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Mershon Center for International Security Studies

Greg Van Kirk

The 11th International Conference on Conflict Resolution Education, with the theme “Tools for Preparing the Change Leaders of the Future: Social Enterprise, Innovation and Education,” will take place Thursday, March 16, 2017, through Sunday, March 19, 2017, at the Ohio Union, 1739 N. High St. Presentations will focus on innovations in the field of conflict resolution that are making broad impacts of social entrepreneurship and peacebuilding in the local to global community.

Greg Van Kirk, leader of Ashoka Foundation's Start Empathy Initiative and co-founder of Social Entrepreneur Corps, will join his colleague Valentina Raman, co-founder of IMPACT Magazine and JournalUp, to present the first keynote address on "Shifting Minds and Hearts: How Ashoka is building a culture of empathy to create a world of changemakers." Both are fellows with Ashoka Foundation, which helps social entrepreneurs pursue system-changing solutions that help correct entrenched global problems.

Achaleke Christian Leke

Achaleke Christian Leke, member of the Global Advocacy Team of the United Network of Young Peace Builders, will give the second keynote on "UN Security Resolution 2250: The Role of Youth in Peacebuilding and Conflict Prevention and the Role of Youth Entrepreneurship." Leke is a youth civil society activist and peace advocate who has worked with more than 1 million young people on over 100 youth development and peace-building projects. He was named Commonwealth Young Person of the Year in 2016.

Conference workshops on March 16-17 will run along three main tracks:

  • Social enterprise, which applies methods and ideas from the business world to solve human problems such as poverty, lack of access to education, and environmental degradation.
  • Education, including workshops, training programs, and continuing education for all age groups in informal and community education settings, led by leaders in conflict resolution, peacebuilding and social enterprise.
  • Innovation, which will provide an opportunity for participants to showcase their own work, learn from others, and discuss unmet challenges by examining both new programs and effective evaluation.

Intensive one- and two-day trainings on March 18-19 include:

  • Transforming Relationships and Creating Concrete Community Change Through Sustained Dialogue
  • Dialogue Across Differences: Facilitator Training for Community Leaders
  • Developing Conflict Resolution Education Courses and Programs
  • Conflict Resolution Communication Skills Training
  • Alternatives to Violence Project (AVP model): Transformative Learning for Resolving Conflicts

Valentina Raman

The Conflict Resolution Education conference is intended for educators, staff, and administrators  working in primary, secondary and higher education, as well as, members of the business community, policy makers at all levels, researchers, non-profit leaders, media groups, philanthropists, and anyone wishing to make positive change in their communities. Participants will exchange best practices, evaluation methodology, creation of policy implementation structures, consideration of obstacles to success, and new and innovative use of training, resources and technology.

The 2017 conference builds on conferences and meetings held from 2004 to 2016 which brought together government representatives and nongovernmental organization partners that have sponsored legislation or policies on topics such as conflict management, civics education, global and multi-cultural education, and democracy education in K-12 and higher education. The annual audience includes college/university educators and students, K-12 educators, prevention specialists and state, local, national and international policy makers.

The 11th International Conference on Conflict Resolution Education, hosted  by the Peace Studies program at the Mershon Center for International Security Studies and the Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict, sponsored by 18 organizations and departments. 

The next Conflict Resolution Education conference will be the Seminar for Colleges and Universities Developing Peace and Conflict Studies Programs: The Social, Historical, Political and Environmental Implications of Peace in Costa Rica, to take place Monday, June 19, through Friday, June 23, 2017, in San José, Costa Rica.