MONTHLY ROUNDTABLE BREAKFAST
The Association for Conflict Resolution
of Greater New York
The CUNY Dispute Resolution Center at John Jay College
Coffee and networking 8:00 AM.
Program begins promptly at 8:30 AM.
THE RAINBOW IN THE CLOUD:
Revealing the Invisible through a Relational Orientation to Conflict
From building democratic school environments, leading inter-group dialogues in Israel, to mediating commercial and community disputes and teaching conflict resolution, Tzofnat’s primary ambition has been to nurture and support learning from conflicts and positive human connection. Conflict resolution processes like mediation hold a potential to transform the way we engage together in the world. Nevertheless, mediation and other ADR methods are often applied as mere mechanisms to contain, control or resolve conflicts. Tzofnat’s doctoral dissertation joins theory and practice in an attempt to explain her emphasis on a relational perspective on conflicts, especially in her work in democratic environments. To show the advantages of stressing the relational underpinnings of conflict, she explores the implications of the Western, individualistic, and hierarchical social infrastructure we live in on how we see the self, the role of the other, and the quality of our relationships. Drawing from two seemingly contradicting lenses, she proposes an alternative to an individualistic understanding of conflict. One lens is a social constructionist theoretical orientation, and the other uses research on social psychological biases and defensive tendencies that become barriers to learning from conflicts. Together they offer a broader appreciation of the relational complexity, fluidity, and dynamics underlying conflict. Through these lenses, we are invited not only to look at immediate solutions but also to examine and transform positions of power and relational patterns. We could also use a relational stance to create and integrate Social Vessels (spaces and practices) to be incorporated into our daily life to nurture constructive relationships and support the transformation of divisive realities into a more collaborative, coactive, and dialogic existence.
TZOFNAT PELEG-BAKER has always been passionate about the intersection of conflict resolution, human development, and psychology. She has been a mediator and a conflict resolution professional since 1996. Developing and practicing a dialogic, relational approach to conflict, she taught a diverse range of individuals, including government officials, diplomats, religious leaders, executives, and students in the Middle East, Africa, Europe, and the USA. She was part of a team that initiated, created, and implemented pioneering educational environments based on democratic and participative values. As a Board member and a facilitator in non-profit organizations, she designed and led collaborative leadership programs, and facilitated inter-group dialogue between Israelis and Palestinians, Jews and Arabs, and secular and religious groups. At the Conflict Resolution and Mediation Center at the Israeli Ministry of Justice, Tzofnat served as the Head of the Strategic Department. Furthermore, she was a member of the national team that introduced Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) in Israel in diverse domains, including government, family, business, and restorative justice. Tzofnat speaks and has authored multiple articles on various topics including organizational sustainability through dialogic relationships, engaging and learning from conflicts, overcoming social-psychological barriers to constructive conflict engagement, understanding conflicts through the lens of complexity theories, reflective models for improving expertise and decision-making and the attainment of social-psychological goals in mediation, and conflict management systems. Tzofnat earned an M.A in Communications from Indiana University and an M.A. in Psychology from Rutgers University, where she completed doctorate studies in psychology with focus on conflict resolution and mediation. She is currently writing her doctorate dissertation on conflict transformation, and teaching MBA students in negotiation and conflict resolution. Tzofnat is also a leading partner, representing Women Wage Peace-an Israeli grassroots movement, in the NY Tri-State area.