Scarlett Lewis from the Jesse Lewis Choose Love Movement. Photo: David Smith. )

10th International Conference on Conflict Resolution Education Meets at Ohio State

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10th International Conference on Conflict Resolution Education Meets at Ohio State

By David Smith

(Original article: David J. Smith Consulting.  June 11, 2016)

The 10th International Conference on Conflict Resolution Education met June 10-11, 2016 at The Ohio State University (OSU) in Columbus, OH.   The conference was preceded by two days (June 8-10) of pre-conference training and will be followed by a two-day seminar (June 12-13) for colleges and universities looking to establish peace and conflict programs. Over 200 educators, practitioners, and activists attended the main conference. Primary co-sponsors included the Mershon Center for International Security Studies and  the Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict.  For a full list of co-sponsors and partners as well as the entire program  go here.

The first day of the main conference began with a keynote address by  former Canadian and UN diplomat Louis Guay who talked about the need for peacebuilding, as well as his experiences as a hostage. He was followed by a panel that included Mel Duncan from Nonviolent Peaceforce, and Hans Sinn and Silke Reichrath from Brooke Valley Research for Education in Nonviolence.  The theme for this session was “Civil Society Responsibilities in Conflict Management.”

A second session followed on “Connecting Schools, Communities, and Families through Peace Education.”  It featured Linda Lantieri of CASEL:  the Collaborate for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning. She talked about the important role that social and emotional learning can play in reducing violent behavior.  She was followed by Scarlett Lewis, founder of The Jesse Lewis Choose Love Movement, established in memory of her son Jesse who was skilled at  Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012. Scarlett shared about her emphasis on “nurturing, healing, love” – words that her son wrote before he died. Jill Jackson, a consultant, examined the work of the Ohio Department of Education’s Center for P-20 Safety and Security.

During the morning, the global conflict resolution educator awarded was given to Dr. Gohar Markosyan, founder of the Armenian NGO, Women for Development.

Day two of the conference.  Photo: David Smith.

Day two of the conference. Photo: David Smith.

The afternoon featured two workshop periods.   Presentations looked at the ethics of survivor testimonials, developing a peace network in Ohio, narratives of youth with disabilities, civil responsibilities in conflict management, peace education, trauma healing, and targeted violence prevention.  A full list of sessions can be found here. During one session, I shared about my book, Peace Jobs: A Student’s Guide to Starting a Career Working for Peace.

The second day of the main conference began with talks by Nick Oakley, of Partners Global, who talked about human security and security governance efforts in Nigeria, and Ambassador Jerry Lanier (ret.), who talked about his experiences as the U.S. Ambassador to Sudan. The focus of this session was “Security Sector Reform: How Open Are Peacebuilders to Cooperative Advocacy?”

Afternoon plenary sessions included presentations by Grande Lum (Divided Community Project), Robert Solomon (Office of Diversity & Inclusion, OSU), and Joseph Stulberg (OSU’s Moritz School of Law) looking at “Peace and Justice in our Communities: Best Practices and Beyond,” and Alex Leslie (Cleveland Rape Crisis Center), Ann Brandon (Ohio Alliance to End Sexual Violence), Shannon Greybar Milliken (Cleveland State University), and Laura Stoll (University of Cincinnati) examining “Riding the Wave: Harnessing Campus Energy to Help Decrease Rates of Sexual and Intimate Partner Violence.”

Workshops that day included examining sustained dialogue, student engagement, cultural identity and suicide, and gender analysis tools.  A full list of workshops for June 11 can be found here.

If you are interested in the conference, or being a part of next year’s event, contact conference coordinator Jennifer Batton at [email protected].

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