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VIEW BIOS OF TUESDAY SPEAKERS

9:00am
MEMBERSHIP SESSION - Amplifying Your Business & Growing Your Future

This session is open to ACR-GNY members and those interested in learning more about membership! 

Speakers:

  • Genesis Fisher, Esq.
  • Natalie Armstrong-Motin
  • Theodore Cheng

Moderator:

  • Ingrid Scholze, ACR-GNY Vice President of Membership

10:15am
STUDENT PRESENTATIONS - BLOCK #1

When Students Engage in Conflict Resolution and Peacebuilding in America
(Coco Wen)

This presentation will explore the role of students in conflict resolution and peacebuilding, highlighting the Community Relations Service (CRS) of the Department of Justice as a model for engagement. The CRS's mission to mediate conflicts related to race, color, national origin, gender, and other issues through facilitation, mediation, and training offers a blueprint for student involvement. Programs like School-SPIRIT and Campus-SPIRIT exemplify how students can actively participate in resolving conflicts within educational settings by identifying issues and developing actionable solutions. Moreover, the internship opportunities at CRS provide a pathway for college students and recent graduates to gain hands-on experience in conflict resolution, further aligning with the conference theme of expanding the field and future of conflict resolution. This focus not only showcases practical applications of CRS's work but also demonstrates how students can contribute to and benefit from the growing field of conflict resolution.

A New Way to Discuss Collaboration: A Practical Application of the Social Interdependence Theory
(Amanda Perez Leder, MPH)

Last year, Amanda worked with a large NYC non-profit to co-design and facilitate the first retreat for a newly-formed group of 80 leaders. Through conversations with several group members, she observed a vocal and shared interest among leaders to deeply understand each other’s work and identify strategic ways to collaborate, refer and support clients across their programs.

Amanda identified a conflict framework that would be helpful to apply and undergird the retreat’s purpose: social interdependence theory. This theory was originally established and informed by Morton Deutsch (2014), and then greatly elaborated by David Johnson and Roger Johnson (2011). Since learning about the contributions of these scholars and practitioners during Columbia University courses, it is a theory she's been unable to “unsee” because of its applicability to many organizational cultures. The theory posits that groups are socialized along a competitive to collaborative spectrum, and if we don't intentionally foster collaboration, many groups will default to competitive orientations and behaviors. This presentation will discuss how to translate the social interdependence theory into leadership development initiatives that enhance trust across groups and foster healthy conflict practices. This will allow conference attendees to experience a new collaboration strategy built upon an established framework.

Nine Lives of Curiosity: Overcoming Conflict with the Cat
(Azida Ahmad Azmi)

This session challenges the cautionary tale that warns against the perils of inquisitiveness, inviting participants to reconsider curiosity not as a risk but as a vital tool for understanding and resolving conflicts.

Through the Inquiry-Advocacy Paradigm, this session explores a compelling approach that merges curiosity (inquiry) with a dedication to personal values (advocacy), aiming to mend divides and nurture impactful conversations. We will unveil a versatile framework designed to guide you through challenging or uncomfortable dialogues, adaptable for personal use or as a group activity within your organization. The MEOW Framework—comprising My Story, External Story, Openness to Integration, Ways to Unite—acts as your guide to navigating complex interactions. This method incorporates role-play and engaging dialogues, encouraging participants to adopt different perspectives by exchanging identities. This experiential process is crafted to deepen understanding of conflict's intricate layers, fostering empathy and collaboration.

This session beckons the bold, the curious, and anyone keen to dismantle the walls of discord with the keys of curiosity and openness. Here, you'll not just hear about theoretical concepts; you'll live them, embody them, and perhaps, be transformed by them.

Are you ready to shift perspectives, to see curiosity not as the foe but the ally of understanding? Join us and pave your way toward genuine dialogue and enduring resolutions. Get ready to challenge conventional wisdom, embrace curiosity, and unlock new pathways for conflict resolution!

Where We Are Going and Where We Want to Go: Artificial Intelligence and Virtual Conferencing in Labor Arbitration and Mediation
(Patrick J. Mehler)

Labor arbitrators, mediators, and advocates have undergone significant technological changes in conducting their work since the pandemic. Shortly into the pandemic, a survey of members of the National Academy of Arbitrators analyzed how remote and virtual conferencing transformed the work of arbitrators and mediators. Since the end of the pandemic’s restrictions, and the emergence of easily accessible generative artificial intelligence, the views of advocates and neutrals have evolved drastically and variably on technology’s role in the future of labor arbitration and mediation. Through dozens of interviews and further analysis of the NAA data, my research explores both where those in the field believe arbitration and mediation are headed and where neutrals and advocates want the field to go.

Labor arbitration and mediation are one portion of the field of conflict resolution. However, neutrals’ and advocates’ attitudes surrounding changing technology reflect where this section of alternative dispute resolution is heading and what other parts of the conflict resolution field should look out for. Further, technology’s potential to expand the accessibility of conflict resolution careers to a more diverse and newer generation of peacemakers presents an opportunity to truly diversify the field. Through interviews on neutrals’ and advocates’ perspectives, data analyses, and established literature, my research both provokes novel ideas and builds upon established beliefs around technology’s role in conflict resolution and the changes yet to come.

Life Is Heavier than Death: An Analysis of the Humanitarian Approach to  Nuclear Disarmament
(Antje-Anniek Hipkins)

My presentation will be regarding my undergraduate thesis which I recently completed this past December. The questions I aimed to answer through writing my thesis were these: 1) What does the shift in the dialogue surrounding nuclear disarmament towards including more humanitarian arguments rather than purely strategic arms control perspectives mean to different sectors of the movement? 2) What impact has the change made in the international conversation about nuclear disarmament? 3) How might this shift have enabled previously excluded groups from becoming involved in the movement toward abolishing nuclear weapons? I chose to focus on the humanitarian approach to disarmament due to its constructivist nature. This approach amplifies the human and environmental cost of certain indiscriminate weapons, and in my thesis, I specifically focused on nuclear weapons. I sent surveys to several activists who have been involved in both humanitarian nuclear disarmament and humanitarian disarmament aimed at eliminating other indiscriminate weapons systems and gained significant insight into the successes of this approach to disarmament.

Humanitarian disarmament differentiates itself from traditional arms control approaches due to its emphasis on the consequences of various types of weapons on both human life and the well-being of the environment. At its core, this project places into question the idea that disarmament can be achieved without meaningful and widespread human-focused input, which would require difficult conversations about militarized conflict. I interrogate the idea of security predicated on the ability to annihilate one’s opponent and posit that this notion keeps us in a constant state of weaponized tension. This topic connects to the conference theme by arguing that without nuclear abolition and the creation of a more constructive conflict resolution model on a global scale, a real and credible threat looms over all of our futures.

The Power of Film and Media in Conflict Resolution
(Lizyvette Ramos, Ph.D.(c) & Alexia Georgakopoulos, Ph.D.)

The power of film is that it not only provides humans with a visceral experience when we watch atrocities of war and injustices to innocent humans, but films also provide humans with a pause to consider alternatives as we reimagine conflict from a different trajectory with a future that includes peace and conflict transformation. This session will allow participants to gain insight into how to approach films and media from the positive side in that they offer people an opportunity to learn and that people themselves have the agency to support the change they want to see. Films/movies/media can spawn peace by leveraging a movement, resistance, or perhaps a full revolution. The session will display excerpts of powerful films/movies/media that derive from actual footage or real stories of conflict that have inflicted the lives of many innocent people, including our most vulnerable populations. The session will make a case that films/movies/media can provide a platform to teach peace, conflict resolution, and conflict transformation when done to inspire change and peacebuilding. The session will provide films/movies/media as sources for helping each person understand that it is the time to take a stand to support respect, empathy, diversity, equity, belonging, and inclusion.

Q&A

12:25pm
Linking Affordances Perspectives to Collaboration and Conflict of Hybrid Virtual Teams
(Yeju Choi)

Many organizations often use hybrid work policies, which mean that team members collaborate with each other via both face-to-face interactions and information and communication technologies (ICT). Although this policy is to mitigate challenges of fully virtual teams, this new norm presents unique challenges to team collaboration and conflict. Focusing on the interaction between humans and the features of technology, the theoretical framework of affordances can provide a unique insight on why people use the same technology in different ways or use different technologies in similar ways. Using this perspective, this study examines the role of ICT in the context of team collaboration and conflict in hybrid virtual teams. This session will share the findings of this research and share strategies to address the challenges associated with hybrid virtual teams.

1:05pm
Hard of Hearing Mediators & How to Be Heard
(Liz Kent, Esq. & Jess Kent)

Join a Buffalo-based mother-daughter mediator duo for a dynamic discussion covering 2 topics: best practices for mediations with 1) a mediator who is hard of hearing and 2) hearing impaired parties. How does the ability/disability spectrum and language fluency affect power imbalances between parties in mediation? How can we adapt our websites to be accessible, our office processes to be accommodating, and our mediations to be helpful for folks who experience deafness? This interactive presentation requires active participation, so please attend and contribute to the conversation about mediations with people who are hard of hearing.

2:00pm
STUDENT PRESENTATIONS - BLOCK #2

Unsheltered Resilience & Spatial Policing
(Dante Dallago)

Due to climate change, extreme heat is continuing to rise and becoming a permanent fixture in many climates. One of the most vulnerable populations to extreme heat is unsheltered people. My thesis examines the effect extreme heat has on this population by examining the change in the spatial policing that they and the aid groups that serve them endure during summer months. I conducted my research utilizing a case study. My research focuses on the Zone, an unsheltered encampment in the downtown of Phoenix, Arizona. Through a combination of interviews, legal analysis, media analysis, and a site observation, I conclude that there is a relationship between a rise in extreme heat and a rise in the spatial policing of unsheltered people and aid groups that serve them, as well as a rise of mistrust between community actors involved in the Zone.

As climate change will continue to put pressure on humanitarian crises, expanded models of conflict resolution will be required. Greater attention must be placed on mutual aid systems as community resilience and cooperation need to grow in the face of the climate crisis.

Addressing Broken Promises and Actualizing Equality in South Africa: Born Free Perspectives on Reconciliation, Race, Transition, and Peace
(Akosua Akuoko)

Through the use of qualitative research with South African youth and subject matter experts, this paper seeks to highlight a diverse spectrum of youth centered perspectives regarding South Africa’s first free generation and its post-Apartheid transitional process. This thesis begins by establishing the importance of youth and transitional justice when attempting to build forward-looking sustainable peace and furthermore, situates this notion in broader human rights scholarship and literature. Subsequent chapters provide qualitative analysis of interviews conducted in 2023 with 3 South Africans aged 18-29 and 2 experts in the field.

The findings and analysis of previously conducted interviews reflect an array of opinions with three main themes: racism and failed past accountability; the lack of implementation and intuitional trust; and grave need for economic restructuring. This research and its findings aim to thicken the already vast knowledge regarding South Africa’s transition by providing qualitative and inductive analysis focused on youth who are often under heard.

Exploring Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) in International Organizations: Going Beyond the Basics
(Faria Rashid)

Though many organizations today have policies, procedures, and protocols to protect employees from sexual exploitation and abuse at work, most still have nothing to address discrimination, injustices, and biases that employees face because of their racial, ethnic, and national backgrounds. Moreover, the idea of safeguarding still has a narrow scope limited only to preventing harassment that is sexual, mostly ignoring the multiple discrimination people can face due to their intersectional identities.

Not enough research is available that shares data, case studies, and comparative analysis to show the type, frequency, and intensity of discrimination employees face based on their identities and backgrounds. For example, what group of people face the highest number of discriminations and biases, how is that compared to another group of people from a different ethnic and racial background, and what other elements change the dynamics when they intersect with race and ethnicity among the employees? It is tough to find research evidence that answers these questions across different organizations within the same sector/industry or across various industries, countries, and cultures.

Organizations, institutions, and corporations rarely have any mechanisms developed for employees to notify the system or leadership or file an official complaint about any discrimination they face compared to their colleagues from different racial, ethnic, and national backgrounds. Most organizations do not maintain any qualitative and /or quantitative database to record and document such incidents or concerns that are not sexual harassment or that are not only sexual harassment but, beyond that, to compile and analyze them to develop better policies and practices to address such issues in the future. Instead, many organizations are guilty of maintaining and even sometimes promoting endogamy; through that, they encourage ethnocentrism and nepotism and support the continuation of imperialist or colonial mindsets, attitudes, and practices. Even in contexts where official racism is not practiced, unofficial racism is common. Considering the complexities and adverse impact of these issues, it is high time that organizations take necessary actions to address them to create safer, more diverse, and more inclusive spaces and provide equitable platforms for everyone.

The paper will explore how exploitations, abuse, injustices, and discrimination occur within organizations that do not fall under sexual harassment, but which fall under racial and ethnic biases. The paper will also propose recommendations for addressing this issue immediately through mediation, facilitation, and ombuds practices. At the same time, they work collaboratively toward developing effective policies and procedures to prevent and protect their employees from all kinds of biases.

Arbitral Institutes: The Efficacy of Cybersecurity and Diversity in Comparison to Litigation
(Dr. Chinwe Egbunike-Umegbolu)

The process of arbitration in the modern-day context is extolled in terms of relevance to resolving disputes between various entities of a diverse nature. Its relevance has developed due to various parties seeking a more convenient and less complicated alternative to arriving at a conclusion mutually agreeable to everybody. Questions have been asked as to its simplicity, particularly its affordability, in light of the rising cost of the litigation process. It is worthwhile exploring how relevant the process of arbitration is to various entities involved in discord.

The paper explores the intricacies of the arbitration process, looking at its procedures, features, elements, advantages and challenges. By examining these intricacies, it is possible to determine if there is any significant role the practice of arbitration has to play in international commercial transactions. If one is to understand the affordability of the arbitration process, one has to understand how it works.

Hence, the work scrutinises the importance of the arbitration process in conflict management in the contemporary world and emerging technologies that are changing the way disputes are resolved, such as online dispute resolution (ODR) platforms. It also explores the potential impact of these technologies on the legal profession, including the effectiveness of arbitration vis-a-vis litigation and the reasons behind arbitral institutions worldwide changing their rules to meet the expectations of the disputants while exploring the effectiveness of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in arbitration and then draws a useful comparison between the present and the past, where the arbitration process was neither significant nor formalised.

It explores the modern-day perspective of this dispute-resolution process and how arbitral institutes handle cybersecurity and diversity amongst its panellists emphasising the importance of addressing these issues to ensure fairness and effectiveness in resolution. The employs diverse methods of data collection, such as podcasting, comparative and doctrinal analysis, as well as qualitative data collection tools, all of which are socio-legal in nature. The conclusion or findings point out that there are factors that can facilitate faster, smother and better conflict management through the arbitration process. To be precise, there are occasions where arbitration is best suited for the settlement of a dispute, especially considering the cost implications when compared to litigation.

This conference aims to explore the ever-expanding field of conflict resolution and its various strategies for tackling future challenges. Thus, it is essential to consider the significance of cybersecurity and diversity in this context. By examining their effectiveness in comparison to traditional litigation, the research /presentation will make a unique contribution to knowledge in various jurisdictions, especially Nigeria, where ADR has low patronage. It is worth noting that business innovations and laws in Nigeria are inspired by Western jurisdictions, particularly the U.K. and the U.S. Lagos was the first to adopt Lord Woolf's reform in 2004, and it was also the first to replicate the multi-door courthouse founded by Harvard Law Lecturer-Professor Frank Sander. Therefore, any recommendations put forth in this presentation/research will be embraced and implemented in Nigeria.

How Art Songs Could Serve a Pivotal Role in Building Sustainable Peace in Divided Societies: Lessons Driven from Korean Art Songs Diplomacy
(Seung Gyo Kim)

I wanted to explore the genre “Art songs” in which the history of a country is deeply rooted as its narrative, poetry, turned into a song that becomes a form of the recital, both singers and accompanist perform together, driven by the genre, “Lied” in Germany. To the degree that a distinctive language Korean transformed into the universal language of music, it leverages even greater to the extent for which narratives can be shared dramatically.

I would like to take a further step this time to expand the concept of how storytelling symposiums equipped with Korean Art songs, as a foreign public diplomacy tool, can contribute to a sustainable peace-building model in the U.S. context, where both social and cultural identities of people were mingled up together including immigrants and international students.

In the line of multiple multicultural music concerts, or peace concerts on the theme of condemning ongoing wars, they lack the dynamics between performers and audiences, rather one-sided stages. However, I would like to take a further step to which performers and audiences could share the stories that Art Songs already include the stories through which the salience of the performances goes on by both singers and accompanists. This could be the very first approach in the conflict resolution field, to combine Vocal Arts Art songs in the context of peacebuilding initiative.

The Narrative Stories and Personal Journeys of Conflict Resolution Entrepreneurs: Evolving Career Pathways and Determinants of Business Success
(Eileen Petzold-Bradley)

This presentation aims to explore the dynamic intersection of conflict resolution and entrepreneurship, providing a comprehensive view of the evolving landscape in this field.

As the field of conflict resolution adapts to contemporary challenges, it concurrently offers new and uncharted opportunities for entrepreneurs. This presentation will share insights from a meticulously conducted research study, immersing itself in the experiences of seasoned conflict resolution entrepreneurs. Through qualitative interviews and narrative inquiry, the presentation endeavors to capture the rich and nuanced stories of established professionals within the conflict resolution domain.

The audience can anticipate a detailed exposition of findings, encompassing valuable insights, best practices, common themes, and core competencies essential for success in entrepreneurship within the conflict resolution landscape. By delving into the entrepreneurial paths of these practitioners, the presentation seeks to unravel the intricacies of their journeys, offering practical guidance for emerging professionals harboring aspirations of venturing into entrepreneurship.

Moreover, the presentation will extend its scope to the broader implications of this research. It will explore how education and practice within the conflict resolution domain must proactively adapt to stay relevant in the face of evolving challenges. The dynamic nature of conflicts and their resolution demands a forward-thinking approach to education, ensuring that both theory and practice remain in tandem with the demands of the future.

In essence, this presentation is not just an exposition of research findings but a proactive engagement with the overarching theme of the conference. It contributes to the ongoing dialogue about the future of conflict resolution by shedding light on entrepreneurial dimensions within the field. The insights shared will not only enrich our understanding of the present state of conflict resolution but will also serve as a guide for shaping its future trajectory. As we navigate the complexities of conflicts in the years to come, the role of entrepreneurship in conflict resolution is a critical aspect that this presentation seeks to unravel and illuminate.

Q&A

ACR-GNY'S 2024 ANNUAL CONFERENCE IS GENEROUSLY SUPPORTED BY:

PRESENTING SPONSORS

 

CONFERENCE SPONSORS

FULL DAY SPONSOR (JUNE 5)


SCHOLARSHIP SPONSORS

Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law - Kukin Program for Conflict Resolution

Center for Dispute Settlement

Association for Conflict Resolution - Greater New York Chapter

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