October 15, 2011

ACR 2011 Annual Conference - Daily Recap #3 (Part 1)

Day two of ACR's 10th Annual Conference is now a wrap. From more Starbucks and a melon plate, to tomato and goat cheese soup shots, the food, the learning, and the connections continue to be exceptional this year! A huge congrats to ACR's hard working staff and Board of Directors for pulling together this opportunity to continually connect our field. 

Model Standards for Programs

Kicking the sessions off was a presentation for the first time of a new set of Model Standards for Mediator Certification Programs approved by the ACR Board of Directors earlier this week. The Standards, which set voluntary guidelines for "entities which have or wish to institute certification programs," have been an ambitious undertaking for ACR. As we review the Standards, NAFCM looks forward to engaging our network of community mediation programs to explore how these Standards may affect local centers that certify their volunteers, and what, if any, recommended modifications we may propose as ACR continually refines this living document. 

Community-Police Complaints

Next, was an informative presentation on a model program from the Western Justice Center on Citizen-Police conflicts. The presentation, titled: "Bridging Community-Police Divides: The Importance of Mediation and Dialogue to Peacefully Resolve Citizen Complaints," presented a solid example of how local community mediation programs can collaboratively engage local police departments to integrate mediation into an oftentimes high-tension, stereotype-laden, power balance-conscious conflicts. WJC's partnership with Pasadena Police Department represents a number of smart practices, including its eight-hour conflict skills training for officers, the ability to opt-in to mediation at multiple stages of citizen-police complaints (including pre-complaint filing mediation), engaging community forums, and WJC's commitment to continually evaluate and enhance the program's design and implementation.   

Mediators Beyond Borders International

Offering up a tasty selection of sweets, Mediators Beyond Borders introduced a full room to the organization's mission, leadership, and inspiring projects it performs around the world. MBB's focus on building and supporting communities' local capacity for conflict engagement is beautifully aligned with NAFCM's own mission to amplify peacemakers' voice, aggregate their wisdom, and advance our field. In fact, this synergy may open future doors for MBB/NAFCM collaboration as our respective organizations continue to explore new ways to support those in conflict. As you continue your own local work, I encourage you to also share your talents with MBB's global initiatives.

Afternoon and evening updates from the second day to follow...

In community,
Executive Director, NAFCM

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