Sabbaye Mcgriff 2017-07-27 21:10:10
“From the nonviolent methods of Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr. to the use of social media to build momentum behind social change, humans have the know-how as well as the technology for unlimited communication, networking and unity, and yet the fissures in our society and around the globe continue to grow.” New school signals Kennesaw State’s growing preeminence in conflict management No matter where conflict rears its head – in families, businesses, local communities and organizations, the courts, national and international agencies and governments – the entities that comprise Kennesaw State’s new School of Conflict Management, Peacebuilding and Development are working to mitigate it. The new school formally joins the Master of Science in Conflict Management (MSCM) program, the Ph.D. program in International Conflict Management and the Center for Conflict Management. Its creation represents the coming of age of programs that have for years engaged faculty and students in the scholarship of conflict management, the practice of negotiation and mediation to resolve conflict, and the training of others to arbitrate disputes and achieve peace. “From the nonviolent methods of Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr. to the use of social media to build momentum behind social change, humans have the know-how as well as the technology for unlimited communication, networking and unity, and yet the fissures in our society and around the globe continue to grow,” said Joseph Bock, the new school’s director. “The School of Conflict Management, Peacebuilding and Development is dedicated to building future leaders who are able to channel tensions into constructive rather than destructive relationships at community, national and international levels.” THE FOUNDATION: APPLIED KNOWLEDGE Kennesaw State’s strengths in conflict management reflect a balance of advanced scholarship in conflict management, a high level of skill and expertise and an orientation toward practical application, said Robin Dorff, dean of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences. “In the beginning, we had the words and the program designs, but now we have so many people who are doing it, making a difference on so many fronts,” Dorff said. “From the beginning, Kennesaw State’s conflict management programs were designed to be both academic and applied, and that has proven to be a real strength. Our faculty are leading the way in the scholarship of conflict management, and at the same time engaged in training, consultation and the practice of managing and transforming conflict at home and abroad. We have alumni who are teaching at the college level; working in industry, the courts and other organizations, and in conflict zones, doing amazing work. That illustrates why Kennesaw State’s new school is poised for leadership in the field.” ACROSS THE CONFLICT SPECTRUM Kennesaw State’s conflict management programs stretch in multiple directions to address issues of conflict within families, communities, organizations and nations. Administrators note that the new school structure provides an opportunity to advance interdisciplinary scholarship and further connect academic departments and programs to expand knowledge and capabilities within the new school and across disciplines. The interdisciplinary faculty spans conflict management, international relations, anthropology, sociology, policymaking, peacekeeping, nonviolent problem solving, human rights, and it is broadening to include other disciplines. For example, a Children and Family Programs service that launched in February in partnership with the Department of Psychology will provide evidence-based behavioral treatment and workshops for children whose behaviors have caused conflicts with parents, teachers, siblings and peers. Allison C. Garefino serves as the program’s clinical director. The MSCM program has traditionally prepared students as mediators, providing them opportunities to be registered with local courts to mediate in civil and domestic disputes. At the same time, students in the program also learn international mediation, engage in humanitarian aid simulation and participate in annual study abroad programs in areas where conflicts exist. The 2017 program took faculty and students to Israel and Palestine in June. In 2015, Kennesaw State began offering a dual MBA/MSCM degree. “Mediators are problem solvers,” said Sherrill Hayes, associate director, and professor of political science. “Industry wants people to specialize and this collaboration offers a unique and highly-valued specialty. All conflict is local and international: the same problems that people have here, the people of Haiti and those during Hurricane Katrina had.” The same dichotomy of local to international conflict resolution is reflected in the Center for Conflict Management, which offers clients alternative dispute resolution (ADR) services to assist them in managing and transforming conflict. The Center has a long association with the Georgia Office of Dispute Resolution and conducts general mediation trainings for businesses and organizations, as well as more specialized trainings in domestic violence, health care and working with high-conflict people. Hayes noted that the Center also is conducting more research and doing more international mediation training, building on the expertise of faculty.” “Across our programs, we have 25 faculty specialists with a diverse range of expertise that represents a good balance of theory and practice in conflict management and dispute resolution,” Hayes said. “There are very few programs nationwide that have that.” THE SCHOLARSHIP OF CONFLICT MANAGEMENT Faculty serving the master’s and Ph.D. programs and those affiliated with the Center have contributed to the knowledge and understanding of conflict and conflict resolution through research and publication, making Kennesaw State a key contributor to Atlanta’s emergence as a “hub for conflict management,” Hayes said. Since 2015, faculty members have published nearly 40 articles in refereed journals and nearly a dozen books. Many have distinguished themselves in the forefront of publication and thought leadership. Some highlights: • Sue Raines, a professor of conflict management, is editor-in-chief of Conflict Resolution Quarterly, one of the discipline’s leading national journals. • Four members of Kennesaw State’s conflict management faculty and staff serve on the editorial board of the Journal of Peacebuilding and Development: Maia Carter Hallward, professor of Middle East politics, as a co-executive editor); Charity Butcher, professor of political science, and Brandon Lundy, associate director of academic programs and associate professor of anthropology, as associate editors; and Nicole Connelly, communications professional, as managing editor. • As of March 2017, three School of Conflict Management, Peacebuilding and Development faculty members are on the Fulbright specialist roster, which makes them eligible for projects with 150 host institutions around the globe. During their three-year tenures, Joseph Bock, Sherrill Hayes and Brandon Lundy may be selected for projects at institutions seeking their credentials. Bock previously was a Fulbright scholar in Greece, working to help municipal governments plan a response to the refugee migrant crisis. • Kennesaw State University’s School of Conflict Management, Peacebuilding, and Development is hosting the 2017 Summer Institute on Conflict Management in Higher Education, the premier convention of faculty, staff, and administrators of universities, community colleges, technical colleges, and other higher education institutions on conflict resolution. • The Center for Conflict Management is conducting research on conflict and conflict-related subjects through teams working in the management of conflict across these areas: migration, immigration and cross-border disputes; electoral; environmental, racial and ethnic; international business conflict and negotiation; and indigenous conflict resolution mechanisms. INFLUENTIAL PARTNERSHIPS In its practice of conflict management and engagement locally and globally, faculty members and administrators in the School of Conflict Management and the College of Humanities and Social Sciences have worked in partnership with many organizations and agencies. Among them: • Peacekeeping & Stability Operations Institute, U.S. Army War College • Tai Solarin University of Education (TASUED), Ijebu Ode, Nigeria • KofiAnnan International Peacekeeping Training Centre, Ghana • Africa European Academy of Otzenhausen, Germany • University of Lagos, Nigeria • CIFAL, United Nations, Institute for Training and Research • U.S. Institute of Peace • Cox Family Enterprise Center • Legal Aid of Cobb County • The Forage Center for Peacebuilding and Humanitarian Education, Inc. A SEAT AT THE NEGOTIATING TABLE Somewhere between frigid nights of 40 below zero and Siberian winds whipping through the ger he lived in as a Peace Corps volunteer in Mongolia and his matriculation in Kennesaw State’s Master of Conflict Management program, Brandon Marlow said “a switch came on.” In fact, he said he remembers the precise moment he knew the skills and experience he acquired during his stint as a Peace Corps volunteer from 2008 to 2010, and subsequently as a recruiter for its Southeast regional office, were precursors to “his calling” to be a mediator. When he sought out service in the Peace Corps, Marlow said he had two goals: to pursue a master’s in peace studies and to work in international government service. He set his sights on Asia and waited nine months for an assignment as an English teacher and trainer in the Central Mongolian town of Khujirt to come along. Marlow, who says previous volunteer work teaching refugees English as a second language in Atlanta compelled his interest in the Peace Corps, is proud of his accomplishments. As a volunteer, he worked to build the town’s first computer lab where 150 school children learned English weekly. As a recruiter working with colleges in Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, Alabama, and Mississippi from 2010 to 2013, he generated more than 300 Peace Corps applications. Still, following the path of peace studies and international service, he started looking at peace studies programs. “I looked at a lot of programs,” said Marlow, “but when I went on Kennesaw State’s website, its ad for the master’s in conflict management program had the word ‘peace’ written in many languages. The words ‘practical peace building’ and ‘skills and tools to resolve conflict’ also jumped out at me.” Marlow, who holds a Bachelor of Science in public relations, enrolled in the master’s program in 2012 as a Paul D. Coverdell Returning Peace Corps Volunteer Fellow. Soon after, he says, the path to his future unfolded. “The most significant part of the program was the introductory mediation course that taught the basic civil mediation training approved for mediators handling court cases,” Marlow said. “The alternative dispute resolution (ADR) classes that covered dispute resolution processes such as negotiation, mediation and arbitration were very impressive too. Being in a room with people and helping them resolve their disputes, that’s when the switch went off. That’s when I found my passion.” Brandon Marlow set his sights on federal labor mediation, especially settling disputes between labor unions and companies, as a niche to pursue. His current position as a labor organizer with the American Federation of Teachers in Cleveland, Ohio, places him solidly on that path. He organizes charter school teachers interested in forming unions, and also is a shop steward for his staff union, negotiating with the organization. That squares with Marlow’s goal of working for the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service, an independent U.S. government agency that provides mediation services to industry, community and government agencies worldwide. “FMCS requires that you work five years for a union, Marlow said. “So, I’m working on getting to the negotiation table and really enjoying what I do in the meantime.” A PASSION FOR PEACE “Whether in war or peacetime, research is required to be prepared and effective,... The military’s most senior officers often go [into conflict situations] as U.N. peace keepers/observers...” Seeing the chaos and distress of so many people displaced in the aftermath of the catastrophic 2010 earthquake in Haiti altered the course of Prenaya Rana’s life. A former lieutenant in Nepal‘s elite Army commando force and a July 2016 graduate of Kennesaw State’s Ph.D. program in international conflict management, Rana now teaches peace studies part time at KSU and works full time as a benefits supervisor for Georgia Legal Aid Services. In May, Rana returned to Nepal for a second year as a consultant of Kennesaw State’s Center for Conflict Management to the Nepalese Military Academy. He is training Academy cadets and master’s degree-seeking military officers from Nepal and around the world how to apply research methods in their work. Shortly after his service in Haiti, where he served as part of a U.N. peacekeeping force, Rana decided to resign from his seven-year military career and come to the U.S. to further his study of peace and conflict. He enrolled in a master’s program in Global Development and Peace at the University of Bridgeport in Connecticut, where he soon began volunteering with the International Institute of Connecticut, working with refugees and displaced people. “That was a turning point in my life,” said Rana. “I knew then that this is what I needed to do and what I wanted to do. I had found my passion.” From 2010 to 2012, Rana said he was “passionately engaged” in his work with refugees from conflict zones all over the world. However, he said, “Refugees face many challenges, and it’s not always easy to communicate them from the program level to the policy level.” He reasoned that a Ph.D. in peace studies and conflict management would help elevate his understanding and his potential to make a difference. “The coursework in Kennesaw State’s Ph.D. program is so well set up that each student gets to learn the various dimensions of conflict management and the research component, said Rana, who enrolled in the program’s third cohort in fall 2012. “I took full advantage of the international components of the program through study abroad with the Division of Global Affairs and an opportunity through the Cater Center to help monitor elections and local governance in Nepal. I thoroughly enjoyed my experience in the program.” The understanding of conflict and peace are central to all of Rana’s work. Training military officers in research methods, for example, means helping prepare them for day-to-day operations, career advancement, security analysis and international peacekeeping. “Whether in war or peacetime, research is required to be prepared and effective,” Rana said. “The military’s most senior officers often go [into conflict situations] as U.N. peace keepers/observers. And they do research through observation. So, an understanding of research methods is vital to their ability to report back to the U.N. what is going on and what must be done.” In teaching students of his intro to peace studies class, Rana orchestrated “Badges and Tassels,” a soccer match between students and members of Kennesaw State’s police force. “It sensitizes each side to the humanity of the other side,” said Rana. “And that is a precondition for peace.”
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