During the first week of August 2010, Dr. Jay Rothman and Brandon Sipes participated in an annual Strategic Planning Meeting for the not for profit organization TRANSFORM, with which they have been developing a new method for conflict engagement called The Kumi Method.

TRANSFORM is a non-governmental and not-for-profit organisation established in 2007. The organisation is committed to promoting political, economic and social development, inter-cultural tolerance and understanding, and the values of scientific rigour and ideological neutrality in general and in dealing with conflict, in particular.

The organization focuses its work on areas which suffer from protracted violent conflict, most notably the Middle East as well as on conflict prevention and transformation in Europe, Sub-Saharan Africa and Asia.

Rothman and  Sipes will continue work on Transform’s project entitled “Beyond Managing the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict,” the purpose of which is to utilize three methods for social change and conflict engagement (The Institute for Cultural Affairs: UK; The Institute for Integrative Conflict Transformation and Peacebuilding; and The ARIA Group) to develop a new approach to conflict engagement.

Additionally, Sipes has been leading the effort at authoring and editing the manual for this new method: compiling years of documents, learning from workshops, and input from project partners and facilitators.  At the end of August, Sipes will also travel to Berlin, Germany to train European facilitators on The Kumi Method, with a focus on Islamaphobia and Islamic integration into Europe.

Full Description of the project here.

ARIA Facilitates One Day Session for The Springfield Foundation

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The Springfield Foundation, a community foundation in Springfield, Ohio, invited Brandon Sipes to provide a one day training for their staff covering the basics of convening community groups.  The training, attended by all staff members of the foundation, covered the design and preparation of community dialogue sessions, facilitation methods and skills, and how to deal with conflict throughout the process.  It ended with the staff planning their next exploratory steps in this direction.

The Springfield Foundation is Clark County’s center for philanthropy, where Clark Countians make a difference every day. Founded in 1948, the Springfield Foundation has helped generations of Clark Countians create a charitable legacy.

They provide a variety of charitable fund and gift options to help Clark Countians make a difference. Families, individuals, and businesses have established more than 230 charitable funds that they invest and administer in accordance with the donors’ wishes. Together, these donors, along with the Foundation’s competitive grantmaking programs, contribute nearly $2 million each year to support nonprofits in Clark County and beyond.

The Foundation is committed to best supporting and serving Clark County and are eager to explore ways to connect deeply with residents and their needs.  This one day training provided them opportunity to further explore those interests by learning about how to best engage and motivate the public to address substantial community problems.

Click here for more information on The Springfield Foundation.

Dr. Rothman giving Keynote at Ecological Counseling conference

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Jay Rothman will be delivering a keynote address entitled “Fostering Empathy: Complementarity between Ecological Counseling and Creative Conflict Engagement” at the third annual Ecological Counseling conference.  The conference is being held at the Child Focus Training Center in Clermont County on April 8th and 9th, 2010.

Ecological counseling is an approach and practice developed by the University of Cincinnati Counseling Program.  The practice is defined as a “strengths-based, ecological approach to human psychological and emotional well-being in urban schools and communities, especially aimed at the city of Cincinnati.”

Click here for the program website.

Click here for the conference brochure.

Brandon Sipes and Andrew Hendrixson present “Art as Intervention”

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Brandon Sipes recently presented a paper entitled “Art as Intervention” at Point Loma Nazarene University’s “Nurturing the Prophetic Imagination” Conference.  Sipes and Andrew Hendrixson, a colleague in the MFA program at the University of Florida, have been exploring the role of the arts in conflict and post-conflict societies.

This paper was an exploration of the possibilities inherent in nurturing the arts in these societies, as well as a hypothesis of the power of art to cause a “disruption” in the despair and violence so prevalent in conflicted societies.

Jay Rothman speaking at Procter and Gamble leadership training this month!

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On April 21st, Dr. Jay Rothman will be the special guest speaker at Procter and Gamble’s 2010 Leadership Training.  Dr. Rothman will be delivering a keynote address titled “The Power of Why:  Enabling my goals and building alignment with others,” and will also lead the session “Enabling great teamwork even when we disagree.”

Rothman’s experience as a conflict mediator and consultant to many corporate, educational and non-profit organizations convinced the event coordinators to invite him to address their emerging leaders.

Greater Springfield Moving Forward launched with support from The ARIA Group

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The ARIA Group has joined with Fred Bartenstein and Associates to develop and implement “Greater Springfield Moving Forward,” a community wide visioning and planning initiative in Springfield, Ohio.

This initiative is spearheaded by the Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce, the city, Clark County, local business and labor leaders, as well as the Springfield News-Sun.  Fred Bartenstein, an experienced organizational consultant, is acting as lead planner and working with a large steering group comprised of local community leaders.  The ARIA Group is providing support through use of its online Action Evaluation system designed to elicit goals and visions from large numbers of people.

For a full view of this project and its potential, visit the Springfield New Sun website.