Past DRC Events

Past DRC Events


Make Talk Work™ An Exhibit by Dispute Resolvers in NYC

Song & Lyrics

The terrorist attacks on 9/11 challenged many to rethink the work that they do. For dispute resolvers in NYC, the importance of expanding the public’s awareness about the way dispute resolvers Make Talk Work™, has been the focus of numerous initiatives. For almost two years, the City University of New York Dispute Resolution Consortium, the Dispute Resolution Program at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, and the NYC Office of Administrative Trials and Hearings [OATH] have planned and constructed an Exhibit titled Dispute Resolvers in NYC Make Talk Work. The theme of the Exhibit reflects the core work of dispute resolvers, regardless of the context in which they work or the process used. Dozens of dispute resolvers along with a group of graphic artists worked long hours to conceptualize and construct displays that visually depict how dispute resolvers Make Talk Work.

Eight display cases have been installed focusing on how dispute resolvers Make Talk Work in each of the following eight contexts, with names of curators in parentheses: [1] Criminal justice (Maria Volpe) [2] School/youth (Susan Romer and Kathy Vaughan) [3] Government (Dorothy Lawrence) [4] ] International (Gary Carsel) [5] Family/health (Eleanor Tuomey and Dana Fenton) [6] Corporate/commercial (Irene Warshauer) [7] Community (Pat Haynes) [8] Employment/workplace (Sandy Sindel). The Exhibit also includes a poster size enlargement of a peer mediation postcard prepared by the NYC Commission on Human Rights for the Commission’s peer mediation initiative.

Additional features of the Exhibit include: Bookmarks with tips on how dispute resolvers help Make Talk Work™, a project funded by a grant from the Judicial, Arbitration and Mediation Services [JAMS] Foundation. Finally, the Association for Dispute Resolution of Northern California (ADRNC) has announced a contest for 30-second videos titled Words Not Weapons and the winning video will be submitted for consideration to the CUNY Dispute Resolution Consortium as a video display at the Make Talk Work™ Exhibit. Complete contest details are available at

Funding for the Exhibit was made possible by the Jewish Communal Fund, William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, and Jossey Bass Publishers.

The Exhibit Planning Committee was convened by Professor Maria Volpe of the Sociology Department and Dispute Resolution Program at John Jay College, and the Honorable Roberto Velez, Chief Administrative Law Judge of the NYC Office of Administrative Trials and Hearings. Sandy Sindel, Esq. of Golumb Sindel P.C. served as Exhibit Chair and is serving as Chair of the JAMS-funded Bookmark Project. Athena Vallerio-Hirschfeld of the University of New Mexico served as Visiting Artist. Additional graphic artists included Monica Kosciuczuk, NYC Human Rights Commission, John Yue, Barry Steinman, and Jane Volpe, NYC Department of Citywide Administrative Services, Oliver Hurt of Summit School, Ignition 13 staff, and Dong Tu. Special thanks to Daniel Weitz, Coordinator of the Office of Alternative Dispute Resolution of the NYS Unified Court System, Reinaldo Rivera, Regional Director, United States Department of Justice Community Relations Service, Michelle Melendez of the CUNY DRC, and Sharon Burde, International Mediation Consultant.

Countermemories: Envisioning Alternatives through Peacebuilding and the Arts

Exhibition and Artists’ Talks

Curator: Jill Strauss, Ph.D., Adjunct Assistant Professor, Dispute Resolution Program

International Artists: Khadija Baker and Mona Sharma

Events at John Jay College, 524 West 59th Street

November 5, 5:30 pm – 7:00 pm, Artists’ Talk by Khadija Baker. Co-sponsored by:  CUNY DRC and Middle Eastern Club, Location: L61. 

November 7,  8:00 am – 10:00 am, Artists’ Talk: Envisioning Alternatives through Peacebuilding and the Arts. Co-sponsored by CUNY DRC and ACRGNY Monthly NYC-DR Roundtable Breakfast.

Event at SUNY College at Old Westbury, Amelie A. Wallace Gallery sponsored by The Women’s Center at Old Westbury

November 6, 1:00 pm – 2:40 pm For directions to Old Westbury click on link.

Events at Alwan for the Arts, 16 Beaver Street, 4th Floor. Gallery hours are listed below:

November 6-9 Exhibition: CounterMemories: The Challenge of Restorative Justice Practices

November 6, 5:00 pm – 7:00 pm gallery will be open to the public

November 7, 1:00 pm – 6:00 pm gallery will be open to the public

November 8, 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm  Reception and Artists’ Talk

November 8, 5:00 pm – 9:00 pm gallery will be open to the public

November 9, 11:00 am – 3:00 pm gallery will be open to the public

Cops and Kids Conflict Resolution

Dialogue Program (“Cops and Kids”)

The Cops and Kids Program brings police and young people together in a neutral, respectful setting for conflict resolution skills training and a facilitated, structured dialogue focusing on the relationship between cops and kids.

Since 1994, the CUNY DRC and the Dispute Resolution Program at John Jay College in a unique partnership with the Westside Crime Prevention Program has been piloting the project with NYC officers from the 24th Precinct and students from two nearby middle schools. Nearly 240 NYC students have attended conflict resolution training sessions and participated in dialogue sessions with police. Similarly, dozens of police officers from the kids’ local precincts have had the opportunity to meet with young people, exposing them to the “person behind the badge.”

The Cops and Kids program received national attention when it was featured on the NBC Weekend Nightly News. The Cops and Kids Progam also appeared on Fox 5 Good Day New York and has been the subject of numerous articles in national and local newspapers.

The CUNY DRC has also received additional support from the NYS State Attorney General’s Juvenile Crime Prevention Program and the Allstate Foundation to expand the Cops and Kids Program to elementary schools as well as other middle schools.

For more information contact Dr. Maria R. Volpe, Convener, CUNY DRC at (212) 237- 8693.

Faculty Mediation and Facilitation Training

The goal of the CUNY Faculty Mediation Training (FMT) and the Faculty Facilitation Training (FFT) workshops is to train interested CUNY faculty in mediation and facilitation techniques in order to manage conflicts that occur in the classroom, effectively manage classroom discussions, and create a more positive, supportive environment for teaching and learning.  Over the last three years, the CUNY Faculty Development Program has awarded the CUNY DRC six grants totaling nearly $23,000 in support of the CUNY FMT and FFT.  Funds were used to train six separate groups of CUNY faculty during the 1996-97, 1997-98 and 1998-99 academic years.  Since 1996, over 180 participants from each of the twenty CUNY campuses were taught effective conflict resolution and problem solving skills to help enhance the classroom learning environment.

Lela Porter Love, Professor, Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law and J. Michael Keating, Jr., Director, Mediation Services, Mediation Consultants, Inc. served as the presenters during the interactive one-day workshops for the FMT.  Professor Love co-presented the Fall 1998 FFT with James Kornbluh, Mediation Coordinator, Center for Court Innovation and the Spring 1999 FFT with Joseph B. Stulberg, Professor, Ohio State University College of Law.  Each presenter is nationally renowned in the field of dispute resolution training, and the workshops focus on basic mediation skills, facilitation skills, principles, and techniques.  All the workshops are held at John Jay College of Criminal Justice.  While there will not be faculty mediation or facilitation training for the 1999-2000 academic year, we are hopeful that training sessions will be made available in the near future.  For more information contact the CUNY DRC at (212) 237-8692.

Days of Dialogue on Black – Jewish Relations

The New York Times Company Foundation awarded the City University of New York Dispute Resolution Consortium $30,000 for the next two years to support “Days of Dialogue on Black-Jewish Relations at CUNY”. This project will provide facilitated, constructive dialogue sessions on relations between members of the Black and Jewish communities at CUNY and NYC. The project will focus on John Jay College during the first year of funding, and will reach out to other CUNY campuses during year two. “Days of Dialogue on Black-Jewish Relations at CUNY” evolved out of the town meeting efforts which began in 1989 at John Jay College of Criminal Justice – CUNY.

The town meeting provides a structured, respectful setting for every member of the campus community to be heard and to ask questions. Based on the success of the town meetings at John Jay College, the CUNY DRC received numerous requests from the CUNY community to address more specific areas of concern through similarly constructive means. Borrowing from the town meeting process, Days of Dialogue on Black-Jewish Relations will provide fora for discussion on relations between these two important NYC communities in a safe, respectful, and structured environment.

The Role of CUNY Students in Fostering Intergroup Relations in the Next Millennium

As part of its overall mission to further the constructive management of intergroup relations, The City University of New York Dispute Resolution Consortium is hosting an event on November 12, 1999 entitled “The Role of CUNY Students in Fostering Intergroup Relations in the Next Millennium”, which will be the starting point of a series of activities for CUNY students that will foster opportunities for safe, ongoing dialogues, networking, and strategic planning for respectful interactions in New York City.  These activities will also provide the students with useful conflict resolution skills that can be readily used in managing difficult conversations which constantly surface in urban, culturally diverse settings.  The event will include interactive workshops that will provide opportunities for students to enhance their abilities to manage complicated urban intergroup relations.

This program is a direct outgrowth of the highly successful conference held on November 20, 1998, entitled “The Role of the University in Fostering Interethnic Coexistence on Campuses, in Communities, and Beyond” which was co-sponsored by the Abraham Fund and supported by Manhattan Borough President C. Virginia Fields, who also gave welcoming remarks.  The enthusiasm expressed for continuing the dialogue on finding better ways to coexist has been so tremendous that a Steering Committee of CUNY faculty, staff, and students has been hard at work to plan innovative and far reaching intergroup relations activities.  In addition to the November event, the Committee will propose a variety of workshops for CUNY students to continue their work.

This program will also build upon the CUNY DRC’s two year project entitled “Days of Dialogue on Black-Jewish Relations at CUNY” funded by the New York Times Company Foundation, the Town Meeting Project funded by the Surdna Foundation, and the Cops and Kids Conflict Resolution Dialogue Project.  Collectively, these programs help to build a culture of respectful dialogue and intergroup relations through the use of forums designed to foster constructive and respectful intergroup interactions.

The Workplace Conflict Management Training Program Series

In 1999, the CUNY DRC began offering conflict management seminars which specifically focus on conflict issues in the workplace.

The initial program, which was held from July 8 -10, 1999, offered training on Americans with Disabilities Act Employment Mediation. 

subsequent training, held on January 12 – 15, 2000, added seminars entitled Sexual Harassment Mediation and Workplace 101: Labor & Employment Basics for Mediation. 

third installment to this successful series, which was held on July 17 – 20, 2000, added two more seminars, one entitled What Mediators Need to Know About Workplace Practices, and another called Mediating Money Settlements. 

The fourth installment, held on January 16, 22, & 23, 2001 offered training on the following topics: Mediating with Difficult People in the Workplace, Mediating when a Party has a Psychiatric Disability, and Investigation as a Conflict Management Tool. 

The fifth training was held from June 18 – 21, 2001 and included topics such as: Disability Conflict Management, Resolving Sexual Harassment Issues, Internal ADR: Avoiding the Pitfalls, and Beyond Facilitation Basics: Transforming Angry Groups.

Emotional Competence in Policing

Pilot Workshop Series

The CUNY Dispute Resolution Center is pleased to invite applications for a new pilot workshop series that draws on the lessons learned by police hostage negotiators in coping effectively with the officer’s own emotions when intervening in emotionally charged situations.  

The workshops are designed to be most useful to people who are either now engaged in law enforcement and security-related work, or who expect to be in future.  Since this is a pilot project, it will also be open to others who are interested in learning about how officers defuse tense encounters with citizens and their ability to empathize with citizens’ emotions.  The goal is to share ways to achieve “emotional competence” or emotional resilience.

The project will build on two very different traditions: the 40-year history of NYPD’s Hostage Negotiation Team’s use of narrative and role-play in training practice, and contemporary “civically engaged” arts practice. The project co-instructors will be Jack Cambria, Commanding Officer of the Hostage Negotiation Team, New York Police Department, and Rachel Parish, Director of Firehouse Creative Productions, a London-based collaborative theater company. 

These workshops will use a variety of techniques, particularly those more often used to train actors, to help participants develop their emotional resilience. They will be highly interactive, and prospective participants should take note that the emotions elicited may be strong at times. Participants should also be prepared for “something different” as these workshops will bear little resemblance to conventional classes.

Prospective participants must commit to the full series, which will run on Saturday afternoons from 1 to 4 PM, with some assignments expected in between. The series will run for six weeks beginning on April 25 and ending on May 30. Because this pilot series is generously funded by a private foundation, no fee will be charged. Participants will receive an Emotional Competence Certificate of Completion upon completing the workshop series.