The Association for Conflict Resolution
of Greater New York
The CUNY Dispute Resolution Center at John Jay College
NYC-DR Roundtable Breakfast
Thursday, April 7, 2016
WORDS CAN BE WINDOWS OR WALLS
How the Dialogue Road Map Stimulates Change
In 2007, the UK government awarded the Centre for Peaceful Solutions £500,000 to develop a model of mediation for violent crime in an area of London where gun crime had gone out of control. With nothing more than a start-up organization, a small group of interested community members and a very big idea based on what she had learned from Marshall Rosenberg, Maria Arpa engaged the community in a change process. This led to the development of the Dialogue Road Map. In this presentation, Maria will share her model for social change, community engagement and working through conflict beyond the standard models of mediation and restorative justice.
Maria Arpa is the Founder and
Chief Executive of the Centre for Peaceful Solutions. At a time when the mediation industry’s general opinion was that mediation was not possible when there had been physical violence, Maria set out to disprove that theory. With that in mind, in 2006, and as a direct response to the increase in drive-by shootings on her road, Maria set up The Centre for Peaceful Solutions; a charity dedicated to helping people resolve conflict without the use of violence. She convinced her (now) husband, David, to run the charity alongside her so they could ‘be the change they hope to see in the world’.
Maria created the Dialogue Road Map - a communications tool designed to break down barriers and get engagement when people are resistant, hostile, angry, violent or resentful – and then developed a model of mediation for Violent Crime. Maria came to understand how conflict is at the heart of destructive behaviour and that a change in attitude could be the source of positive change. Maria has chosen to devote her life to sharing this learning with people who have fewer options in life. She works in prisons, schools and communities.
Coming from the slums and born to immigrant parents, her background has been key in her ability to connect with ‘hard to reach’ people. Maria’s expertise is in building rapport quickly and teaching others even when they have limited capacity to learn.
Both her books, ‘The Heart of Mindful Relationships’ and ‘Mindfulness at Work’ have gone into reprint. She is also a family, civil and workplace mediator, described by the Civil Mediation Council as the 'best of the best'.