Message from th
Innovations abound in the field of conflict resolution. This issue of ACResolution
Magazine showcases exciting new initiatives that expand the use of non-adversarial
conflict resolution into new arenas. Given the amazing technological advances in recent
years, it is no surprise that several of the articles discuss how technology can be used to
extend mediation into previously underserved areas, improve communication between
practitioners and clients, and help practitioners hone their skills.
Traditionally, conflict resolution processes focused on helping people resolve existing
conflicts. Unresolved conflict is often both personally painful and financially draining
for those involved. The article by Chris Kane and Kurt Dettman and the article by Jerry
Clay and Tracey Wiltgen describe ways of addressing conflict as soon as it arises, or before
it even occurs, by infusing conflict resolution processes directly into organizational
practices and ongoing projects. These creative programs will clearly expand our field.
One of our goals for this year has been to foster collaborations between ACR and
other organizations. One ongoing collaboration is a joint project of ACR and NAFCM
(National Association for Community Mediation) to develop public education
materials to promote mediation. Another is the ACR Eldercaring Coordination Task
Force, described in the article by Linda Fieldstone and Sue Bronson. This task force
is developing a new conflict resolution option for high-conflict families experiencing
challenges concerning elders and vulnerable adults. ACR is proud to host this task
force, which currently includes over 20 conflict resolution and service organizations.
Our theme for the 2013 annual conference and this year, “Making Peace Happen: New
Normals,” presents a challenge to all of us — conflict resolution practitioners, educators,
and researchers — to consider how we can make peaceful conflict resolution the norm. It
is easy to embrace this laudable goal; but deciding where to begin can be overwhelming.
In his article, “Beyond Mediation Toward Peacemaking,” Woody Mosten gives us a
roadmap for integrating peacemaking into all types of conflict resolution work. He sets
out specific steps that we can accomplish to transform our daily work into peacemaking.
Regrettably, none of us individually, or even ACR as a whole, can make peace happen
throughout the world. We can, however, accept the challenge, and commit to taking
steps toward making peaceful conflict resolution the norm in our work, in our lives, and
in our communities. We can make a difference.
I would like to thank all ACR members for the opportunity to serve as your President
this year. It has truly been an honor to work with you to advance our shared goals
of supporting and developing our field and promoting the use of peaceful conflict
resolution throughout the world. Please join me in welcoming Cheryl Jamison as the
incoming ACR President. I will remain on the ACR Board of Directors as Immediate
Past President, and I look forward to continuing to serve you in this capacity.