUNY Dispute Resolution Center at John Jay College: $30,000 to fund online access to conflict resolution resources for families worldwide dealing with mental illness.

Environmental Advocates of New York: $10,000 to fund Advocacy Crisis Training for environmental justice communities.

Essential Partners: $24,854 to fund trainings for teaching at-risk youth to lead and participate in more constructive dialogues about conflict and difference.

Harvard Negotiation and Mediation Clinical Program: $24,921 to fund podcast series intended to help support teaching around dialogue on challenging topics including racial, ethnic and religious conflict.

Institute for Communication and Management of Conflicts – D.U.C.K.S:  $12,000 to fund teach the Prison of Peace (PoP) Peacemaker, Mediator and Train the Trainer Workshops in 2 men’s prisons in Greece.

International Mediation Institute: $25,000 to fund The Global Pound Conference North America Report.

Kennesaw State University, School of Conflict Management, Peacebuilding and Development:  $25,000  to fund creating working model in Athens, Greece to promote dialogue and reduce violence from racial, ethnic, and religious conflict.

King County Office of Alternative Dispute Resolution:  $29,850 to fund the Theatre of Mediation where mediators, actors and students present role-play mediations based on real cases involving themes of racial conflict to schools, community groups and in public forums.

Quabbin Mediation:  $20,000 to fund expansion of Training Active Bystanders (TAB) model throughout New England to diverse groups.

The Coalition on Racial and Ethnic Justice: $50,000 to fund convening of Dispute Resolution Hackathon events with community stakeholders for equitable, unbiased and humane enforcement of the law.

The Mediation Center: $20,500 to fund creation of standardized online mediation and community dialogue training modules that can be accessed without cost across the state of Tennessee.

The Ohio State University Foundation: $40,000 to fund development and conducting national “academy” targeted to strengthening local leadership capacity to use and collaborate with community mediation experts to plan for and address civil unrest.

Grants Awarded in 2017

The AAA-ICDR Foundation funded 11 grants in its second funding cycle. The Foundation received 92 Initial Descriptions of Grant Requests. Led by its Grants Committee, the Foundation, after a careful review of all of the submissions and the presentation of full grant proposals, approved the following 11 grants totaling approximately $410,000 in funding:

New York State Unified Court System Online Dispute Resolution Platform: $125,000 to fund multi-year pilot for court online dispute resolution (ODR) for small claims cases. 

Online Pro Bono Legal Advice: $25,000 to provide low-income citizens access to brief legal advice via an online interactive website, utilizing pro bono attorneys. ABA Fund for Justice and Education: ABA Free Legal Answers.

Conflict De-Escalation Training for Police Officers in Baltimore Schools: $25,040 to fund training for Baltimore City School Police and other school staff. University of Maryland Training in Conflict De-Escalation and Management. 

Training for Mediating Parties with Mental Health Issues: $24,998 to fund scalable mediation training for certified peer specialists to serve an underserved population of peers living with mental health issues. Research Foundation of CUNY on behalf of John Jay
College: The Dispute Resolution in Mental Health Initiative.

Columbia Law School Research of Twilight Issues in International Arbitration: $25,000 to fund analysis and development of best practices for twilight issues that are not clearly substantive or procedural with global presentations and publication.

Addressing Unconscious Bias in International Arbitration: $25,000 to fund educational series and mentorship to promote equality, diversity, access to justice, and leadership opportunities. ArbitralWomen Unconscious Bias Toolkit.

Cultivating Dialogue Between Dominant and Non-Dominant Communities in Minnesota: $45,000 to continue funding a transformative project to produce qualitative change in the type of engagement currently taking place between dominant and nondominant communities in Minnesota. Minnesota State Office for Collaboration and Dispute Resolution and Dispute Resolution Institute at Mitchell Hamline School of Law 2017 Talk with Purpose: Using Dispute Resolution to Engage Communities and Foster Relationships for Constructive Change. 

Best Uses of ADR to Respond to and Plan for Community Divides: $40,000 to fund a study that describes local ADR responses and planning initiatives to address controversies that divide communities and development of a Community Preparation Assessment Test tool for community use. Ohio State University Foundation on behalf of The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law’s Divided Community Project.  

The Curators of The University of Missouri: Reasoning in International Commercial Arbitration: Comparisons Across the Common Law-Civil Law Divide, the Domestic-International Divide, and the Judicial – Arbitral Divide:  $25,396 to fund research on arbitral reasoning in arbitral awards. 

Promoting Peace and Tolerance Through Leadership and ADR Training for Women in Belarus, Russia, and Ukraine: $25,000 to support training scholarships for female community leaders from Belarus, Russia, and Ukraine for advanced mediation and leadership training, focused on promoting peace and interfaith/interethnic tolerance. Project Kesher: Training for Women in Belarus, Russia, and Ukraine.

Promoting Peace Through Leadership and ADR Training for Women in Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Panama, Peru, and Venezuela: $25,500 for training scholarships to enable women community leaders to complete four days of advanced mediation and community leadership training. Mediators Beyond Borders International—Women in Peacebuilding.

Grants Awarded in 2016

In May 2016, the AAA-ICDR Foundation completed its inaugural funding cycle. The Foundation sent out a press release in October 2015 announcing its inaugural round of grant solicitations. In response, the Foundation received 75 Initial Descriptions of Grant Requests. After a careful review of all of the submissions and the presentation of full grant proposals,the Foundation, led by its Grants Committee, approved the following six grants totaling approximately $175,000 in funding:   

Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution, Pepperdine University School of Law—Straus Institute Annual Global Summit on Conflict Management, September 2016: $15,000 to supplement the investment of the Straus Institute in supporting the convening of working groups and planners in advance of a summit that will bring together individuals and organizations from all over the world to discuss common issues and concerns associated with complex dispute resolution processes. 

Prison Inmate Mediation Training: $75,000 to fund a 40-hour mediation workshop for 30-50 inmates. The workshop will be conducted in one cohort to be completed in 7-10 weeks, creating a new cadre of desperately needed inmate mediators at Valley State Prison and to fund train the trainer program at Valley State Prison, aimed at training new mediators as well as developing a cadre of inmate mediation trainers. Prison of Peace 2016 Valley State Prison Mediation Training Program. 

Cultivating Dialogue Between Dominant and Non-Dominant Communities in Minnesota: $24,998 for OCDR/DRI to conduct a transformative project to produce qualitative change in the type of engagement currently taking place between dominant and non-dominant communities in Minnesota. Minnesota State Office for Collaboration and Dispute Resolution Institute at Mitchell Hamline School of Law 2016 Talk with Purpose: Using Dispute Resolution to Engage Communities and Foster Relationships for Constructive Change.

Promoting Peace Through Leadership and ADR Training for Women in Cambodia, Indonesia, Nepal, the Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand: $25,500 for training scholarships required to enable women community leaders from Cambodia, Indonesia, Nepal, the Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand to complete four days of advanced mediation and community leadership training in Djakarta, Indonesia. Mediators Beyond Borders International—Women Peacebuilding: Enhancing Skills and Practice Training.  

Consensus Building Institute – Innovative ADR in Groundwater Sustainability to Manage California Drought: $25,000 for CBI to highlight and promote the use and the central role of ADR in connection with the implementation of California’s Sustainable Groundwater Management Act. The creation of a multi-media report (including mini case studies, video segments, and blogs) that highlights the state’s impressive use of innovative dispute resolution and collaboration to address conflict and create new government structures will help CBI ensure the sustainability of local groundwater basins. This grant proposal is an opportunity to analyze and highlight the unique role that ADR is playing in this public policy issue that truly goes to the heart of water conflict in California. 

American Bar Association Young Lawyers Division – Annual Law Student Arbitration Competition: $10,000 to defray operating expenses, making the event more attractive and affordable for law schools participating in the next competition for the 2016-2017 school year, as law schools have increasingly reduced discretionary funds available. The competition format introduces students to arbitration and allows students to learn and practice skills relating to arbitration advocacy, such as crafting opening and closing statements, introducing evidence, creating demonstrative evidence, preparing witnesses, and developing case themes. This will be the 13 year of the competition.

About the Foundation
American Arbitration Association-International Centre for Dispute Resolution Foundation® (AAA-ICDR Foundation®) was established in 2015 with the purpose to fund critical projects, domestically and internationally. This effort fills important needs in the ADR community by expanding the use of alternative dispute resolution (ADR), improving the process, increasing access to ADR for those who cannot afford it, and sharing knowledge across different cultures.

The Foundation is a separate 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization from the AAA and is able to solicit donations and provide grants to fund a range of worthy causes that promote the Foundation’s wide-reaching mission.

The Foundation is not involved in any way in the oversight, administration or decision making of the AAA-ICDR cases or in the maintenance of the AAA-ICDR’s various rosters of arbitrators and mediators.

You can read the original version of this announcement of AAA-ICDR Foundation site at www.aaaicdrfoundation.org/grants.

Essential Partners Fall Workshops & NCDD Member Disc

If you are looking to strengthen your dialogue skills, make sure you check out the workshops this coming fall from Essential Partners, an NCDD member and a sponsor of NCDD2018. They will be offering: Introduction to Dialogue Across Differences, The Power of Dialogue: Constructive Conversations on Divisive Issues, and The Power of Stories: Moving Beyond “Them” and “Us”. Learn more about the discount available to NCDD members! You can more information about these workshops on Essential Partners’ site here.


Our Workshops

Introduction to Dialogue Across Differences
September 20, 2018

This one-day workshop uses real-world case studies to introduce participants to the theory and practice of EP’s Reflective Structured Dialogue framework. For three decades, our unique approach has transformed conflicts across the country and the world—but the basic principles of EP’s framework are applicable to local community issues, organizational development, congregations, and everyday conversations.

Intentional communication helps individuals, organizations, and communities build trust, enhance resilience, and engage in constructive conversations despite deeply-held differences of value, belief, opinion, or identity. This workshop provides a set of simple tools to achieve those goals.

Learn more and register: www.whatisessential.org/workshop/introduction-dialogue-across-differences

The Power of Dialogue: Constructive Conversations on Divisive Issues**
October 11 – 13, 2018

The Power of Dialogue is our flagship workshop. This is a comprehensive “deep dive” into our time-tested approach for transforming conflicted conversations about divisive issues. It begins with the theory of our framework and solidifies that with immersive experiential learning. Even within the most contentious issues or fraught situations, the right tools enable a community to foster understanding, restore relationships, and move forward.

The Power of Dialogue is a highly interactive workshop that offers a widely applicable skill set for those with a range of experience levels. As a facilitator, you will learn how to create conversations that foster mutual understanding between groups and individuals divided by deep differences. Hundreds of facilitators, peacebuilders, mediators, and other community leaders from the US and 18 other countries have taken this workshop since its inception in 1996 and are implementing its lessons worldwide. **Discount available for NCDD members

Learn more and register: www.whatisessential.org/workshop/power-dialogue-constructive-conversations-divisive-issues

The Power of Stories: Moving Beyond “Them” and “Us”
November 8, 2018

What are the stories we hold most dear about ourselves? What stories do we tell about others, and how do those stories take shape? Research indicates that we make sense of the world through stories. But stories – particularly the ones we tell about other people – can sometimes deepen the rifts that come between us, creating a feared other; a caricatured “Them”.

This workshop offers tools and structures for harnessing the power of stories to move beyond stereotypes and fear, bringing “Us” and “Them” into relationship through understanding.

Learn more and register: www.whatisessential.org/workshop/power-stories-moving-beyond-them-and-us

You can find more information about these workshops and future ones at Essential Partners’ site at www.whatisessential.org/workshops.

Upcoming Webinar on DCP’s Academy Training Initiative

We are excited to share an upcoming academy training initiative, Strengthening Democratic Engagement to Address Local Civil Unrest and Community Division, hosted by the American Bar Association’s Section of Dispute Resolution and the Divided Community Project (DCP) at the Ohio State University Moritz College of Law – an NCDD member. This is a free opportunity to attend the Academy and learn strategies around addressing divisions and civil unrest in your community. Sign up for the informational webinar on Tuesday, August 14th to learn more! You can read the announcement below and find the original on the DCP site here.


DCP Launches Academy Training Initiative – Strengthening Democratic Engagement to Address Local Civil Unrest and Community Division

Complete your community’s application today!

Academy Details
In Chicago, on March 3, 4, and 5, 2019, the Divided Community Project (DCP) at the Ohio State University Moritz College of Law, in partnership with the American Bar Association’s Section of Dispute Resolution (Collectively the Hosts) host a national Academy, We, the People: Strengthening Democratic Engagement to Address Civil Unrest for Community Leaders.  The program’s goals are three-fold:

  1. Strengthen conflict resolution-related planning, capacity building, and the specific skill-sets of each participant and participating communities to better identify and  implement constructive strategies to prepare for, address, and/or respond to local policies, practices, and/or actions of residents or local officials, that undermine community trust and may divide and polarize communities.
  2. Support and strengthen the development of a local ‘core’ leadership convener group that can serve as a reliable source of independent information, and cross-sector collaborative planning and engagement, for its community’s public sector leadership.
  3. Provide planning opportunities for each leadership team to build on  Academy programming through further initiatives within each respective, participating community.

DCP Steering Committee members will facilitate the Academy with support from the American Bar Association Section of Dispute Resolution.  Collectively, Academy leaders bring significant experience in serving as mediators, interveners, and process designers, in conflicts of national significance and are recognized not only as nationally pre-eminent trainers of mediators and facilitators but also  as authors of leading books, articles, and pedagogical materials examining effective third-party intervention principles and strategies in divisive community conflicts.

The Academy program will include conversation with civic leaders versed in the challenges of addressing community division and facing potential or imminent civil unrest.  Using the Divided Community Project’s tools as a guide—including strategies used in other DCP communities—participants will develop constructive and collaborative strategies to prepare for, address, or respond to resident or official actions that polarize community members. Core leaders from each community attending the Academy will develop strategies so that the group can serve as a reliable source of independent planning and engagement to its community’s public political leadership.

Application Timeline*

August 14, 2018 at 12:30 Eastern: Participate on a forty-five minute informational webinar.  The webinar will be available as a recording if prospective applicants cannot attend.  Sign up for the webinar using this link.

DEADLINE: September 7, 2018: Submit this preliminary application.

September 15 to November 1, 2018: Work with the Hosts to further illustrate commitment to the project.

November 15, 2018: Academy participants announced.

* depending on the number of applications received, the Hosts may extend one or more of the above-referenced dates or deadlines.

Application Criteria
The Hosts intend to communities based on three criteria: diversity, commitment, and need.

Diversity
Diversity is fundamental to the program.  The hosts anticipate selecting participant communities that collectively reflect diversity of geography, size, and community demographics.  The hosts urge core leadership groups to consider how they reflect the diversity of their own community.

Commitment
Applicants should identify the four to seven core leaders who are committed to attending the national academy on March 3, 4, and 5.

Applicants should tentatively articulate how the core leadership group will begin convening broad-based community planning efforts to identify and address issues that polarize the community and whether and how the core leadership group has (or will) meet prior to the Academy.

Applicants should commit to working with the Divided Community Project—following the Academy—to implement initiatives aimed at addressing community polarization.

Need
Applicants should articulate their perception of issues polarizing their home community as well as their perception of the next issues that may be facing their home community.

Informational Webinar August 14, 2018 at 12:30 Eastern:

  • To join from a PC, Mac, iPad, iPhone or Android device please click this URL: https://zoom.us/j/949768906
  • To join by phone:
    • Dial(for higher quality, dial a number based on your current location): US: +1 669 900 6833  or +1 929 436 2866
    • Webinar ID: 949 768 906

Commonly Asked Questions
What is the cost? Due to generous support from the AAA-ICDR Foundation, the Academy is free for core community leaders.  The Hosts will provide coach airfare, lodging, and meals for Academy participants.

You can read the original announcement on the DCP’s site at https://moritzlaw.osu.edu/dividedcommunityproject/2018/07/16/dcp-launches-community-training-initiative/.

Utilizing Dialogue to Navigate Agricultural Tensions

Modern agriculture has brought some incredible technological advances to the way that crops can be grown, the usage of which can bring some serious tensions within a community; and using dialogic processes can help navigate these tensions. In Conway County, Arkansas, the use of the herbicide, Dicamba, was causing intense and tragic conflict between neighbors; and NCDD sponsoring org, Essential Partners, shares how utilizing reflective structured dialogue created an opportunity for folks in the community to listen to each other and work toward addressing the conflicts. You can read the article below and find the original on EP’s site here.


Small Communities, Big Divisions: Fostering Dialogue in Rural Arkansas with the Winthrop Rockefeller Institute

Late last summer, the Winthrop Rockefeller Institute (WRI) in Conway County, Arkansas, hired Essential Partners to offer two days of facilitation training to their program officers. The following week, the Arkansas Agriculture Secretary reached out to WRI to facilitate meetings of a task force on the use of the herbicide Dicamba.

Dicamba is one of the most effective herbicides for taming the spread of pigweed, an invasive plant threatening crops throughout the region.

Unfortunately, Dicamba also kills soybean crops whose seeds are not pre-treated for resistance to the herbicide. When Dicamba is used on one field, the herbicide can drift over neighboring fields and destroy another farmer’s crop.

Conflicts over herbicide drift have pitted neighbor against neighbor in a region where farmers are already struggling to survive. In October 2016, a dispute over Dicamba use resulted in the shooting death of a soybean farmer near the Missouri border.

The Arkansas Agriculture Secretary wanted an effective path through the heated, and now tragically violent debate.

With coaching from Essential Partners Senior Associate Bob Stains, and the skills they developed during their EP training, the Winthrop Rockefeller Institute staff initiated a series of dialogues about the use of Dicamba. Farmers, seed dealers, product manufacturers, and crop consultants came together to share emotionally wrenching stories, building trust and understanding.

“In the work around Dicamba,” said WRI’s Chief Programs and Marketing Officer, Janet Harris, “the dialogue had to come first and inform the decision-making process, because even in this very small and homogeneous population, folks had become deeply divided. Those differences were born from very strongly held moral values and beliefs on both sides.”

Harris explained that reflective structured dialogue allowed the participants to hear the “why” behind the “what.”

“Most importantly,” she said, “even though they weren’t unanimous in their final recommendation, they could look across the table at someone who disagreed and still empathize with that person’s story.”

WRI helped the group arrive at a policy recommendation, which was adopted by the state agency. And despite significant legal challenges as well as dissenting views, the members of the WRI dialogue group remain firm in their recommendation almost a year later.

“What I think we did with Dicamba,” Harris noted, “was less about the regulation of an herbicide than it was about the preservation of human relationships. They understood and appreciated one another and rediscovered their common ground.”

Since then, the Winthrop Rockefeller Institute has integrated reflective structured dialogue into many more projects.

“The learning we received from Essential Partners has helped us open up space for people to have difficult conversations in a different way. The more we do this, the more we realize that dialogue has to be a part of all our work.”

Most recently, WRI has employed EP’s dialogue techniques in a community development program, Uncommon Communities. They hope to encourage leaders in Arkansas’ rural communities to become catalysts for positive change and economic growth.

Even in small rural communities, Harris observed, there are rivalries and real differences of belief. And that’s where EP’s dialogue practices help.

“It’s not just a matter of civility,” she said. “It’s about our ability to foster mutual understanding across deep differences.”

You can find the original version of this article on Essential Partner’s site at www.whatisessential.org/blog/small-communities-big-divisions-fostering-dialogue-rural-arkansas-winthrop-rockefeller.

Free Issue Guide for Addressing Controversial Memorials

For the last few years, many communities have struggled with what to do with the controversial Confederate monuments and memorials that still stand in public areas in cities around the country. NCDD member org, the National Issues Forums Institute (NIFI) shared on their blog a post about how the city of Jacksonville, Florida, is trying to figure out what to do with these statues by engaging people in the community. Veteran NIFI organizer, Gregg Kaufman developed a 15-page issue guide for the city, to help facilitate community conversations around what to do – you can download the free guide here. Read more about the effort around addressing these controversial memorials and the issue guide below, as well as, you can find the original post on NIFI’s site here.


In Jacksonville, Florida, Public Deliberations Help Inform Plans to Deal with Monuments and Memorials

Last month, veteran National Issues Forums (NIF) convener and moderator, Gregg Kaufman reported on a 16-forum public engagement project in the Jacksonville, Florida area, during February and March, 2018. The project was intended to help people in the community talk about Jacksonville’s history, and to deliberate about the best way to deal with controversial statues and monuments in the area.

In the forums, participants used an issue discussion guide that was authored by Kaufman and sponsored by the Jesse Ball duPont Fund  . The 15-page issue guide, titled How Should We Convey the History of Jacksonville? Monuments, Parks, and People, is available as a free download.

Kaufman has recently followed up with information about the genesis of the forums project, and subsequent, issue-related media coverage, announcements, and activities on the part of public officials.

Kaufman wrote:

In the autumn of 2017, Anna Brosche, City Council President called for public discourse and enlisted the help of the Jessie Ball DuPont Fund. Along with Leadership Jacksonville and other organizations, we hosted 16 forums in February and March 2018 with over 200 participants.

A June 20, 2018 local news report included:

“The city council president, who will conclude her leadership of the council at the end of this month, initially took a strong stand for ‘respectfully removing’ and ‘relocating’ the city’s Confederate memorials to places like museums. She has since come to the conclusion that just isn’t feasible in Jacksonville.”

And the same report quotes Brosche:

“There’s a desire to make our parks more welcoming to everyone in the city. At the same time, movement or relocation doesn’t seem to be an option that the entire community supports,” she said.”

When invited to comment about whether, or in what ways getting feedback from public deliberation on this community issue was helpful to her work as a public official, City Council President Broshe responded: It is an honor and privilege to have been elected by the people to serve the people. Public deliberation and public discourse are important contributors to our policy-making responsibilities. I appreciate Gregg Kaufman’s work to help us gain understanding from the citizens we serve on a very important issue for the Jacksonville community, and for the support of the Jessie Ball duPont Fund and Leadership Jacksonville in working to meaningfully engage citizens in the work. Public engagement could serve to improve public trust in government and produce ideas and solutions for elected officials and we could stand to be more effective in educating and engaging the public in our work.

It is also important to note that my position of requesting an inventory for the purpose of respectfully relocating the confederate monument from our public park in the center of our city was informed by public input during meetings, comments in our local papers, as well as the report (from the 16-forum series). This process of public dialogue also yielded conversations and efforts that produced my proposal to erect a memorial to victims of terror lynchings based on the work of the National Memorial for Peace and Justice that opened in April 2018 in Montgomery, Alabama

You can find the full version of this article on NIFI’s site at www.nifi.org/en/jacksonville-florida-public-deliberations-help-inform-plans-deal-monuments-and-memorials.

NCDD Member Creates Racial Dialogues White Ally Toolkit

We are thrilled to share this excellent write-up by the Richmond-Times Dispatch on long-time NCDD member David Campt and his most recent racial dialogue work. Campt travels across the U.S. holding racial dialogue trainings using his White Ally Toolkit Workbook, which offers strategies for engaging in these conversations (learn more about the toolkit and purchase here). He speaks on the importance of white people having these conversations with fellow white people and emphasizes the need to communicate in a way that doesn’t attack but instead genuinely seeks to engage with each other. We encourage you to read the full article below or find the original version on the Richmond-Times Dispatch site here.


Williams: Racial dialogue is his specialty. His book details how white people should talk to each other about racism.

This post was shared with the permission of the Richmond Times-Dispatch.

Written by Michael Paul Williams

Coming of age in a polarized Detroit as black and white communities disengaged, David Campt became engrossed in the nature of conversation.

His hometown’s 1970s power struggle fueled his interest in terms of engagement as the outspoken Coleman Young, Detroit’s first black mayor, presided over a riot-torn city experiencing massive white flight to the suburbs. But his curiosity was also nurtured by a white teacher named Nathan Fine, who taught his students that people are far more alike than different.

“What he was trying to do is to get us to not replicate the kind of conflicts that we were watching on the news as fourth-graders,” Campt recalled. “The city’s in a certain amount of turmoil. And he’s trying to have a different kind of message, trying to get us to see the common humanity.”

Helping people find common humanity through dialogue would become a vocation for Campt, 56, a civic engagement specialist affiliated with the Richmond-based nonprofit Hope in the Cities. He put his tools to work last week moderating a meeting of Mayor Levar Stoney’s Monument Avenue Commission.

Issues don’t get much more contentious than the question of what to do with our Confederate statues.

“I have always thought about the monuments the same way I think about reparations, which is, what’s really important is the conversation about it,” Campt said during an interview Friday. “Where that lands has some significance, but what’s really important is how do institutions put the public in the position to engage each other. That’s what’s really important in these kind of big, divisive things.

“People are very focused on, ‘What’s the outcome?’ But my focus is, ‘What is the process? … What’s the engagement that you’re trying to foster?”

The tranquil commission meeting last week bore no resemblance to the verbal Molotov cocktails hurled about during a town hall-style meeting of the panel last August at the Virginia Historical Society, now called the Virginia Museum of History & Culture.

“He did a superb job helping focus the meeting while providing ample opportunities for those attending to engage in a variety of ways,” said Christy Coleman, the commission’s co-chair and CEO of the American Civil War Museum.

On Thursday, Campt — a faculty member with Hope in the Cities’ Community Trustbuilding Fellowship — will read from his new book, ”The White Ally Toolkit Workbook: Using Active Listening, Empathy, and Personal Storytelling to Promote Racial Equity,” at the Downtown YMCA.

Campt, a gregarious and towering presence at 6 feet 5 inches tall, promises that the event will be interactive and entertaining with a minimum of white guilt.

“A lot of people who do this kind of race work, they think that it is important that white people feel bad about themselves and bad about the history. I’m not sure that that’s the best strategy for having people learn.”

The toolkit seeks to dismantle the notion that “racial dialogue” in America involves a conversation between white people and people of color. It argues that some progress on race relations is best achieved when white people talk to one another.

This is imperative for several reasons. Campt cites 2017 public opinion polls in which 55 percent of white respondents said they face discrimination.

If we’re going to advance the conversation, “part of our arsenal has to be white folks talking to each other about race when there are no people of color in the room.”

There’s another reason whites must more effectively engage race matters: People of color have grown increasingly weary of the task.

Campt’s book states that it would be “neither fair nor feasible” for people of color to carry the burden of these conversations. Their ranks are too few and they “are increasingly fatigued by educating white people; they are already dealing with the additional burden of actually coping with racism.”

He said Friday that white allies of people of color have several built-in advantages in talking to fellow whites about race: racially biased whites might be more receptive and can’t legitimately accuse the “allies” of arguing their point out of self-interest.

But all of this will require a sharpening of their engagement tools.

“Part of what has happened is that allies have come to think that the way to talk to skeptics is to berate them, to call them names, to inundate them with facts — to basically use strategies that are not effective, that we know from science are not effective,” he said.

These inappropriate tactics have helped fuel a backlash. “We have given our allies bad advice about how to engage people.”

Campt said we must learn to talk across our divisions. As residents of the former capital of the Confederacy should know all too well, “different groups have had very different histories and senses of the history. And part of what the monuments represent is contention over what’s going to be our collective history.

“Well, our histories are very divergent,” Campt said. “Every group thinks its version of history is the right version. If we’re going to create a democracy that works, then what’s important is we try to come up with a collective history.”

The history that landed Campt in his role as a dialogue leader was circuitous.

He studied computer science on a scholarship at Princeton, but hated it. At age 20, with a degree at hand, he edited a magazine in New York and grappled with racism in all its contradictions.

“I’m afraid on the subway and people are afraid of me,” he recalled.

He moved to the West Coast to attend graduate school at the University of California, Berkeley. During his second year, he began working as a dialogue facilitator.

“I think I was a natural at that because of my obsession with how people talk to each other,” he said.

After earning a Ph.D. in city planning, he was chosen for the staff of President Bill Clinton’s Initiative on Race.

“It was a fantastic opportunity and a horrible experience,” Campt recalled.

Whatever ambitions Clinton had about racially progressive public policy weren’t shared by some of his staff members, who were more intent on campaign-style messaging than on fostering engagement, Campt said.

Then the Monica Lewinsky scandal exploded in 1998, with the race initiative as collateral damage.

“The extent to which he had any moral authority was diminished,” Campt said.

It’s difficult to imagine, but 20 years later, we’re even more divided. On many fronts, we have lost the capacity to engage each other.

If his book’s tools can encourage productive dialogue on race, “the toughest issue in American engagement, maybe we can talk to each other across ideological lines on other issues,” Campt said.

Our current breach is not only corrosive to democracy, it’s also eroding families.

“People don’t want to go home for Thanksgiving because they don’t want to be with their relatives, or they don’t want to have those encounters. That’s ridiculous.”

Too often, when white individuals hear something racist from a family member or friend, they stare at their shoes. That’s an understandable response, Campt says.

“You don’t want to damage that relationship. So you’re stuck in a quandary. You don’t know what to do. You don’t want to attack the person so you don’t do anything.”

He’s seeking to empower people to respond with practical conversation strategies.

“This is about a third choice,” he said. “Don’t attack. Don’t avoid. Engage. This is about how you engage.”

– Michael Paul Williams, mwilliams@timesdispatch.com, published May 14, 2018

This post was shared with the permission of the Richmond Times-Dispatch. You can find the original version of this article on the Richmond Times-Dispatch site at www.richmond.com/news/plus/williams-racial-dialogue-is-his-specialty-his-book-details-how/article_7d086bdd-4b7f-5c7d-9947-8f66af2bf287.html.

NCDDer Gives Transforming Communication Tedx Talk

We are thrilled to share that Katie Hyten of NCDD member org, Essential Partners, recently gave a Tedx Talk on Designing Communication: Moving Beyond Habit. It is always so exciting to see the work of the NCDD network and have important communication skills being shared like the ones she recommended!

The talk was given at TedxTufts just a few weeks back, in which, Katie talked about the need to transform the way that we communicate at every level. She shared how defensiveness and survival mechanisms can kick in during challenging conversations, even those with whom we have close personal relationships. She offered several tactics in order to listen better, be more intentional, and ultimately more effective when communicating with each other. Like she highlighted in her talk, when we transform the way we communicate, we transform our relationships.

Great work on this TedTalk, Katie! We encourage you to watch the video below.

Register for the 2018 Summer Peacebuilding Institute

In case you missed it, the Summer Peacebuilding Institute (SPI) is happening now! This phenomenal program offered by NCDD member org, the Center for Justice and Peacebuilding at Eastern Mennonite University is an opportunity to learn from leaders in the D&D field about conflict transformation and restorative justice. Courses can be taken to improve your skills or for academic credit (and they now offer an M.A. in Restorative Justice program).  Session 1 has already begun, but the remaining sessions are going until the end of June – so check it out ASAP (or prep for next year!). Below are the list of courses offered for 2018, and you can read more about the courses and SPI here


Summer Peacebuilding Institute 2018

The Summer Peacebuilding Institute (SPI) provides useful and intellectually stimulating opportunities to learn more about yourself, others and the world around you. Courses are designed for people interested in integrating conflict transformation, peacebuilding, restorative justice, and related fields into their own work and personal life.

SPI 2018 Course Offerings
Session I – May 14 – 22, 2018 (7-day, 3-credit)
Session II – May 24 – June 1, 2018 (7-day, 3-credit)
Session III – June 4 – 8, 2018 (5-day, 2-credit)
Session IV – June 11 – 15, 2018 (5-day, 2-credit)
Session V – June 18 -20, 2018 (3-day, non-credit workshops)

Only one course may be taken per session. All courses can be taken for training and skills enhancement or academic credit. Session 1 and 2 courses may be taken for three academic credits. Session 3 and 4 courses may be taken for two academic credits.  Courses with PAX/PTI can be taken for academic credit or training. Courses with PTI can only be taken for training. Contact SPI for more information.

If you have questions about a particular course that are not answered in the information below, please feel free to contact the SPI office at spi[at]emu[dot]edu.

SESSION I: May 14 – 22, 2018
Analysis: Understanding Conflict – PAX/PTI 533, Gloria Rhodes
Explore the nature, dynamics, and complex causes of conflict and violence. Discuss how relationships, motivations, culture, and worldviews increase or decrease violent conflict. Learn ways to understand and change multifaceted systems that perpetuate conflict.

Strategies for Trauma Awareness and Resilience (STAR), Level II – PAX/PTI 640, Katie Mansfield and Lisa Collins
Review and deepen the concepts from STAR Level 1. Work with trainers and other participants to plan your application and contextualization of STAR frameworks, models, concepts, and activities.

Transformative Leadership for Organizational Development – PAX/PTI 684, David Brubaker and Elizabeth Girvan
Focus on the role of leaders in leading organizational and social change and managing structures, personnel, finances, and external networks and partnerships.

Forgiveness & Reconciliation – PAX/PTI 563, Hizkias Assefa
Explore the concepts of forgiveness and reconciliation from multidisciplinary perspectives and understand how they can be used to generate durable solutions and healing at many levels of conflict from the interpersonal to the international.

Modern Slavery and the Prison-Industrial Complex – PAX/PTI 685, Monti Narayan Datta
Critically assess what human rights are, explore how and why it is still possible for human beings to be bought and sold around the world today, and investigate inequality in the American prison system.

SESSION II: May 24 – June 1, 2018
Formation for Peacebuilding Practice – PAX/PTI 532, Gloria Rhodes
Explore various competencies needed by those who feel compelled to work for peace and social justice. Strengthen your abilities to listen and communicate, create and maintain healthy boundaries, recognize and promote diversity, lead from your vision and values, and engage people in dialogue and decision-making.

Restorative Justice: Principles, Theories & Applications– PAX/PTI 571, Carl Stauffer
Deepen your understanding of justice. Explore a justice framework that focuses on healing, accountability, and community, not blame, punishment, and isolation.

Adaptive Action: Nonviolent Resistance in the 21st Century – PAX/PTI 645, Glenda Eoyang, John N. Murray and Mary Nations
Transform oppression into opportunity. Learn to effectively engage in a chaotic and uncertain political and social world. Analyze the dynamics that drive complex change in human systems and find practical ways to respond to forces that oppress.

Sexual Harms: Changing the Narrative – PAX/PTI 692, Carolyn Stauffer
Join the wave of leaders committed to creating environments free from sexual harm. Gain tools to respond to sexual violence and learn about preventative best practices. Design restorative interventions that build safety and resilience.

Circle Processes PAX/PTI 672, Kay Pranis
Gain skills to lead a process that brings together victims, offenders, family, community members, and others to have difficult conversations and respond to acts of violence or crime. Explore the foundational values and key structural elements of the circle process and learn to design and conduct circles.

Biblical Foundations of Justice and Peacemaking – BVG 541, Andrew Suderman
More than a study of a few select texts that deal with peacemaking, this course will explore and examine the various dimensions of peace in the Bible, with special attention to how the Bible as a whole, functions as a foundation for peacemaking. This course is being offered through Eastern Mennonite Seminary. To register as a non-seminary student use this part-time application.

SESSION III: June 4-8, 2018
Strategies for Trauma Awareness and Resilience (STAR), Level 1 –PAX 540/PTI 041, Donna Minter and Ram Bhagat
Explore processes and tools for addressing trauma, breaking cycles of violence, and building resilience. Increase awareness of the impact of trauma on the body, mind, beliefs, and behavior of individuals, communities, and societies.

Truth-telling, Racial Healing and Restorative Justice – PAX/PTI 671, Fania Davis, Jodie Geddes and Lenore Bajare-Dukes
Explore linkages between truth, justice, and healing at personal and collective levels in the wake of violence. Discuss informal and formal approaches to truth-telling, restorative justice and reconciliation from around the world. Consider future applications of truth-telling amidst ongoing police violence against communities of color in the US.

Christian Spirituality for Social Action – PAX/PTI 688, Jennifer Lee and Johonna Turner
Explore Christian spiritual formation practices to nurture and sustain a life of community leadership, engaged ministry, and social activism. Expand awareness of spiritual disciplines as well as biblical and theological resources to support a faith-rooted approach to social action.

SESSION IV: June 11-15, 2018
The Transformative Power of Identity and Dignity – PAX/PTI 551, Barry Hart
Understand the positive and negative roles and transformative power of identity and dignity within complex conflicts, violence, and trauma.

Building Resilience in Body, Mind, and Spirit – PAX/PTI 612, Katie Mansfield and Katia Ornelas
Taking the body-mind connection seriously, peacebuilders, caregivers and change makers need full-bodied, creative engagement in activities for self-care and well-being. Explore strategies, tools, and exercises for individual participants and communities/organizations to cultivate safety, healthy uses of power, and a deeper sense of connection. Discuss cultural contexts, taboos, stereotypes, and biases that keep us from integrating creative, embodied practice into work for social change and peace.

Peace Education – PAX/PTI 546, Ed Brantmeier
Discuss the education that is needed for the elimination of direct and indirect forms of violence. Explore strategies to reduce violence such as bullying, implicit bias, ethnocentrism, physical fights, or institutional discrimination in schools, the workplace, and the community.

Designing Facilitated Processes that Work – PAX/PTI 689, Catherine Barnes
Do you ever think you need to go beyond basic meeting facilitation to design processes that will help groups address challenging situations, deal with differences and envision a better future? This class is intended for people with some experience of facilitation who want to take their skills to the next level through using context analysis, process design principles, and more conducive process methods.

Story-gathering: Participatory theatre for facilitation and empowerment – PAX/PTI 691, Heidi Winters Vogel and Roger Foster
Develop fluency in participatory theatre techniques for use in mediation, intervention and group facilitation to promote participant-generated change.

SESSION V: June 18-20, 2018
Restorative Justice in Higher Education – PTI 080 E, Jon Swartz and Lorraine Stutzman Amstutz
How is the restorative justice approach being used in the context of education settings for accountability, repair, and healing?

Resisting the White Savior Complex in Social Justice Organizing – PTI 081 E, Amanda Gross and Cole Parke
What do well-intentioned white people need to understand about the harm, violence, and insidiousness of racism? Exploration of a theological basis for anti-racism work.

Crime Victims, Survivors, and Restorative Justice – PTI 082 E, Matthew Hartman
Explore the intersection between trauma, recovery, victim assistance, and restorative justice. Develop programming strategies that orient toward the needs of crime victims and survivors.

Developing Integrated Conflict Management Systems – PTI 083 E, Brian Bloch
Learn to create a system and culture that collaborative addresses conflict and the practical steps an organization can use to put this system in place.

Performance Arts: Developing Sustainable Resources for Community Learning & Action – PTI 084 E, Heidi Winters Vogel and Roger Foster
Learn to assess and evaluate performance-based community engagement programs to strengthen them and make them more attractive to funders.

Singing to the Lions: Helping Children Respond Effectively to Violence and Abuse – PTI 085 E, Lucy Steinitz and Naoko Kamiok
Training of trainers to learn the use of games, drama, dance, and art to help trauma-affected children and young adults overcome fear and violence in their lives.

You can find more information on these courses and the Summer Peacebuilding Institute at www.emu.edu/cjp/spi/.

Essential Partners on Using Social Media to Talk about Guns

Social media platforms can be a challenging medium to hold conversations, especially around contentious issues like gun access, but like NCDD member Essential Partners recently wrote; it’s possible. EP collaborated with several orgs like Time, Spaceship Media and Advance Local to bring folks together to explore conversations on guns, and they shared their experience on utilizing a closed Facebook group to connect people. We encourage you to read the article below and you can find the original version on Essential Partners site here.


Guns: An American Conversation

The subject of guns in America lends itself to strong emotion and great strife, especially in the face of continued mass shootings. We all wish we could make it stop, but we can’t seem to agree on where to focus. The guns themselves? The troubled souls who carry out these acts of violence? The inconsistent regulation of existing laws? The poor infrastructure for recognizing this danger?

At the end of March, Essential Partners worked with Spaceship Media and Advance Local to bring people from across the country together to talk about guns. John Sarrouf and I traveled to Washington, DC, to facilitate the conversations. At the end of the two-day conversation, that core of 21 people then formed a closed Facebook group with more than 130 members, and continued the dialogue online for the following month.

John and I followed along. We offered behind-the-scenes support to the moderators, who worked 24/7 to help those 130 online conversants share their views in ways that could be understood. We witnessed the yearning for a deeper, richer conversation on this divisive topic, and we learned that while it is possible to have that dialogue in a Facebook group, it doesn’t happen without thoughtful facilitation.

Three things we saw:

  • Online engagement was much stronger if people had one-on-one conversations via phone or even Facebook messenger with someone they disagreed with. Being “known” in this way by even a few individuals in the larger group made a big difference in the ability of participants to hang in during tough interactions. Even moderators had an easier time intervening with people who exhibit challenging communication styles after they had a phone call with them.
  • The 21 participants who had invested a lot of personal time at the outset wanted their own smaller group to reconnect, take a breather, and process the many things happening in the larger group. This was not because they all had the same point of view. It was because they were known and knew each other as well-rounded people in the small group.
  • The online conversation could easily have gone on for months in order to reach the fullness of the issues surrounding guns in this country. The level of attention and strength of relationships needed to sustain a conversation on such a hot topic could span years. At the same time, even within a month, there were productive inroads and proposals surfaced for potential continued work on the issue.

We are continuing this work in the coming months. Stay tuned for updates as we take this conversation on the road.

You can read the full article on Essential Partners site at www.whatisessential.org/blog/guns-american-conversation.