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  • Each year the Werner Institute at Creighton University hosts an annual virtual Conference for Online Dispute Resolution (ODR) called Cyber Week. In its 17th year, this annual conference is now hosted via ADRhub. ODR consists of dispute resolution practices (mediation, negotiation, arbitration, etc…) that use technology to facilitate the resolution of disputes between parties across the spectrum from e-commerce disputes to family disputes. This year, Cyber Week was held during November 3, 2014 – November 7, 2014.Cyber Week

    This free virtual conference focuses on the new developments and innovations regarding dispute resolution online. This week’s conference included discussion forums where participants had the opportunity to engage in dialogue via chat, such as topics pertaining to Cyber-Safety and Ethical Considerations for practitioners. . Webinars including “Challenges and Innovations in Responding to Digital Bullying” and demonstrations using virtual mediation rooms gave participants a feel for how these tools work. This engaging week also hosted an Ethics Essay contest and an e-Mediation competition. The Texas Conflict Coach radio program returns for its 4th year hosting a program. This year focuses on “Tech for Justice:Using Technology to Expand Access to Justice.”  As technologies continue to advance, more businesses and transactions are moving online. Cyber Week introduces participants with the technology tools and strategies for managing and preventing conflicts online.

    Who can attend?
    Anyone who is interested in participating in Cyber Week may register. Participants range from academics, scholars, ODR and dispute resolution practitioners, and the general public.

    What if I missed Cyber Week?
    By visiting the Cyber Week home page on ADRhub.com you can access the archived webinars from previous years. And, don’t forget Cyberweek will return in November 2015 for its 18th annual event.

    How can I learn more about ODR?

    The Texas Conflict Coach® website has several programs regarding ODR. Some programs that may interest you are:
    Tech For Better, Not For Worse: Online Dispute Resolution In Everyday Life with guests Bill Warters, Ph.D and Colin Rule as they share suggestions for communication strategies to foster online relationships.
    Supporting Conflict Resolution Skills in Social Media and Online Forums with guests Leah Wing and Tom Murrary provide tools to foster better communication and conflict resolution skills for online relationships.

    We often focus on tools, strategies, and third parties available to assist parties in conflict offline, and rarely speak to the resources available online. Next time you are in conflict, remember you are not alone. There are resources and services available to help resolve your dispute virtually. I encourage you to join ADRhub.com, participate in Cyber Week, and learn how you can make a difference by simply using technology to resolve disputes.

    By Tracy Culbreath
    Graduate Student, University of Baltimore – Negotiation and Conflict Management Program

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  • Circle ProcessIn keeping with the spirit of Conflict Resolution Month (raising awareness of dispute resolution processes), I often hear of arbitration, mediation, and negotiation. Rarely have I come across an individual who speaks of Circle Processes, specifically Peacemaking Circles. The Circle Process allows for each party involved in the process to share their story and be heard in a safe space. When stories are shared, it gives each participant listening a view into the speaker’s life. Circle Processes are currently being used worldwide, and originated from the indigenous tradition of Talking Circles.

    Who controls the Circle Process and what does it look like?
    Each circle process has a facilitator or keeper. The facilitator is responsible for maintaining a safe space in order to maintain the constructive dialogue between each participant. During a circle process, the following takes place.
    • A talking piece such as a rain stick, feather, or stress ball is used to regulate the conversation. The person who holds the talking piece may speak without interruption which allows participants to focus on listening.
    • Participants set guidelines for how they will behave in order to maintain a safe space.
    • The process begins and ends with an activity that establishes the circle as a safe space and centers the participants.
    • Decision-making is carried out as a consensus; each participant must be willing to live with the decision made and its implementation. The key to this aspect is relationship-building. The circle enables the participants to see beyond the issues that have brought them there and connect with the participants.

    What is the Circle Process used for?
    • When a decision needs to be made collectively
    • There is a disagreement amongst multiple parties
    • To discuss an experience that resulted in some type of harm (e.g. personal injury, property damage, emotional harm)

    Where is the Circle Process being used?
    • Schools
    • Neighborhoods
    • Workplaces
    • Justice System/Prisons

    According to Kay Pranis, a leader in restorative justice and the co-author of Peacemaking Circles: From Crime to Community and Doing Democracy with Circles, there are a variety of uses for circle dialogues. Here are different types of Circles below:

    Talking Circles – Allows participants to explore a topic or issue from the various perspectives around the room.
    Circles of Understanding – Focused on understanding an aspect of conflict or situation
    Healing Circles – Share the pain of a person or persons who have experienced trauma or loss
    Sentencing Circles – A community directed process in partnership with the criminal justice system.
    Support Circles – Brings people together to support a particular person during a life change
    Community Building Circles – Foster bonds and build relationships between a group or groups of people who have a shared interest.
    Conflict Circles – brings disputing parties together to resolve differences
    Reintegration Circle – Brings together an individual and a group or community from which that individual has been estranged
    Celebration or Honoring Circles – Bring together a group of people to recognize an individual or group.

    Circle Processes provide participants with the ability to tap into what we are as humans. It builds a connection between participants on an emotional and spiritual level allowing for the sharing of experiences that provides insight into understanding one another and providing inner peace. Find out what practitioners are in your state, and find the circle that is right for you.

    You may learn about other restorative justice practices such as Peacemaking in schools with Bill Sower and Susan Butterwick, or Community Conferencing with Lauren Abramson, by visiting the Texas Conflict Coach® website.

    By Tracy Culbreath
    Graduate Student, University of Baltimore – Negotiation and Conflict Management Program

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  • CRDayWebBanner2014

    In 2005 the Association for Conflict Resolution (ACR) established a worldwide initiative- Conflict Resolution Day, which occurs every third Thursday in October. The purpose of this day is for dispute resolution practitioners to celebrate and raise awareness about conflict resolution methods such as mediation, arbitration, conciliation, etc. The logo designed for this event is a tree rooted in the ground with leaves that depict the avenues in which an individual can resolve conflict: mediation, conciliation, facilitation, arbitration, negation. Our logo of the tree was designed as a symbol to celebrate growth in Conflict Resolution. The first year, start small, but just like the tree the seeds you plant one year, will continue to grow and blossom each year (ACR.com). As an annual occasion, many organizations have established numerous events/programs in honor of Conflict Resolution Day. This year on October 16th the following programs/events are being held (please note this is only a partial list):

    Conflict Resolution Day Activity Suggestions:

    • Create conflict resolution promotional material and distribute it to the public on Conflict Resolution Day
    • Hold a conflict resolution workshop at a local college or university
    • Recognize conflict resolution leaders and or volunteers in your community
    • Produce t-shirts, mugs or other items supporting conflict resolution
    • Propose story ideas to print and broadcast media

    What will you do to celebrate Conflict Resolution Day?

    To learn more about Conflict Resolution Day visit the ACRnet.org click on the home page/education & training/conflict resolution day.

    By Yvette Watson Jenkins

    Graduate Student, University of Baltimore – Negotiation and Conflict Management Program

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Welcome to Texas Conflict Coach®. I am your host Pattie Porter, conflict resolution expert, mediator, conflict coach, facilitator and speaker. - Read More



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