Mon, Jul 25, 2016
PeaceTech Lab’s Open Situation Room Exchange
The PeaceTech Lab, spun off from the U.S. Institute for Peace, has released a new conflict monitoring and situational awareness platform called the Open Situation Room Exchange or OSRx for short. The project provides regularly updated visualizations of a growing number of datasets that previously were too complicated for conflict intervenors to access in meaningful ways without a tech staff and a data analysis budget. Available views include a global overview and country specific views. A recent interview with Noel Dickover, technical director of global network strategies at PeaceTech Lab provides some background on the goals of the project.
Real-time information: The OSRx pulls in real-time information from both social media and news sources. For social media analytics, we use Crimson Hexagon’s powerful ForSight platform to build social media monitors capture the conversation around conflict, and then send the results via Application Programming Interface (API) to the OSRx. They apply the Global Database of Events, Language and Tone (GDELT) dataset for news analytics. Real-time information includes word clouds, topic wheels and line charts on social media volume and the instability of news coverage.
Structured Indices: The OSRx has incorporate a number of structured indices. These cover the gamut of topics including governance issues, risk of violence, economic concerns, education, gender and technology. Structured indices do not change often - they are usually updated yearly or quarterly.
Of particular interest for the more casual user is the social media monitoring of facebook and twitter for indicators of tension and instability and violence.
Thu, Jul 21, 2016
Student Conflict Resolution Center resources at University of Minnesota
The Student Conflict Resolution Center (SCRC) at the University of Minnesota has had a long history supporting students who want to manage conflict effectively. Jan Morse, the director and a certified mediator and ombuds, has 20 years of experience helping students address their concerns. While there is lots to look at and learn from on the site, what caught my attention was the nice collection of DIY guides designed to walk students and faculty advisors through potentially difficult situations. One focus area of note is the collection of materials exploring academic civility/incivility. Nicely formatted and reflecting years of experience working on these issues, the guides are worth reviewing as possible models for similar resources on your campus.
Wed, Oct 14, 2015
Theories of the Third Side presentation by Bill Warters - video
At the Association for Conflict Resolution 2015 Conference in Reno I presented a session entitled Theories of the Third Side: Identifying Acceptable Conflict Intervention Roles Based on Social Settings (click through title link to see description and get slides). The session was live-streamed and a version of it has been made available on Youtube.
Thu, Aug 13, 2015
School Tools Conflict Resolution Education site
California’s Western Justice Center (WJC) has released a great new resource for conflict resolution educators. The project is called Haven School Tools and it is available online at no charge at http://www.schooltools.info. The site, developed in partnership with the skilled actors of Encompass, is an extension of the ground-breaking Haven Social Network WJC developed for high school students working on making their schools safe and comfortable places to be and learn.
Here’s the description of the School Tools conflict resolution curriculum provided:
Haven School Tools is a resource website for educators interested in accessing quality materials on conflict resolution in order to enrich their students’, as well as their own, knowledge and skill base. The tools presented are useful for resolving conflicts in the school setting, as well as throughout people’s daily lives. Teachers can access full conflict resolution lessons for their classes/clubs and also find first-rate resources on a variety of topics, including effectiveness of conflict resolution education, building support in their schools, and implementation of programs. The site content is enhanced with original videos created by and for Haven for a more rich and interactive learning experience.
The curriculum is organized into eight levels and appears to be most appropriate for middle and high school classrooms. The individual levels are meant to be presented in order but can be taken à la carte with the teacher’s discretion. Instructions include printable PDF handouts and worksheets to distribute to students. The levels are as follows:
Level I: Analyzing Conflict
Level II: Self Awareness
Level III: Underlying Needs
Level IV: Emotions, Regulation Strategies
Level V: Approaches to Conflict
Level VI: Communication Skills
Level VII: Negotiation
Level VIII: Power
It is really great to see such generous sharing of quality educational resources dedicated to conflict resolution. Way to go, WJC!
Sun, Jul 12, 2015
Common Ground for Action online forums
The well established National Issues Forums sponsored by the Kettering Foundation are adding an exciting new online component. The new platform, called Common Ground for Action forums, has been in the works for a couple years as experienced NIF facilitators worked with NIF and the Kettering Foundation to build a user-friendly online space for issues deliberation. The new platform looks great and a broad range of issues are available for deliberation.
This video provides a look at the platform in action:
Available Deliberation Topics
America’s Energy Future: How Can We Take Charge?
America’s Future: What Should Our Budget Priorities Be?
Bullying: How Do We Prevent It?
The Changing World of Work: What Should We Ask of Higher Education?
The Future of Work: How Should We Prepare for the New Economy?
Health Care: How Can We Reduce Costs and Still Get the Care We Need?
How Can We Stop Mass Shootings in Our Communities? (Issue Advisory)
Immigration in America: How Do We Fix a System in Crisis?
Medicare and Medicaid: How Can We Afford Them?
Mentall Illness in America: How Do We Address a Growing Problem?
Political Fix: How Do We Get American Politics Back on Track?
Social Security: How Can We Afford It?
Mon, Jul 06, 2015
Conflict Perspectives - new online journal from IMTD
The Institute for Multi-Track Diplomacy has launched in a new online publication called Conflict Perspectives. As explained by the sponsors,
“The journal publishes articles submitted by people from all walks of life who live, work or visit conflict zones. We encourage contributors to tell stories of what they witness or experience, their perspectives on the conflict and to apply their insights on how peacebuilding can be promoted in conflicts. By calling for contributions from different points of view and current stories on the ground, Conflict Perspectives seeks to promote the multi-track approach to peacebuilding.”
2015 Conflict Resolution Day Poetry Contest
I’m pleased to report that the Conflict Resolution Day national committee is going to again sponsor our youth poetry contest. Conflict Resolution Day is October 15 this year (2015) and the contest will run throughout the month of October.
Students are invited to submit a poem on the theme of Building Peace. Poems can address the following topics:
- What is peace?
- Where is peace?
- How can I inspire peace?
- How can I build peace through conflict resolution?
Poems will be judged and Prizes awarded in three Grade Categories: 3-5th; 6-8th; and 9-12th
- 1st Place in each category wins $100
- 2nd Place in each category wins $75
All Poems must be submitted in English Maximum of 20 Lines
Go to Poem Submission Form for full details.
Thu, Jul 02, 2015
The Humanitarian Data Exchange (HDX)
The Humanitarian Data Exchange is a relatively new project from the UN OCHA (Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs) seeking to improve the access and quality of humanitarian data available to peacebuilders. The project is addressing three elements that when combined should greatly improve the tools available to conflict intervention and prevention specialists. The first element is an open access repository where data providers can upload their raw data sets; the second element, dubbed HDX Analytics, involves the development of a refined database of high-value data that can be compared across countries and crisis. Finally, the group is working to create a set of shared standards for humanitarian data formatting known as the Humanitarian Exchange Language. As of the time of this post, 1,885 Datasets covering 244 locations from 286 different sources are available, many with useful visualizations already provided.
Wed, Jun 17, 2015
Open Access Textbook on Peace Psychology
I was very pleased to see that the edited volume Peace, Conflict and Violence: Peace Psychology for the 21st Century has been released as an open access textbook. Kudos to Ohio State Professor of Psychology (Emeritus) Dan Christie, one of the editors of the volume, for making the book available.
The book is divided into sections addressing Direct Violence, Structural Violence, Peacemaking and Peacebuilding. Here’s the table of contents.
Sun, Mar 15, 2015
ODR 2015 Conference Registration Now Open
Registration is now open for ODR2015, to be held in New York June 3-5, 2015. Hosted by Pace Law School and the National Center for Technology and Dispute Resolution and held at the Pace University campus in Manhattan. The annual Online Dispute Resolution conference moves to a new location each year. Last year in Silicon Valley the focus was heavily on technology. This year, scheduled for New York City, the focus will move to exploring ODR and the Law. Keynote speakers include Richard Susskind, author of Tomorrow’s Lawyers, Internet pioneer and entrepreneur Esther Dyson, Modria Founder Colin Rule and Doc Searls, co-author of the Cluetrain Manifesto. Registration is limited and program information is accessible at http://www.odr2015.org
Tue, Mar 03, 2015
Nice New Collection of Peer Mediation Resources
For those interested in peer mediation programs in schools, C-DRUM (the Center for Dispute Resolution at the University of Maryland Law School) has compiled a nice collection of no-cost resources about peer mediation, including:
- standards of practice;
- articles and research;
- planning tools and discussion;
- training materials;
- program forms;
- promotional resources;
- and videos.
Wed, Nov 05, 2014
Recent Presentations by Bill Warters
As may be obvious, I’ve been neglecting this blog for some time. For folks who are interested in keeping up with my work and current interests, I’d suggest following me on twitter at @bwarters and checking out my various presentation slides posted on slideshare.com.
Mon, Jun 02, 2014
Softskills video training series for Michigan workers includes nice conflict resolution module
SEMCOG, the Southeast Michigan Council of Governments; its partner organization, the Metropolitan Affairs Coalition (MAC); and the Michigan Economic Development Corporation have recently announced the release of 14 videos that provide training on soft skills for the Michigan workforce.
The videos bring to life the SEMCOG/MAC report from 2012, Lifelong Soft Skills Framework: Creating a Workforce that Works. They are intended to raise awareness about essential skills needed for workplace success. They can be used by educators, employers, and for self improvement.
These 15-minute videos focus on 14 essential soft skills â€“ humility, communication, (managing) conflict, ethical character, personal judgment, problem solving, time management, diversity and inclusion, self-confidence, teamwork, positive attitude, initiative, flexibility, and work ethic. They define, assess, and provide strategies for developing the skills in a fun, accessible way.
Mon, May 12, 2014
Engaging Conflict for Fun and Profit: Current and Emerging Career Trends in Conflict Resolution
A new report has been published by the Maryland Mediation and Conflict Resolution Office (aka MACRO) exploring career trends in Conflict Resolution. Based on my initial review I think it represents the best information available at the moment (early 2014) on this important topic.
The report is entitled Engaging Conflict for Fun and Profit: Current and Emerging Career Trends in Conflict Resolution and it was developed by Robert J. Rhudy in conjunction with the Maryland Mediation and Conflict Resolution Office (MACRO). You can find the full report here (pdf).
As the representative quotes (see below) from the report that I have selected suggest, it is quite a mixed bag (some positive, some not so much) regarding employment opportunities. First up is an example of a hopeful finding coming from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics:
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, in its May 2012 report, projected a 14% growth rate in the conflict resolution field for the period 2008-2018, stating that:
[E]mployment of arbitrators, mediators and conciliators is expected to grow faster than the average for all occupations through 2018. Many individuals and businesses try to avoid litigation, which can involve lengthy delays, high costs, unwanted publicity and ill will. . . . Demand will also continue to increase for arbitrators, mediators and conciliators because all jurisdictions now have some type of dispute resolution program.
On the other hand, there is considerable evidence to suggest that jobs are not easy to come by, as suggested by this quote:
Making a living as a mediator… is anything but fun for many of those trying…[While] there are some mediators who are busy enough to gross a million dollars or more per year…the private mediator market is similar to markets for entertainers or professional athletes…[S]upply exceeds demand. More mediators want to enter the market than there are mediation jobs…
The author of the report, Robert Rhudy, has also posted an online version (shortened?) of the study over at Mediate.com if you want to browse it that way. Robert has done the field a real service by pulling together this information and sharing it publicly.
Thu, Jan 30, 2014
MCC Roleplay Book
The Mennonite Conciliation Service has posted their great (and now out of print) book of conflict resolution roleplays online as a pdf. The late 1990’s era collection, edited by Ron Mock, includes 41 scenarios that can be used for discussion and practice honing your conflict intervention skills. Categories addressed include One-Party, Simple Interpersonal Conflicts, Complex Interpersonal Conflicts, Multiparty Conflicts, Victim-Offender Reconciliation, and Scripts, Sociodramas and Case Studies.