MLK & MBB, plus an invitation

On this Martin Luther King Jr. Day, I’m reminded of Dr. King’s legacy of using nonviolent protest and constructive conflict as the morally necessary course to fight against injustice. One of my all-time favorite quotes comes from King’s Letter from Birmingham Jail:

Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. Never again can we afford to live with the narrow, provincial “outside agitator” idea. Anyone who lives inside the United States can never be considered an outsider anywhere within its bounds.

In the context of 1963 race issues in the United States, this was a radical assertion. Today, it rings truer than ever, but many now realize that the “inescapable network of mutuality” extends beyond national borders, encompassing the entire global community and the global environment. Consequently, injustice anywhere in the world- whether social or environmental- affects each of us and should be our concern.

However, when one starts to see all of the injustices in all the world as one’s personal responsibility, it is easy to become overwhelmed, tired, and despondent. I’d like to think this has been the unfortunate path of our local Mediators Beyond Borders chapter, with a few people trying to carry too many banners at once. We’ve fallen out of commission, to a degree, although the community and conflict transforming skills we can provide are important for the continual growth of our OSU community and our global community.

Reading an essay about Dr. King’s legacy, I realized what we need more than anything in our work to make the world a better place; we need one another. Strength in numbers. King inspired people to stand up against injustice en mass, to face their fears of the worst- being beaten, arrested, even killed- but to do so with others, ultimately overcoming fear and embracing freedom. For our MBB chapter to continue to build a more “peace-able” world by building conflict resolution capacity, we need others to join us- to be willing to ‘suffer’ by dedicating a little of their precious time and effort to keeping our organization afloat.  If we share the load, the weight will be light and the results worthwhile.

Our little chapter is not commensurate with the work of Dr. King, but we hope to take up a small part of his mission to eradicate injustice and make the world a better place. Join us and help carry that banner forward.

An Invitation from MBB Event Planner Kara DiFrancesco:

Please join OSU MBB on Thursday, January 11:30am-1pm in Wilkinson 203 for a short mediation skill-building workshop featuring a presentation by Dr. Aaron T. Wolf on transformative listening. OSU Mediators Beyond Borders (OSU-MBB) will present a mini skill-building workshop featuring a presentation by Aaron Wolf on listening skills that will help you improve your professional and personal communication. Other mediation skills will also be introduced to provide an introduction to OSU-MBB and our past and future activities. We highly encourage anyone to attend and are actively seeking new MBB members. Lunch will be provided! Please RSVP to so we can get a headcount for lunch.


Mediation Day Panel

After a year of hard work, the members of MBB OSU Chapter are taking it easy on summer break. (Just kidding! Most of us will keep busy all summer!) We’ll be meeting again mid-summer to start planning for the 2013-2014 school year: new relationships with OUS (Oregon University System) partners, mediation training for students, Engineers Without Borders collaboration, and Mediation Day 2014 are all on the agenda for next year!

In the meantime, if you weren’t able to make our first Mediation Day held last month, we have- for your viewing pleasure- posted the full Mediation Day 2013 panel presentation on YouTube! Featured in the video are:

  • Miriah Russo Kelly, MBB-OSU Chapter President
  • Carie Fox, Fox Mediation
  • Tim Hicks, University of Oregon, Director of the Conflict and Dispute Resolution Program
  • Sue Theiss, Oregon State University Ombudsperson
  • Laurel Singer, Portland State University, Oregon Consensus, & National Policy Consensus Center
  • Kevin Grant, Neighbor-to-Neighbor Mediation Program Manager
  • Gregg Walker, Oregon State University & Walker Consulting

View the full video below, or click here and check out the video information (under “show more”) to jump to a specific part of the discussion!

OSU Mediators Beyond Borders Presents:

Mediation Day 2013
Managing Conflict in a Changing World: Lessons from Oregon and Beyond

May 24, 2013

Thank you again to our sponsors, partners, panelists, guests, and all the hardworking MBB members who helped make our first Mediation Day a big success!

Mediation Day 2013: Managing conflict in a changing world- lessons from Oregon and beyond

Mediators Beyond Borders OSU chapter is hosting a panel presentation and networking luncheon on our Corvallis campus, May 24th from 9:30am-2:00pm (Memorial Union Journey Room).  The theme of this first Mediation Day is “Managing Conflict in a Changing World: Lessons from Oregon and Beyond.”


We hope to establish Mediation Day as an annual event that builds relationships and our regional capacity for inter-campus, intersectoral collaboration in conflict resolution research and practice.

Panelists include:

  • Carie Fox – Fox Mediation

A former soil scientist and lawyer, Carie has a private mediation and facilitation practice in Portland, Oregon. She specializes in public policy work—usually large, complex, multi-party issues. She also mediates workplace disputes. Carie teaches a graduate class at Portland State University and gives workshops around the country on such topics as collaborative negotiation, humor in conflict resolution, and decision science. In the last few years, Carie has been exploring the frontiers of technology in mediation, trying to involve more people than the usual 30 who can fit around the table.

  • Kevin Grant – Neighbor-to-Neighbor Program Manager

Kevin manages programs and coordinates volunteers in Benton and Linn Counties for Neighbor-to-Neighbor Mediation. Programs include Community mediation (including manufactured home parks), Small Claims mediation, Restorative Justice (including victim-offender mediation), and Youth & Family mediation (aka parent-teenager). In partnership with MBB-OSU, Kevin conducted a 32-hour mediation training to build conflict resolution capacity on the OSU campus in 2012.

  • Tim Hicks- University of Oregon, Director of the Conflict and Dispute Resolution Masters Program

Tim was a mediator in private practice for 14 years before coming to the University of Oregon to direct the Masters program in Conflict & Dispute Resolution. As a mediator, Tim worked in three primary sectors – family and divorce, workplace/organizational, and multi-party, environmental/public policy. He also consulted with and provided training for businesses and organizations in conflict management.

  • Laurel Singer- Portland State University, Oregon Consensus Director,

Laurel directs Oregon Consensus (OC) and manages the National Policy Consensus Center (NPCC) collaborative governance training and internship program. She brings a 16-year history as a mediator, facilitator, and trainer in private practice, with expertise in designing and implementing the most effective process possible to assist an organization, public body, or collection of stakeholders in making decisions and resolving conflicts constructively and collaboratively. Laurel teaches courses in conflict and collaborative governance, and she helped pioneer the first parent-adolescent mediation program in the Northwest.

  • Sue Theiss- Oregon State University Ombudsperson

Sue became the first Oregon State University Ombudsperson in February 2012. She served as a volunteer Ombudsperson at the University of Arizona for eight years while employed as the Department Administrator for Family and Community Medicine. Sue co-chaired Arizona’s Ombuds program before becoming the University of Arkansas’ first Ombudsperson, where she served for over nine years. She holds degrees in Business Administration and Communication, is a professional mediator, and serves as a mentor for the International Ombuds Association.

  • Gregg Walker- Oregon State University & Walker Consulting

Gregg is a professor at Oregon State University. He teaches courses in conflict management, bargaining and negotiation, mediation, international negotiation, natural resources decision making, and peace studies. Off campus, Gregg conducts training programs on collaborative decision making, designs collaborative public participation processes, facilitates collaborative learning community workshops about natural resource and environmental policy issues, and researches community-level collaboration efforts. Gregg serves as an Executive Team Leader for Mediators Beyond Borders’ Climate Change project. He travels to the international Climate Change COP meetings, promotes sustainable conflict resolution capacity, and advocates for the inclusion of mediation into legally binding instruments.

Thanks to generous funding from the OSU Educational Activities Committee, we can provide free registration (including delicious free food) to the first 60 registrants. Registration closes May 15, so please spread the word quickly and register here ASAP if you plan to attend!

If you have any questions, please email MBB-OSU President Miriah Russo Kelly at

We look forward to seeing you in Corvallis on May 24!

Where We Are: One Year Later

Dear MBB members, friends, & colleagues:

I returned to the blog to announce our big event of the year– Mediation Day— but coming back to the blog (seeing our last post was almost exactly one year ago, announcing Ken Cloke’s visit), I wanted to share some of our accomplishments, challenges, and transitions over the last year.

First, you should know that our first president, Harmony Paulsen Burright, finished her Master’s degree and moved onto a sailboat she and her husband made sea-worthy.  They battled inexperience, weathered storms, and conquered boat repairs, making their way down the West Coast from Portland to the Baja Peninsula.  They’ve been anchored in Topolobampo, Mexico, but just resumed their travel south towards El Salvador.  The best part?

  1. They have a cat on board.
  2. They’re blogging about the whole thing!

Harmony’s departure was a hard hit for the group.  Turns out that she is Superwoman: able to do the work of 10 people in half the time, all with a smile!  We said goodbyes to several other members who departed for jobs or international research, which led the remaining members to the conclusion that recruitment should be a big priority for 2012-2013.

When Miriah Russo Kelly (president), Julie Elkins Watson (me, VP), Kara DiFrancesco (Event Planner), Ali Marshall (Secretary), Pablo Alvarez Tostado (Outreach), and Mousa Diabat (Treasurer) assumed the leadership this year, we decided to condense efforts and focus in on skills and relationship capacity-building.  We loved doing the Conflict Resolution Speaker Series last year, but decided this year to condense our efforts into one big event: Mediation Day.  (Check out my next post to learn more about the event!)

In the meantime, we’ve done several conflict resolution skills-building workshops, including: transformative listening (Julie Elkins Watson), building collaborative capacity (Gregg Walker), and multi-stakeholder group facilitation (Geoff Huntington).

We continued our collaboration with EWB-OSU.  We had two great achievements:

  1. The team we trained in community conflict capacity building went to Lela, Kenya to begin their project!
  2. MBB and EWB members went to the Engineers Without Borders regional meeting in San Louis Obispo and co-facilitated capacity-building workshops for EWB members from around the world!  The strangest part– there were participants (independent of the OSU EWB connection) from Lela, Kenya at the workshop!
MBB-EWB Workshop at the Engineers Without Borders Regional Meeting

MBB-EWB Workshop at the Engineers Without Borders Regional Meeting

We also used our community collaboration skills to meet new friends, start dialogue, and draw a vision of campus sustainability at OSU’s 2013 Earth Day Fair!

2012-2013 MBB-OSU President Miriah Russo Kelly making friends at the MBB Earth Day activity table

2012-2013 MBB-OSU President Miriah Russo Kelly making friends at the MBB Earth Day activity table


Earth Day 2013: MBB's 20-20 Wall of Campus Sustainability

Earth Day 2013: MBB’s 20-20 Wall of Campus Sustainability

Finally, we’ve fostered a relationship with the brand new Ombuds Office on the OSU campus!  We look forward to working with Sue Theiss, the Ombudsperson, to continue to build sustainable conflict management capacity in OSU and across the Corvallis, OR community.

As we start looking forward to next year, we hope that the relationships we’ve fostered and the rising conflict resolution stars we’ve nurtured will continue to build upon our short but growing legacy of conflict resolution capacity-building on the OSU campus and beyond!

Conflict Resolution Speaker Series: MBB Co-founder Kenneth Cloke

MBB-OSU is bringing another big name speaker to OSU as the 5th installment of our Conflict Resolution Speaker Series!  Dr. Kenneth Cloke is a co-founder and past president of Mediators Beyond Borders.  He currently serves as the director of the Center for Dispute Resolution:

Kenneth Cloke has served as a mediator, arbitrator, attorney, coach, consultant and trainer. Ken specializes in resolving complex multi-party conflicts which include: community, grievance and workplace disputes, collective bargaining negotiations, organizational and school conflicts, sexual harassment and discrimination lawsuits, and public policy disputes. Ken also provides services in designing conflict resolution systems for organizations. He is a nationally recognized speaker and author of many books and journal articles.” – Center for Dispute Resolution

Dr. Cloke will be joining us on May 15, 2012 to present his talk: “Conflict Revolution: Mediating the Chronic Sources of Social, Economic, Political and Environmental Conflicts — How Mediators Can Help Save the Planet”

  • What is our responsibility as dispute resolvers for the environmental, social, economic and political conflicts that are occurring around us?
  • Can we apply conflict resolution principles to the inequalities, inequities, and dysfunctions that fuel chronic political, economic and social conflicts?
  • Are we not implicitly responsible for learning to address and resolve global conflicts beyond our borders, helping to eliminate their chronic sources, and contributing to the redesign of conflict generating structures, processes, institutions and practices, so as to prevent their recurrence?
  • How can mediators and dispute resolution practitioners contribute?
  • And how do we bring these changes about without recreating the very problems we seek to solve?

This talk will examine the role mediators can play in helping to resolve chronic complex global conflicts, and identify ways of acting locally and internationally to build conflict resolution capacity around the world and help create a “conflict revolution.”

When: 4pm, May 15, 2012

Where: Oregon State University Memorial Union (MU) 206.

Luncheon Q&A with Dr. Cloke: Interested students and community members are welcome to join us on the day of the talk (5/15) from 12-1pm in MU 109 for a luncheon Q&A session with Dr. Cloke.  Food will be provided!

Cosponsors: We are able to host this event thanks to an Educational Actvities (EdAct) grant and funding from OSU’s Team Liberation.  Thanks to our cosponsors!

Conflict Resolution Speaker Series: Renowned Environmental Lawyer Richard Roos-Collins

As part of our Conflict Resolution Speaker Series, the OSU Chapter of Mediators Beyond Borders is proud to present a seminar by renowned environmental lawyer and negotiator Richard Roos-Collins!  We are thrilled to have the opportunity (courtesy of an OSU Educational Activities Grant) to bring such a formidable expert to speak on the OSU campus!  Mark your calendars, because this will be a BIG event!

  • Speaker: Richard Roos-Collins, environmental lawyer (see bio below)
  • Presentation title: Developing collaborative solutions to complex, multi-party disputes – case studies in the Klamath Basin and California Bay-Delta
  • When: April 12, 5:00pm
  • Where: Owen 103, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR

About Richard Roos-Collins

Since 1991, Roos-Collins has represented conservation and fishing groups, public agencies, and property owners in cases to restore aquatic ecosystems in a manner that contributes to sustainability of our power supplies and economy. Richard emphasizes settlements and other collaborative solutions to complex multi-party disputes. Most recently, Richard represented American Rivers in the Klamath Negotiations and was a lead drafter and negotiator of the Klamath Agreements.

He represents California Trout in the Mono Lake Cases (1991–present), which established a rule of law that water rights must protect public trust resources. Roos-Collins is a founder  and a director of Hydropower Reform Coalition (Washington, D.C.); Chairman of the Low Impact Hydropower Institute (Portland, ME); and Co- Chair, Agricultural Water Management Council (Sacramento, CA). He was a member of the Delta Stewardship Council (2010), deputy attorney general in the California Department of Justice (1989–1991), and attorney- advisor for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of General Counsel (1986–1989).

Roos-Collins teaches Water Resources Law and Policy at USF School of Law. Richard graduated from Harvard Law School (1986, honors) and Princeton University (B.A., 1975, high honors).

For more info:

If you are interested in meeting with Roos-Collins during his visit, or have any questions, please contact Kara DiFrancesco (

MBB is hosting a FREE mediation training!

When: April 14, 15, 21, and 22 (four full days, 32 hours)

Where: Oregon State University Campus, room TBD

What: Neighbor2Neighbor (N2N) Mediation is running a four day, 32 hour conflict resolution training workshop.  This 32 hour training counts as a state recognized professional qualification for mediators. Participants will learn communication skills, effective interest-based negotiation, conflict resolution theory and mediation techniques from a highly skilled trainer. The training will include lots of interactive exercises and mediation practice with former graduates of the training program (many of whom are OSU students or alumni). Upon graduation, students will have a solid understanding of the causes of conflict, mediation techniques, the role of the mediator, the ethics of mediation, the “business” of mediation and cross-cultural considerations. This training will also prepare students to mediate basic on-campus and community disputes.

Why: Conflict is a normal and inescapable element of human relationships and institutions. It is important to remember, however, that conflict brings with it the potential for reflection and constructive change.  Thus, it is essential that students be provided with the appropriate skills and venues to work through conflict that might arise in their personal, academic or professional lives. Traditional “chain of command” pathways for dealing with conflict in the university setting are intimidating for many students, often hard to negotiate, and can fail to take advantage of opportunities to transform personal relationships or spark systemic change. Student mediation offers an alternative form of conflict resolution that may be more accessible to the study body and can create more sustainable solutions to inter-personal and institutional conflict.

Who: Any OSU student can apply to take part in the free mediation training.  As many as 24 students will be selected to participate!

How: Apply by filling out the Mediation Training Application – Due March 19 and sending it to Harmony Burright via email ( or through campus mail (Wilkinson 104).

Conflict Resolution Speaker Series: Aja Decoteau

Yale grad Aja Decoteau will be joining us Monday, 2/27 at 5pm (location: Burt 193) for an informal seminar and discussion of her work with the Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission (CRITFC)! CRITFC is a collaboration between several Columbia Basin tribes working to improve fisheries management. Aja is a young professional and a friend of Kara’s (OSU MBB member), and we look forward to hearing about her experiences!

This event is the third installment of the Conflict Resolution Speaker Series sponsored by Mediators Beyond Borders, OSU Chapter. Previous speakers included Dena Marshall of Marshall Mediation and Robyn Paulekas of the Meridian Institute.

MBB Workshop for Engineers Without Borders OSU Kenya Team

Last week, MBB hosted a workshop on collaboration for the members of EWB-OSU’s Lela, Kenya project travel team.  We presented information on situation mapping and Walker & Daniels’ Commitment to Collaboration Compact, then facilitated small group activities and discussions to help the EWB group gain a holistic understanding of their project community and situation, plus learn collaboration techniques that they could use with the Lela community.


Miriah presenting on the situation mapping activity.The EWB Kenya travel team working on their situation maps

Situation Mapping

The EWB Kenya travel team working on their situation maps

Discussing Collaboration

Discussing elements of collaboration in the CCC activity: The EWB team can use this technique to develop their Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Lela, Kenya community.

The event was a huge success, and it marked the beginning of what we hope will be an ongoing relationship between MBB OSU and EWB OSU.  Ultimately, we would someday like to see a relationship between our parent organizations, too!  We look forward to hosting additional workshops for EWB and other campus/community groups!

Grad Student Forums

Several OSU MBB members facilitated small group discussions about the quality of the graduate education experience at Oregon State University.  After four grad student forums, the results of the discussions were compiled into a report for the graduate school.  The OSU grad school will be using this report to help formulate their five-year plan and improve the OSU grad student experience!

You can check out the report here: Open Forums Project Final Report, February 2012