Conflict Resolution from the Inside Out
A REGIONAL CONFERENCE for conflict resolution practitioners and scholars
Brandeis University, Waltham, MA
8 am Registration opens (morning fare included)
9 am Welcome: Who’s Here?
9:30-11 am Keynote address by Stevenson Carlebach:
Stormingbrains: The Neuroscience of Conflict and Empathy
Strong emotions can be one of the greatest obstacles to effective conflict management: Parties become consumed by their feelings and lose the ability to think clearly about their interests. Put another way, their interests shift to impulses like punishment or revenge. How should we respond? Should we let someone vent, with the risk that the other party responds in kind and the conflict escalates? Should we try to express empathy but chance losing the perception of impartiality? Ignore the feelings and warn the parties to "focus on the solution," risking being perceived as insensitive or disengaged? Recent findings in neuroscience -- not the research on mirror neurons but an equally fascinating but lesser-known study -- offer insight into why a particular form of empathy can be so effective at helping parties stay focused on problem solving without negating their emotions, while other other types of empathy may fan flames and make parties question our impartiality.
Workshops and seminars
Workshop Series A (11 am - 12:30 pm)
The Mediator as Maestro: Inspiring the harmonic interplay of many parts/Jeanne Cleary
When people are in conflict, they often shift their way of seeing others and themselves to an overly simplistic and reduced framework of right/wrong, good/bad. Drawing on only a part of themselves, they often reduce the “other party” to only a part of who that person truly is. When, how, and why do people do this? How does this relational strategy serve those who are in conflict? What does it cost? Drawing from some basic relational psychological concepts of the multiplicity of self, internal family systems, and psychosynthesis, this workshop will explore both the intrapersonal and the interpersonal dimensions of what happens to people in conflict and the implications for our mediation practices. Some questions for consideration: What are the challenges of staying present in the complexity of a fuller self? What contributes to the psychological capacity to maintain our fullest selves in the presence of conflict? How might mediators help create an environment in which people are invited to be their more whole selves? This workshop will be part presentation, part experiential, and mostly interactive. Relevant mediation capacities, attitudes and skills addressed: presence; acceptance; ability to sit with not knowing, recognize parts in others and self with compassion, invite and enlist more of whole selves.
Jeanne Cleary has been facilitating difficult and transformative conversations for more than 25 years in numerous settings. In her private practice in Watertown, MA, she provides relational and couple psychotherapy, mediation, conflict engagement strategies and facilitated retreats for corporate, religious, non-profit, and educational organizations. As a core trainer with Community Dispute Settlement Center of Cambridge, MA, for 19 years, Jeanne has offered basic and advanced mediation training. For 15 years she served as a court-appointed guardian ad litem, working with families, children, and social service agencies facing various challenges and conflicts. She has designed trainings in conflict resolution and retreats for numerous clients, including Digital, the Massachusetts Department of Education, Probate and Family courts, Central Boston Elder Services, Boston University College of Communication, and Mass School of Pharmacology, in addition to high schools and churches. Jeanne has lectured in conflict resolution courses at Boston University's School of Public Health and currently teaches at the University of Massachusetts/Boston's McCormack School of Public Policy in the Graduate Program in Dispute Resolution. The recipient of CDSC's 2005 Spirit of Mediation Peacemaker Award, Jeanne is a past president of the Massachusetts Association of Mediation Programs and Practitioners and served on the board of the Adoption Center in Newton, MA, and the Watertown Children’s Theatre. She received her BA in theology and psychology from Bates College, her MA in clinical psychology from Lesley University, and advanced clinical training from Theravision Institute in Boston.
From the Trenches (panel discussion)/Melissa Brodrick, Richard Cohen, Gail Packer, and Charlie Pillsbury
Maybe the next-best thing to learning from your own experience is learning from the experiences of others. In this panel discussion, longtime practitioners and teachers Melissa Brodrick, Richard Cohen, Gail Packer, and Charlie Pillsbury will share peace stories, mistakes made, and lessons learned from varied backgrounds in community mediation, peer mediation, and local and international peacebuilding. The panelists promise to leave plenty of time for questions.
Melissa Brodrick is the ombudsperson for Harvard’s Medical School, School of Dental Medicine, School of Public Health and their affiliate institutions. Since 1985 Melissa has also practiced as a mediator, trainer and facilitator. Her clients have included academic institutions, health care organizations, Fortune 500 companies and other corporations, state and federal agencies and non-profit groups. She also served as director of The Children’s Hearings Project (a parent-teen mediation program) and the Massachusetts Association of Mediation Programs and Practitioners and as a member of the Massachusetts Standing Committee on Dispute Resolution and the executive board of the National Association for Community Mediation.
In 1984, Richard Cohen founded School Mediation Associates, one of the first organizations dedicated to promoting the use of mediation and alternative methods of conflict resolution in schools. Since then he has worked with hundreds of schools and has trained many thousands of young people and educators to be mediators. He is the author of several books as well as “The School Mediator,” an e-newsletter with subscribers around the world. Outside of education, Richard has worked with clients in the corporate, health care, and governmental sectors. He has served as a senior adjunct professor at the University of Massachusetts and Cambridge College, where he taught courses on negotiation, mediation and dispute systems design.
Gail S. Packer is the executive director of the Community Dispute Settlement Center, Inc., a private, non-profit mediation and training center committed to providing affordable and accessible services, where she has been at the helm for the past 23 years. Gail, who has designed and delivered a broad array of CDSC's training programs for community groups, colleges, professional associations, and at-risk youth, also wrote the chapter “Mediating Disputes Between Non-Married Partners” in the 2000 MCLE publication Representing Nontraditional Families. With a background in social work, Gail had previously worked for 10 years in the Probate and Family Court, mediating with families in the process of divorce.
Charles A. Pillsbury is the executive director of Mediators Beyond Borders International and a member of that organization’s Colombia project team. From 1989 to 2009, Charlie was the executive director of Community Mediation, Inc., a nonprofit community mediation center in New Haven, Connecticut. He was a founding board member of the National Association for Community Mediation, started in 1993, and was co-chair of NAFCM’s board of directors from 1999 to 2001. He currently is also an adjunct professor and distinguished visiting fellow at the Center on Dispute Resolution at Quinnipiac University School of Law.
What’s Out There (panel discussion) Vivian Hsu, Vicki Shemin, Madhawa Palihapitiya, and Michel Zeytoonian, moderated by Mindy Milberg
In a discussion that will particularly interest newcomers to the field as well as mediators and others interested in widening their practices and learning some tips from veterans, these four experienced practitioners will provide an overview of their specialty practice areas, including employment (Vivian Hsu), divorce (Vicki Shemin), diversity and culture (Matt Thompson), and business (Michael Zeytoonian). The panelists will blend presentation with time for comments and questions.
Vivian Hsu provides legal advice on workplace issues and the employment relationship, with an emphasis on preventative practices and dispute resolution. She develops and delivers training programs, conducts workplace investigations as an independent fact-finder, provides mediation services for employment disputes, and serves as a facilitator for business and community groups. A faculty member for the Certified Discrimination Prevention Training Program of the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination, she has served on the American Arbitration Association panel of mediators for MCAD complaints. Before entering private practice in 1995, Vivian served as division counsel with Motorola, Inc., and as staff attorney with the WGBH Educational Foundation. She is active in professional and community organizations.
Vicki L. Shemin, a graduate of the Johns Hopkins University, served as a Law Review Note Editor at the Boston University School of Law. Currently, she is of counsel to Boston Law Collaborative, LLC, where she serves as mediator, collaborative law attorney, parenting coordinator, divorce coach/consultant, and guardian ad litem in amicable and high-conflict cases. Previously, she was an adjunct professor at Boston University School of Law and School of Social Work and has been a frequent lecturer and author on topics of interest to the legal and mental health communities.
Melinda Milberg is a solo practitioner in Natick, where she concentrates on mediation, arbitration, and case evaluation for divorce, employment, probate, and business cases. She is a graduate of Boston University School of Law, where she has also been an instructor of legal research and writing. She has served as a public member of the Massachusetts Board of Registration in Medicine and as a special assistant attorney general. She is a panel member of the American Arbitration Association, past president of the New England chapter of the Association for Conflict Resolution, and past co-chair of the ADR Committee of the Litigation Section of the Boston Bar Association.
Madhawa Palihapitiya is associate director of the Massachusetts Office of Public Collaboration at the University of Massachusetts/Boston, where he engages in program design, monitoring and evaluation, fundraising, and research. He holds a master’s degree in conflict resolution from Brandeis University. As a mediator Mads engaged in high-risk conflict prevention efforts involving the government and military of Sri Lanka and the Tamil Tigers, and as program director at the Foundation for Co-Existence’s Conflict Early Warning and Early Response Program, Mads prevented more than 100 documented cases of direct violence and engaged in relief, rehabilitation, and reconstruction programs following the 2004 Tsunami as well as economic development projects in underserved communities in Sri Lanka.
Michael A. Zeytoonian, director of the Zeytoonian Center for Dispute Resolution, LLC, in Wellesley, MA, is a lawyer, mediator, and ombudsman who specializes in employment and business law. He has served as board president of the Massachusetts Collaborative Law Council and as co-chair of the Massachusetts Bar Association ADR committee, and is a member of the Association for Conflict Resolution and its New England chapter. Michael writes and lectures frequently on collaborative law and alternative dispute resolution and has trained lawyers and presented workshops on collaborative law throughout the United States, Canada, and Ireland.
Beyond Bullying Prevention: Training Active Bystanders/Sharon Tracy
This is an introduction to Training Active Bystanders, a program created by Quabbin Mediation, a community program based in western Massachusetts. Using written curricula, we teach TAB in elementary, secondary, and higher education institutions, houses of worship, the Native American community, and elsewhere. TAB promotes a norm in which harm-doing is not acceptable. Participants will hear about the inhibitors that prevent bystander intervention, such as pluralistic ignorance, fear, danger, diffusion of responsibility, and the promoters of active bystandership, such as inclusive caring, reciprocity, and moral courage. We will examine the harm-doing continuum from bullying to genocide, the evolution of harmful and helpful behaviors in individuals and communities, and the impact of passive, complicit bystanders and of active bystanders on creating positive cultural norms in schools and communities.
Sharon Tracy is executive director of Quabbin Mediation, based in Orange, Massachusetts. A mediator and trainer for 15 years, she develops and implements mediation and conflict resolution curricula in a multitude of settings and specializes in creating innovative programs and writing grant proposals to fund them. An example is Veterans Mediation, which trains military-connected community volunteers to mediate for their peers; another is Training Active Bystanders, a locally developed school-based violence prevention program. She is a proponent of the concept that ADR practitioners’ skills can be successfully applied to community organizing by convening stakeholder alliances and facilitating their work together to meet their communities’ needs. She earned a bachelor of arts degree in legal studies with a concentration in journalism from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and has worked as an editor, publisher, and business development consultant.
Voice of the relationship: An exercise in holding and learning from multiple perspectives/Chris Causey
This 90-minute experiential class will center on one exercise that involves splitting into pairs and having one partner “guide” the other through the exercise and then switching roles. The exercise asks the “participant” to think of a specific conflict with a specific person in his or her life at work or at home. That person then stands and speaks as himself or herself, directly addressing the other person in the conflict (who, of course, is not present). The speaker must then embody the other person (literally moving) and look back at him or herself, now addressing the original speaker from the perspective of the other person in the conflict. As a third stage in the exercise, each participant will move to a third point and embody the relationship itself (the relationship as a third entity). He or she will speak from the perspective of the relationship (in the first person), addressing each of the participant’s needs and concerns, addressing the needs and concerns of the relationship, and imparting the wisdom of the relationship to each participant. Finally, the participant will step back to where he or she started and address what he or she has learned and what the next steps are in this relationship/conflict might be. The presenter will provide instructions for the “guide,” circulate through the group, offer suggestions and ideas, and keep track of time so that each person will stand in each entity long enough to get at the essence but not so long as to allow for unraveling. At the end of the exercise, there will be a short debriefing.
Chris Causey is a former civil trial attorney who works now as a professional mediator, facilitator, trainer, and conflict management specialist in Portland, Maine. Last year, he mediated more than 240 cases. With a J.D. and a master of fine arts degree, Chris brings insight, inquiry and creativity to his dispute resolution work with private parties, attorneys, and organizations. He sits on the boards of the Maine Association of Mediators and the New England chapter of the Association for Conflict Resolution. He can be found on the web at www.causeymediations.com.
Talk to the Hand: Audience polling as a facilitation tool/Matthew Freeman
With audience polling, facilitators have a new tool to help groups become aware of their own diversity -- of identities, experiences, and opinions. This experiential workshop will explore both practical and theoretical concerns of implementing this tool in your current practice, drawing on many real-world case studies.
Matthew Freeman is a facilitator and trainer with more than10 years experience working on race and diversity issues, civic engagement, and organizational development. Matthew, who specializes in designing and implementing diversity and inclusion strategies for business, government, and community organizations, has pioneered the use of audience-response technology to make group conversations more productive and participatory and has published numerous articles on the subject. Matthew has worked with a wide range of clients, including the University of Richmond, Leadership Metro Richmond, the National Institutes of Health, the University of South Dakota, and the Maryland National Capital Parks and Planning Commission and recently joined the ranks of facilitators selected to teach a course on dialogue at an International Peace Builders conference in Caux, Switzerland.
The Influence Equation: The art of persuasion/Stevenson Carlebach
This interactive workshop will examine how influence works…and why we sometimes fail to influence. The ability to influence is the result of two opposing forces, persuasion and resistance. We will explore the key elements of persuasion and as important, we will also look at what causes resistance and how to mitigate it.
Stevenson Carlebach is an instructor at the Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School, where he teaches mediation and conflict management. He is also director of Eque LLC (www.eque.com) and an independent trainer and consultant in organizational learning with a focus on influence, Difficult Conversations, and negotiation. Much of his work focuses on strategic relationship management for corporations such as Capital One, Goldman Sachs, BP Amoco, L.L. Bean, Citigroup, IBM, PWC, Microsoft, and PwC. One the nonprofit side, his clients have included UNAIDS, the Ministries of Education of Israel and Argentina, and the Rockefeller Foundation. Stevenson has a special interest in finding the hard science behind “soft skills” and to that end researches the neuroscience of conflict and communication. In addition to teaching, Stevenson also designs programs, consults, and coaches executives. Before coming to the field of conflict resolution, Stevenson was associate professor and chair of the Department of Theater at Connecticut College, where he was named Outstanding Teacher of the Year by the Student Government Association. Stevenson is married and has six children, ranging in age from 21 to twin 3-year-olds, so when he’s not working he doesn’t travel, he doesn’t play golf or tennis, and he no longer has any hobbies.
12:30 pm Lunch (included in registration)
Workshop Series B (1:45-3:15 pm)
Mental Toughness/Pamela Enders
In this interactive program, participants will maximize their ability to perform in high-pressure situations such as working with high-conflict clients, training, and public speaking. By applying the mental training secrets of Olympic athletes and following advice from sport psychologists, participants will learn to better handle internal and external distractions without losing focus, develop the capacity to rebound after setbacks and mistakes, and become more effective in high-stakes moments.
Pamela Enders is on the faculty of Harvard Medical School and serves as a teacher/supervisor at the Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. Additionally, she was an adjunct faculty member of the Beasley School of Law at Temple University and wrote the monthly Lawyering and Living column for The New Jersey Lawyer newspaper. A psychologist/peak performance coach with 30 years’ experience, she works with attorneys, executives, entrepreneurs, financial services professionals, and other business people, providing individual and group coaching and training in peak performance skills, mental toughness techniques, presentation skills, and business building strategies. When she’s not working, Pamela enjoys hiking in the French Alps, biking in Maine, and cooking. She is also a performing jazz-cabaret singer with three CDs to her name.
Neuroscience, gender, and conflict/Juliana Hoyt
This workshop will feature a presentation followed by a facilitated discussion about new brain research on how gender affects perceptions and experiences of conflict. In a facilitated discussion that follows the presentation, participants will talk about their own experiences (does the research ring true?) and look at the practice implications: Should conflict resolution practitioners approach gender-specific conflicts such as sexual harrassment cases differently from the way they handle other cases? Are there any implications if the parties are all male or all female if the mediator is male or female?
Juliana Hoyt, an attorney and a mediator, is the associate director of the Environmental Mediation Center, a nonprofit organization that administers the certified USDA Vermont and New Hampshire Agricultural Mediation programs. Through her private practice Riverstone Resolutions, she provides workshops and trainings on a variety of topics including negotiation, collaborative law, interpersonal communication, social neuroscience, and basic and advanced mediation. Before moving to Vermont, Juliana was senior counsel at Boston Law Collaborative, LLC, in Boston, where she practiced collaborative, cooperative, and traditional legal representation, sparking her interest in all forms of dispute resolution. She is a graduate of Woodbury College with a Master’s in Mediation and Applied Conflict Studies, Wellesley College, and Boston University School of Law.
Restorative Justice: One State, One Map:How Vermont has integrated restorative justice into its justice system/Wendi Lashua Germain
This workshop will look at the basic philosophy behind restorative justice and how 12 towns in the state of Vermont interpreted that philosophy to create a system that works on a state level while serving the diverse needs of individual communities. Wendy Lashua Germain’s presentation will be informed by her restorative justice work in the southern Vermont town of Springfield. Restorative justice is not easy work, and this workshop won’t tell you that it is. Instead it will be an honest conversation about the challenges, obstacles, and successes that have led to a statewide integration of restorative values across much of the justice system. Wendi will share what has worked for Vermont, why it has worked, and how those successes give hope for all of us interested in moving toward the future we’d like to create. (Note: Attendees who are new to the topic of restorative justice and are interested in the later panel discussion in Workshop Series C are encouraged to attend this session.)
Wendi Lashua Germain is director of the Springfield Restorative Justice Center in Springfield, Vermont, where she grew up. After earning a degree in management from Champlain College in Burlington, she opened an ice cream shop called Udderly Delicious. It was while she was running this business that she helped a friend who had been a victim of crime and experienced first-hand the toll of watching so much attention paid to the perpetrator of the harm while almost no consideration was given to her friend’s needs. Responding to an ad for volunteers, Wendi became familiar with and trained in restorative justice; after volunteering for a few years, she joined a committee that founded the Justice Center in Springfield. When that center received its first grant in 2001, Wendi became one of the center’s first restorative justice practitioners. She has certificates from the International Institute of Restorative Justice, Woodbury College’s Mediation Program, and Marshall Rosenberg’s method of Non Violent Communication and has training in substance abuse and recovery, recovery coaching, and victim assistance. As director of SRJC, Wendi promotes restorative justice in the community through work in prison offender re-entry, teaching DUI victim impact classes, and running school-based restorative justice programs.
Workshop Series C (3:30-5 pm)
Conflict Resolution, Hollywood Style/Matt Schweisberg, Doug Thompson, Elissa Tonkin
Conflict is the lifeblood of great stories – and movies. In this interactive workshop, which merges our love of the movies with our love of this work, we will bring you a smorgasbord of conflict management or mismanagement moments from the silver screen and together explore what these moments can teach us as mediators and trainers. Beyond finding mediation in the movies, we will explore opportunities to bring movies into our mediation practices. You'll laugh, you'll cry (and we hope it won't be because we can't figure out how to use the projector), and, if we're successful, you'll leave with some new ideas spinning around in your head. We'll provide the popcorn and Junior Mints.
Matt Schweisberg has a background in environmental regulation, enforcement, and dispute resolution with 31 years of federal service and is an experienced mediator and facilitator with the EPA New England Region’s Alternative Dispute Resolution program. Currently, Matt is the chief of the Wetlands Protection Program for EPA New England. For more than 25 years, he has served as the region’s chief technical expert in wetland science and for nearly 10 years managed the region’s wetland enforcement program. As a senior mediator with EPA’s Regional ADR team, he mediates environmental cases where the EPA may be a party and facilitates both small and large group meetings and conferences. He also serves as a lead mediator for EEO cases for the shared neutrals program operated by the Greater Boston Federal Executive Board. In addition to conflict resolution work at the federal level, he has mediated cases in district courts in Massachusetts and family cases with Metropolitan Mediation Services of Brookline, Massachusetts. He also is part of the MMS mediation training staff.
Doug Thompson has a background in environmental protection, dispute resolution, and management. Areas of special interest and expertise include enforcement case negotiation; conflicts concerning regulatory or policy matters; freshwater and marine issues and habitat protection disputes. Recent case work has included matters related to issues as diverse and drinking water disinfection, marine mammal concerns, nuclear waste and chemical weapons cleanup, the credibility of green marketing and sustainable product claims, pandemic flu planning, mountaintop removal mining conflicts, and endangered species.Before joining the Keystone Center, he spent more than 25 years with the US Environmental Protection Agency in various technical and management capacities, including chief of wetland protection and chief of water enforcement. As part of EPA’s dispute resolution program, he served as a mediator and facilitator for a number of environmental issues; he also worked on assignment as a program associate to the US Institute for Environmental Conflict Resolution in Tucson, AZ. He has mediated extensively in the Massachusetts court system, is an adjunct faculty member of the University of Massachusetts Graduate Program in Dispute Resolution, and has experience mediating EEO, workplace, and family disputes. He received a bachelor's degree in environmental science and a master's degree in biology from Northwestern University. He is a longtime practitioner of tai chi chuan and an enthusiastic (though not very good) chess player.
EllssaTonkin, an experienced mediator with the United States Environmental Protection Agency's Boston office, currently serves as director of EPA’s leading Regional ADR Program, which she helped to establish almost 20 years ago. She has previously worked as a Superfund section chief and case lawyer within EPA, Special Assistant US Attorney for the District of Massachusetts and, before coming to the government, was a civil litigator with the Boston office of Hinckley, Allen. She is significantly involved in the development of EPA policy and practice nationally regarding the use of ADR, particularly in the areas of superfund, public consensus-building processes, and regulatory enforcement cases. She received a BA from Amherst College and a JD from the University of Michigan Law School.
Elder/Adult Family Mediation: Not Your Grandfather’s Mediation/Arline Kardasis and Crystal Thorpe
Learn how you can “Let the Forum Fit the Fuss” in this interactive workshop on the Hybrid Model of Elder Mediation. To match problems to processes, effective practitioners in this burgeoning field will want to rethink their classic methodologies and consider a broad array of process models, interventions, styles, skills, and tools.
Crystal Thorpe and Arline Kardasis are mediators, trainers, and founding partners of Elder Decisions, a division of Agreement Resources, LLC, where they mediate family disputes in the areas of eldercare and estate matters. Crystal and Arline have designed and delivered advanced trainings in elder mediation for mediators from around the United States and beyond. Individually and together, they have delivered workshops, seminars and trainings in a broad spectrum of settings, including Harvard Law School’s Program on Negotiation, the Sino-US Judicial Mediation Exchange Program, the Judges’ Institute at the Connecticut Probate Assembly, the American Bar Association, the National Association of Professional Geriatric Care Managers, and the Association for Conflict Resolution. Arline served as a founding tri-chair of the Elder Decision-Making and Conflict Resolution section of the Association for Conflict Resolution and as vice president of the board of directors of NE-ACR. Arline received her BA in Political Science and Urban Studies from Boston University and her MAT with honors from Simmons College. Crystal holds an MSW and an MBA from Boston College and an undergraduate degree in Cognitive Science/Psycholinguistics from Brown University. Together with Blair Trippe and Rikk Larsen, they are authors of the newly released “Mom Always Liked You Best: A Guide for Resolving Family Feuds, Inheritance Battles and Eldercare Crises.”
Restorative Justice: One Compass, Many Directions (panel discussion)/Lucinda Brown, Janet Connors, and Jennifer Larson Sawin; co-convenors Carolyn Boyes-Watson and Nan Starr
This discussion will be an opportunity to listen, ask questions, and gain insight from top restorative justice practitioners and advocates who represent a diverse set of communities, goals, and approaches to this important work. Each panelist will speak to the value of restorative justice in his or her own work and describe successes and roadblocks encountered along the way. The floor will then open to a facilitated question-and-answer session. (Note: Attendees who are new to the topic of restorative justice and interested in this session are encouraged to attend the earlier panel discussion in Workshop Series B.)
Carolyn Boyes-Watson, a professor of sociology at Suffolk University, has a PhD in sociology from Harvard University and is founding director of the Center for Restorative Justice at Suffolk, which works with schools to implement restorative approaches to discipline. She has published several articles and books on restorative justice, including, "Peacemaking Circles and Urban Youth: Bringing Justice Home," about the use of peacemaking circles in Chelsea, MA, and "Heart of Hope: A Resource Guide for Using Peacemaking Circles."
Lucinda S. Brown is the community relations coordinator for the Greenfield (Massachusetts) District Court. She has been involved with Reinventing Justice, a Franklin County initiative, ever since its founding in 1994. Shortly after its founding, Reinventing Justice, whose purpose was to explore ways for the courts and communities to collaborate, began to attract national attention, and Lucinda, then its coordinator, organized several training events led by nationally recognized figures such as Carolyn Boyes-Watson, Judge Barry Stuart, Kay Pranis, and Harold Gatensby, a tribal leader from the Canadian Yukon Territory. Working with the courts, Franklin County community members developed a restorative probation program, which is available through the District, Juvenile, and Superior courts, that Lucinda has coordinated since its start in 1998. Through this program, hundreds of individuals have looked at their actions and consequences through the lens of restorative justice, and more than 1,000 individuals victimized by crime have had a restorative option to supplement the traditional court process.
Janet Connors is a longtime community and social justice activist who has lived and worked in Dorchester all her life. A single mother, she raised three children but is known to many young people as Ma or Mama J and has more than 40 years' experience working with youth and families in community-based organizations. She worked as the survivor support coordinator at the Louis Brown Peace Institute for a number of years and today takes restorative justice practices to schools as alternatives to suspension. She is currently a community fellow and trainer with the Center for Restorative Justice at Suffolk University, a board member of Reflect & Strengthen, on the leadership team of both Mothers for Justice and Equality and the Family Advisory Committee for the Department of Children and Families, and is a Survivor to Survivor support consultant to the Beth Israel Deaconess Violence Prevention and Recovery Center. A survivor herself, Janet has met in restorative dialogue with two of the young men who killed her son Joel. Her own journey brought about a change in policy in Massachusetts, which now offers victims the option of calling for and participating in victim-offender dialogue.
Jennifer Larson Sawin is the executive director of the Center for Restorative Justice. Before working at the center, she led a juvenile restorative justice program in Charlottesville, VA, that was paired with an emerging adult program, referring incidents involving assault and battery, breaking and entering, trespassing, destruction of property, bomb threats, shoplifting, and other acts. Jennifer has master's in Conflict Transformation with an emphasis in restorative justice. Her graduate work was with Howard Zehr, who wrote the foundational text "Changing Lenses," in which he compares “restorative justice” to “retributive justice” and proposes that crime is a violation of people, as well as a violation of law. Jennifer’s interest in harm and conflict traces to her childhood in southern Africa, in the twilight years of apartheid. In that context, she was introduced to the concept of ubuntu, a Bantu word roughly translated as “a person is a person through other people.” Imbued with this cultural instinct, Jennifer has consulted with restorative justice agencies in Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland, and South Africa. At C4RJ, Jennifer guides case coordinator, develops policies on practice, and spends considerable time on training, fundraising, and regional outreach.
Nan Starr is a mediator and facilitator with a private practice in Dartmouth, MA, who has worked on projects ranging from small family disputes to larger community-wide conflicts. With training and experience in divorce mediation, marital mediation, permanency mediation, elder mediation, facilitation, and restorative justice, Nan has mediated extensively as a volunteer mediator with the Community Mediation Center of Rhode Island and has served on the District Court panel for Mediation Works Incorporated in Boston. In addition to her role on the board of directors of NE-ACR, Nan is currently serving on the board of directors of the Community Mediation Center of Rhode Island. A founding member of Restorative Justice and Practices of New England, she is working to harness the collective energy of this networking group of restorative advocates. Her educational background includes a BFA from Tufts University and the School of the Museum of Fine Arts and an MS in Mediation and Applied Conflict Studies from the Woodbury Institute at Champlain College.
Workshop Series D: in-depth seminars (1:45-5pm)
Mediating in the Cultural Gaps/Theodore A. Johnson
When confronted with behaviors, statements, rigid positions, or unusual attitudes, we might think, “It must be a cultural thing.” And we might be correct. But as practitioners, what can and should we do about such behaviors and attitudes? We could say nothing and let them pass; we could try to seek a deeper and empathic understanding; or we could acknowledge the actions or words and hope they go away. Any of these responses might be appropriate in the specific context of a mediation, or they may lead to gaps that will be difficult to bridge. What factors can we use to make a wise decision? In the past, practice and experience have left us with options stemming from the fields of diversity awareness, inter- and cross-cultural communication, non-violent communication theory, interest-based and mutual-gains approaches to problem solving. New research in the field of “cultural neuroscience,” however, is providing insights into how the wiring of our brains affects perceptions, emotions, thinking, and behavior. This workshop will introduce some aspects of this new research and offer contemporary approaches to understand the linkage between brain science and behavior and suggest more informed choices for closing the gaps that can be created by culturally related behavior. This workshop, which will be a blend of discussions, exercises, videos, and short mini-presentations, will benefit practitioners who work with families, businesses, communities, and organizations in which cultural issues from differences in race, gender, class, status, and other identity factors impact the social relationship. While each of these categories is unique, the approaches will offer a generalized formulation that can be tailored to specific contexts.
Theodore (Ted) Johnson is a professor in the Coexistence and Conflict master’s program in the Heller School at Brandeis University, where he teaches dialogue and mediation, conflict and development, diversity and coexistence, and research methodology. He has worked with communities in conflict in numerous countries and regions, including the United States, South Africa, Cyprus, Iraq, and the Balkans and has conducted negotiation and mediation workshops for multi-national corporations as well as UN Agencies including the World Health Organization and the World Bank as well as the US, Canadian, and Indonesian governments. A specialist in international organizations and cross-cultural communications, he earned a JD from Western State University and a master’s and PhD in international relations from the Fletcher School at Tufts University. In addition to teaching and consulting, he has written extensively on community mediation, international peacekeeping, and cultural differences in organizations. Before his international work, he was a deputy district attorney in Orange County, CA, an arbitrator for the state bar of California, and a judge pro tem in the Orange County Superior Court.
Discussing Contentious Issues/Loraine Della Porta
Civility in our country's political discourse has clearly declined, and the political climate has become increasingly bitter. We've all seen public meetings turn into violent shouting matches or worse: Think of Wisconsin, where union protesters were dragged off and arrested, or Arizona, where US Rep. Gabrielle Giffords was severely wounded in a shooting rampage that left six innocent citizens dead. Shortly before the shooting, Giffords herself reached out to political experts at Harvard University’s Institute of Politics, expressing concern about the incendiary rhetoric of her previous campaign and asking whether they could do something to help. But what can be done? Is there a way to elevate the tone of dialogue in our country? Can we bring back civility? This workshop will focus on dialogue as another tool that we, as conflict resolution practitioners, can use to bring citizens together to reason and talk – to deliberate about contentious public policy issues facing our society. We will introduce participants to the National Issues Forum model, which provides a way for people of diverse views and experiences to seek a shared understanding of the problem and search for common ground for action. Forums are led by trained, neutral moderators and use an issue discussion guide that frames the issue by presenting the overall problem and then three or four broad approaches to it. In this workshop, we will guide participants through the process of how issues are framed for public deliberation, how to help organizations convene and organize such forums, and how to facilitate a deliberative dialogue. We will then engage in a real "mini" dialogue session on an important policy issue.
Loraine Della Porta is deputy director of the Massachusetts Office of Public Collaboration. An experienced mediator, arbitrator, facilitator, and dispute systems designer specializing in workplace conflict assessment and management, her public sector career spans 20 years and reflects extensive experience in conflict prevention, organizational development and training. Loraine directs MOPC’s Agricultural Mediation Program and MOPC’s Kettering Public Policy Institute. She is a past president of the New England chapter of the Association for Conflict Resolution and is the president of the board of directors of the Community Mediation Center of Rhode Island, where she also serves as chair of the Ethics Committee. Loraine received a BS from Providence College, and a JD from Roger Williams University Law School in Bristol, RI. She completed a portion of her graduate studies at Pepperdine University Law School’s Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution.
Reflecting Leadership/Alison Streit Baron and Dave Joseph
This experiential workshop is based on the Public Conversation Project's unique conception of leadership: that what is most essential to leadership is not any intrinsic quality of leaders themselves, but rather the quality of the conversations they invite. For more than 20 years, the Public Conversations Project has been developing the premises and practices of constructive conversation. Originally based on ideas from family therapy, social psychology, and organizational development, it is now confirmed by the latest findings in neurobiology. More primitive parts of our brain incline us to attack and defend when we perceive a threat, and to perceive threats based on our memories and other associations. The more evolved part of our brain helps integrate these responses and respond thoughtfully and purposefully. To access that part of the brain during stress or conflict, people need space for reflection, and leaders can help create that space. This workshop, based on the Public Conversations approach, will help you explore and practice how to do that, so you and people you work with can stay connected to your own higher thinking and to each other and collaborate across deep differences.
Alison Streit Baron is an associate and program manager at the Public Conversations Project. She has facilitated PCP dialogues and trainings for the National Association of Mothers' Centers, Hebrew College, Temple Emanuel, Urban Collaborative Accelerated Program, and Bergen Community College. She has 15 years' experience in nonprofit education programs as well as a BA from Wesleyan University, an MA in sociology from the University of California at Santa Barbara, and a graduate certificate in Peaceable Schools and Conflict Resolution from Lesley University.
Dave Joseph, vice president for program at the Public Conversations Project, has provided training and consultation in dialogue, mediation, communication, negotiation and conflict resolution in the United States, Canada, Burundi, Nigeria, and Liberia. A founding member of Mediators Beyond Borders, he serves on its Board of Directors and contributes to the Liberian initiative. Previously, he cofounded and served as executive director of the Community Mediation Center of Rhode Island. For 25 years, he directed mental-health and addictions treatment service programs in Massachusetts and Rhode Island, offering training and psychiatric consultation to physicians, emergency room staff, police, probation officers, judges, teachers, educational administrators and human service organizations.
5-7:30 pm The Big Debrief: Finish your day by catching up with colleagues old and new and enjoying light food, drinks, and music
At 5:30 pm we will present the Pioneer Award, NE-ACR’s tribute to a practitioner or scholar who has made significant contributions to the field, to Susanne Terry