Conflict Resolution – There is a day for that!
Among all the other significant days on the calendar there is a Conflict Resolution Day. Not as well-known as when the Constitution was signed or Columbus Day, but it still exist and is still very young.
The United States Association for Conflict Resolution (ACR) decided to begin a celebration of Conflict Resolution on 20 October 2005. The purpose of this celebration was to educate people about different ways to resolve the disputes in their lives; create an awareness about constructive and positive methods of resolving conflicts; to encourage families, schools, businesses, communities, the legal system and governments to use a conflict resolution technique; to recognize the importance of a trained mediator or arbitrator and lastly to obtain a synergy through celebrations around the world on the same day.
The ACR’s Board of Directors, in March 2006 decided to designate the third Thursday in October as Conflict Resolution Day. For Conflict Resolution Day 2006, World Mediation Forum (WMF) joined ACR in sponsoring the day. Since then, conflict resolution is celebrated on the third Thursday of October by many. Although the event did not instantly go viral, it is a global event, intended to increase awareness of the various peaceful, non-violent methods of conflict resolution available, such as mediation, conciliation or arbitration. Activities throughout the world promote the concept of peaceful resolution to disputes that occur on a daily basis. In 2013, Governor Dayton signed a Proclamation for the State of Minnesota proclaiming October 14 – 20, 2013 as Conflict Resolution Week.
ACR chose a fall colored tree with its root showing as the logo for Conflict Resolution Day. The roots depict where the tree has started to grow from a seed. Now almost a decade from planting that seed it has grown into a tree that hosts colorful leaves which depict the various avenues available to individuals in order to resolve conflict. Those avenues are: Arbitration, conciliation, facilitation, mediation and negotiation. The tree is symbolic of the changes that occur and while changes take time the rewards are worth it. Like a tree, changes made will continue to produce beautiful results like the leaves each year.
Conflict is a normal part of life; the way in which the conflict is dealt with is what makes the difference. Often times, the perception is there must be a winner and a loser when there is a dispute. This is not a sporting event when two teams are competing against each other; it is normally a situation that is created because of a misunderstanding; misrepresentation or misperception between family members, neighbors, businesses and consumers.
With the winner – loser attitude the result is resentment and bad feelings that can create more problems at a later time. When disputing parties work together to resolve the dispute the outcome is a WIN – WIN for everyone involved. With the win-win attitude, conflicts are turned into opportunities to make things better. The win – win philosophy is the cornerstone of “conflict resolution.” When a person is part of a situation that is causing contradictory internal discord, it is time to address the catalyst for that discord.
After the Harvard Negotiation Project presented a book on conflict resolution in 1981, there have been numerous publications on the subject. It takes time for a tree to grow where it is strong enough to withstand the elements; as with conflict resolution it has taken over three decades to be accepted and practiced in almost every part of society.
In many schools around the world, teachers are trained to become better peacekeepers; workshops are available for students and parents to learn how to work out their problems in a nonviolent manner. The younger the child can learn how to deal with conflict; the better the child will be able to handle conflict as they develop into an adult.
There are organizations that specialize in conflict resolution, which are called upon to provide assistance to families, communities, businesses and even nations to help them work out their problems. In Minnesota there are six community mediation programs to serve the populace. Southern Minnesota Alternative Dispute Resolution Program/Rice County Dispute Resolution Program (SMADRP/RCDRP) serves everyone in the communities that make up Southern Minnesota.
In celebration of 16 October 2014, Conflict Resolution Day, SMADRP/RCDRP is holding a pictorial contest. Any student wishing to participate should submit their drawing to SMADRP/RCDRP, 1651 Jefferson Parkway, HS #125, Northfield, MN 55057. The picture must depict their interpretation of what conflict resolution means to the individual. All entries must be received by October 16th in order to qualify for an award.
If anyone is interested in learning more about Conflict Resolution, there will be workshops available in 2015 through local Community Education Organizations, Civic and Religious Organizations. If anyone needs immediate information, please contact the SMADRP/RCDRP Director, Debra Petersen, LPC at 507.664.3522; email@example.com or www.rcdrp.org.
The Third Thursday in October, this year which is Oct 16th is Conflict Resolution Day.
Please join the Southern Minnesota/Rice County Dispute Resolution Program (SM/RCDRP) and Association for Conflict Resolution (ACR) in celebrating this day. Conflict Resolution Day was conceived in 2005 by ACR to promote awareness of mediation, arbitration, conciliation and other creative methods and peaceful means to resolving conflict.
Share with your family, friends, business associates that this October 16th is a day when citizens choose to resolve their dispute in a respectful, constructive and positive manner.
If you have questions please contact Debra Petersen, Executive Director, SM/RCDRP at 507.664.3522 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.