Reflections on the 2016 IACM Conference at Columbia University, hosted with AC4


Photo from Skyline Room of Columbia’s Faculty House during IACM 2016; taken by Meredith Smith

On June 26th, 2016, Columbia’s Faculty House became home to the 29th Annual International Association of Conflict Management (IACM) Conference. Conflict resolution scholars and practitioners flew in from all over the world for four days of knowledge sharing. The Faculty House building turned into a beehive with several floors buzzing with presentations, roundtables, symposiums, and random, deep conversations over coffee or lunch. The program provided an experience resembling a gourmet brain buffet – take as much as you are able to digest. Like-minded, yet very different, participants arrived to present their ideas and, by the end, walked away with even more. I felt a part of this small community that came together to share, listen, get confused, ask questions, and listen some more.

As a first-time presenter, it was quite a ride! For myself and some of the other new authors, attending the conference would not have been possible without the help of the AC4. Once the conference started, I realized that many sleepless nights and gallons of coffee had finally paid off. Participants included new blood and the heavy weights of the field; all mingling and feeling, at times, like nerdy groupies. One of the presenters, Pak Hin Lam, shared:

I was really surprised to discover a whole community of young scholars at the conference! I met so many interesting people from all over the world and made new friends. I hope to collaborate with some of them on my future research projects.

So many interesting topics were being simultaneously discussed in different rooms that it was difficult to choose where to go. Those who couldn’t decide (including myself, at times!) kept drifting between sessions, trying to catch a glimpse of everything.

Overall, as one of the attendees, Tony Tse, mentioned:

The vibe this year was excitement and exuberance. Columbia’s hospitality definitely raised the bar.

The energy at the conference was impressive! It was fascinating to see that despite the intense schedule of the conference, late night gatherings, and jet lag, participants kept stoically coming back early every morning.

Some of the highlights of the conference for me included:

Noelle Aarts, Ingrida Grigaityte, Jose Pascal da Rocha, Paola Chaves, and Severine van Bommel delivered three case studies in the symposium “Non-Violent Strategies for Conflict Resolution in Violent Contexts.” Noelle Aarts brought attention to the various listening strategies and how they affect conflict resolution.

Peter Coleman’s research on resonance, which was presented together with Tony Tse, sparked an interesting discussion among the math-heavy crowd. It was interesting to see how a theoretical model was being developed for a phenomenon that hasn’t been measured before.

Kelly Tenzek, Aline Mugisho, April Bang, Jill Strauss, Venera Kusari, and Meredith Smith delivered an interactive workshop on CMM and its applications in communication. They shared the stories of utilizing CMM in various life situations and guided their audience through constructing personal Daisy models.

William Hall, from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, presented his research on “Assessing the Value of Environmental Collaboration and Conflict Resolution” where he compared the costs of litigation-related cases at the EPA versus directly negotiated cases and cases with assisted negotiation (mediation).

A fellow first-time attendee and ACfellow, Bilan Stribling, delivered a rapid fire presentation on “Mitigating the Risks: When Making the First Offer in a Negotiation” in which she discussed potential benefits and downsides of making the first offer in a negotiation, as well as strategies that could be utilized to attenuate the risks.

For some, post-conference activities lingered well into the end of the week. Participants continued to gather over food and drinks to discuss their budding ideas and future projects.


Photo of some IACM participants, including author, Eva Paul, Pak Hin Lam Bilan Stribling, and José Pascal da Rocha, at the IACM Awards Dinner; provided by author.

More info:

Find out about the International Association of Conflict Management by visiting IACM Website.

Read work published in Negotiations and Conflict Management Research NCMR Journal, the official journal of IACM, published by Wiley.

More highlights from this year’s IACM can be found on MD-ICCCR Webpage.

If you do not yet know about AC4-IACM Fellowships, check out the AC4-IACM Fellowships Webpage for more info on this funding opportunity.

Author: Eva Paul, 2016 AC4-IACM Student Fellow

Editor: Meredith Smith

Get our newsletter

I'd like to get more stories like this.
Email address
Secure and Spam free...

Submit Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *