In 2005, the Association for Conflict Resolution (ACR) designated a day each October to:
- Promote awareness of mediation, arbitration, conciliation, and other creative, peaceful means of resolving conflict;
- Promote the use of conflict resolution in schools, families, businesses, communities, governments and the legal system;
- Recognize the significant contributions of (peaceful) conflict resolvers;
- Obtain national synergy by having celebrations happen across the country and around the world on the same day.
In The Way of Conflict: Elemental Wisdom for Resolving Disputes and Transcending Differences, Deidre Combs writes, “As a mediator, teacher and consultant, I have observed that staying with conflict until resolution significantly improves each participant’s emotional welfare. . . . Conflict is a vehicle for transformation, and you can ‘ride it’ so both you and your opponents can win.”
For information about events and resources to honor this day, please visit the ACR website.
To Name This Day …
When you read these quotes, what stands out as a challenge to your conscience that you can work with today?
“Peace is not the absence of conflict.
Peace is dealing with conflict
while honoring justice.
Peace is not the absence of anger.
Peace is expressing anger
while honoring compassion.”
— Rami Shapiro in Minyan
“The sad truth is that we prepare for war but not for peace. Or, to put it another way, what peace programs are being taught in our universities? What conflict-resolution courses are required in schools with ROTC programs? What scholarships are being given to those who major in programs in non-violence? What’s wrong with this picture?”
— Joan Chittister in Becoming Fully Human
“Peacebuilding gets us away from the negative connotations of making peace as making nice. There is nothing superficial about the task of building peace because we need to think about the foundation, which means that we must unearth all of those things that make the project unstable. We have to deal with the hidden tensions, expose conflicts, and address their causes.”
— Ellen Ott Marshall in Choosing Peace through Daily Practices
“The war stops and starts with you and with me. Every morning when you open your eyes, the potential for violence and war begins. So every morning, when you open your eyes, please, water the seeds of compassion and nonviolence. Try selecting a mindfulness practice that helps you transform your own internal conflicts. Let peace begin with you.”
— Thich Nhat Hanh in Creating True Peace
Marshall B. Rosenberg‘s Speak Peace in a World of Conflict is a goldmine of helpful guidance for nonviolent communication. He observes that to have effective social change, we need to be aware of the human beings who are involved even within discouragingly bureaucratic or oppressive structures we would like to alter. He suggests this practice: “Think of someone you’d like to connect with, but whom you now consider to be an enemy. What’s the first thing you’ll do to turn that conflict into a connection?”