With more than 100 registrants, a widely diverse audience gathered at UMass Boston recently for an all-day workshop exploring how to address conflict around issues of race, ethnicity, and religious identity.
With dual goals as an educational workshop and recruitment opportunity, faculty from the Graduate Programs in Conflict Resolution at UMass Boston joined professionals and alumni to lead interactive skill-building sessions on conflict analysis, identity and culture, active listening, and facilitation skills.
In workshop evaluations, participants praised the many lessons learned at the event. In addition to gaining practical skills in structured dialogue, how to reframe questions, and ways to negotiate and mediate in everyday life, attendees commended the workshop’s inclusion of role playing exercises, small group dialogues, and networking with conflict resolution program alumni.
This free event drew prospective graduate students from some 20 universities-locally from Harvard University to Roxbury Community College and internationally from schools in Ireland, Liberia, Nepal, Saudi Arabia, and Sierra Leone. UMass Boston staff representing student services and the professional staff union also attended the Saturday event as did several from community-based nonprofit organizations like Bread & Roses, Cambridge Peace Commission, and Root Cause. Others included government officials, members of the clergy, and professionals in the private sector.
David W. Cash, dean of the John W. McCormack Graduate School of Policy and Global Studies, commented on the workshop’s success. “If we are to live in a civil society, learning to manage conflict is vital to our global futures. Given the difficult conversations in the recent elections, politicians—new and established—can benefit from this practical training. I applaud our conflict resolution faculty, staff, students, and alumni for providing such an important and enlightening workshop.”