Conflict exists everywhere—with friends and roommates, within the family, between nations—but is conflict inevitable? In this class we will explore the basic elements of conflict resolution, focusing on the process of Mediation. We will learn and observe the differences between mediation, negotiation, and court processes. We will examine which behaviors escalate conflicts, and which ones build lasting foundations of peace. Incorporated into this class is a certified sixteen-hour training in basic mediation skills, including active participation in role-plays. The training, if completed successfully, results in a certificate from the Bennington College Conflict Resolution Program. We will address throughout the class current conflicts around the world and how they are, are not, or might be resolved.
This class involves reading, discussion, training, research, and writing. Each student will write several short response papers as well as a final project examining how another “culture” approaches conflict and conflict resolution. All students are expected to actively participate in role-plays as part of the training, as well as class discussions.
Important note: Because this class is about conflict and conflict resolution, upsetting ideas may arise, both in the discussions and in the breakout role-plays; each student will alternate between disputant and co-mediator, and will deal with face to face communication. Be prepared to go beyond your comfort zone.