AC4 Represents at the 28th Annual IACM Conference in Florida

iacAt the end of June, the 28th Annual International Association for Conflict Management (IACM) Conference took place in Clearwater Beach, Florida. This year’s conference brought together over 200 practitioners, university faculty and graduate students from around the world, including many from Columbia University and AC4.

The conference spanned three days and focused on conflict management at individual, family, organizational, regional and international levels. The program included symposiums, workshops, presentations, a poster session and a keynote address from J. Keith Murninghan. Each day presentations focused on various themes, such as “Trust Dynamics” or “Gender, Negotiations and Bargaining.”

Along with Executive Director, Dr. Beth Fisher-Yoshida, AC4 sent nine scholarship recipients to the conference and two staff members, Azin Aliabadi and Meredith Smith. Each of the nine fellows presented during the conference, on a diverse range of topics and geographic areas, such as “The Restorative and Transformative Power of the Arts in Conflict Resolution” and “The Human Security Framework in Peace Support Operations: A Darfur Case Study.” For more information about these fellows, click here.

Beth Fisher-Yoshida presented a workshop on “Community Leadership Development as Urban Violence Prevention”. Her workshop gave participants the chance to engage in individual and group activities and to learn about her work with youth in Medellin, Colombia.

Connie Sun, AC4 colleague and Assistant Director of Columbia’s Masters program on Negotiation and Conflict Resolution, also hosted a workshop. Her workshop titled “Thinking Visually: An Interactive Workshop on Using Comics as a Tool in Teaching and Understanding Conflict” guided participants through drawing and visual literacy activities and taught about how these abilities can be used to explore and resolve conflict.

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Another presenter at the conference was Jose Pascal da Rocha, a professor of conflict resolution at Columbia University. He presented on “Legitimacy and Resilience in National Dialogue – The Case of Mali”, as was developed from fieldwork and research conducted by him and colleague Mark Whitlock.

Here’s a reflection on the conference experience from April Bang, one of the AC4-IACM fellows who is a current doctorate student at Columbia’s Teachers College:

The IACM conference this year was a memorable event for me. I had a meaningful time of learning and conversation with other AC4 IACM Scholar Fellows from around the world who inspired me with their dedication and courage. I presented my visual poster on the arts in conflict resolution and was thankful for the opportunity to share and receive feedback on a research topic that is very close to my heart. Several artists (or family members of artists) who are scholars and educators in the field of conflict resolution came up to me during or after my poster presentation to ask thoughtful questions and encourage me in my work, pointing me to additional resources and potential collaborators.

I also appreciated the opportunity to meet and learn from faculty experts specializing in community leadership development or leadership and cooperative conflict, which are additional areas of interest. Another highlight for me was the Novel Session on Graduate Students and Gurus. During this session, students were matched with faculty experts who used that time to mentor a group of two to four graduate students from different institutions with similar research interests. Our group discussed a variety of topics ranging from our mutual interests in U.N. peacekeeping to the relationship between individual change and systemic change. Our faculty expert provided helpful insights and encouragement in our respective career paths and work moving forward. 

Overall, the conference was a wonderful experience of learning in community.  

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For more information about IACM, check out publications in the NCMR Journal  and read the IACM Signal Newsletter.

Hope you will be able to join us at next year’s IACM conference that will be hosted in NYC, at Columbia University! (June 26-29, 2016) Mark your calendars and stay tuned for information on how you can participate!

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