MBB has worked with hundreds of people to launch and complete peace-enabling projects in countries across the globe. Since MBB’s earliest days, these projects have been regionally focused for maximum impact. As the overviews here convey, each project has produced positive outcomes through the teamwork, talent, resources, courage and commitment of the many volunteers who participated.
Project Team Leaders: Jeffrey Range and Ximena Bustamante
MBB, with the JAMS Foundation, provided the Ecuador Mediation Exchange and Capacity Building Project. It consisted of an extensive network of mediators that include lawyers, judges, government officials, academics, for-profit and nonprofit business professionals, and other conflict resolution experts. The project goals were achieved by participant collaboration in the development and expansion of a conflict resolution curriculum and practice, and in the promotion and increased use of mediation as an effective method for the resolution of disputes in both the private and public sectors.
The Project had four main objectives: to develop an online platform for collaboration by conflict resolution practitioners; to develop best practices in mediation; to organize a series of symposia the objective of sharing cross-culture perspectives and to develop and sponsor an outreach component that will promote the use of mediation and conflict resolution in non-traditional settings
Benefits of the Project:
- Promote greater use of mediation in the resolution of disputes across diverse sectors of society.
- Access to online communication to foster interactions among conflict resolution professionals who are remotely located from each other.
- Provide a platform for information sharing to enhance and document mediation expertise.
- Develop substantive best practices through a series of symposia.
- Strengthen professional relationships among mediators across cultures.
- To facilitate communication among community participants;
- To assist in the training of community participants to be effective communicators;
- To assist in the training of community participants to be effective leaders; and
- To assist in the training of community participants to be effective community brokers.
In 2008, MBB worked in the Gulf area, partnering with local mediators, community non-profits, and public agencies in Louisiana and Mississippi, USA to provide mediation, conflict resolution and restorative justice trainings.
In 2010, MBB held mediation trainings for Common Ground Health Clinic and for Neighborhood Housing Services and attended Conflict Resolution Day. MBB also assessed what other support we could offer The Village and other lower 9th ward organizations in terms of trainings, community dialogue facilitations or capacity building endeavors.
The recent emergence of dozens of grassroots community mediation and dialog centers across Israel represents a promising force for peace in their communities. The MBB Israel Project is working with leaders in community mediation in Israel and the US to share and disseminate successful programs and lessons learned through direct partnerships, conferences and publications.
Board Liaison: Steven Seeche
Project Team Leader: Karmit Bulman
Project Team: Efrat Almog, Yvette Benedek, Christine Eyal, Martha Harty, Mark Kleiman, Mariana Valency, and Rachel Wohl
Project Intern: Kristen Letich
Partners in Israel:
- The Mosaica Center for Consensual Conflict Resolution: Nurit Bachrach
- The Jerusalem Inter-Cultural Center (JICC): Hagai Agmon-Snir
- Gishurim: Orit Yulzary
Establishment and nurturing of Learning Partnerships between community mediation and dialogue centers in Israel (Jerusalem, Rehovot, Haifa) and centers in the US (New York, Minneapolis, Maryland). These partnerships are still young, and each is unique. They involve regular high level conference calls and virtual meetings to share programs, policies, strategies, curriculums, etc. After getting to know one another’s work, the teams choose focus areas where they can help each other “up their games.” As the effort progresses, visits, conferences, and online archives are envisioned to document results and enable access for other centers.
In addition to Learning Partnerships, the Israel Project team is exploring new collaborative partnerships, including with Palestinian communities, as well as ways to expand the use of restorative justice processes.
The project’s initial partner, Neve Shalom School of Peace, wins S.E. R. Reconciliation Award!
Congratulations to the Neve Shalom/Wahat al-Salam School for Peace. Their program for “Palestinian and Israeli Literature Teachers” won the 2014 German S.E.R. Foundation prize, given for promoting long-term reconciliation.
This program is based on “Two People Write from Right to Left,” the anthology developed by the School for Peace. It has led to further courses for high school teachers from Israel and Palestine. Congratulations to the School for Peace, having an impact on thousands of Jewish and Palestinian children in Israel and Palestine, helping to humanize the ‘other,’ and opening dialog on Jewish-Arab relations in the classroom.
Now entering our sixth year, the team is working with local partners to increase the conflict and coping skills of at risk youth – motorcycle taxi drivers known as Pen Pen boys. We are also working toward increasing trust and cohesion among youth, the community, and the police, and in regions spanning Liberia’s borders with neighboring countries. Board Liaison: Dave Joseph
Project Team Leaders: John Lewis Moore, Ginny Morrison, Prabha SankaranarayanProject Team: Arthur Finegold, Barbara Graettinger, Mary Jo Harwood, LaVerne Baker Hotep, Marc Jorgensen, Tracy Kern, Donnyen Kofa, Steve Lancken (with many thanks to the more than 35 previous team contributors)Partners
- Network for Empowerment and Progressive Initiatives (NEPI) – Formerly National Ex-Combatant Peacebuilding InitiativesReintegration and community services
- Peace Building Resource Center – Peacebuilding research and interventions
- Public Conversations Project (PCP) – Dialogue training and conflict resolution capacity-building
- Pump Aid – Training to install and maintain appropriate technology waterpumps and toilets
- RECEIVE – Peacebuilding and trauma healing
- Society Mission Africa Technical Vocational Training Center – Vocational training in construction trades and tailoring
- University of Ghana, Legon – psycho-social services
- University of Liberia, Kofi Annan Institute for Conflict Transformation – Graduate level instruction and peacebuilding advice
- Women in Peace Network (WIPNET) – Alliances across borders and between communities and police, early warning and early response, gender-based violence reduction
- Youth Crime Watch of Liberia – Youth-oriented peacebuilding
The Liberian Initiative began its work with Liberians in 2007 and is committed to rebuilding personal and systemic capacity to coexist peacefully. We establish relationships in communities and with a wide range of local and international partners, from all sectors from governmental to grass roots levels. We coordinate activities with the aim of increasing capacity for skillful communication, cooperation, and collaboration among Liberians, as well as the NGOs and government agencies serving them.
We are adjusting our work to the happy reality that Liberia has moved from emergency to development. The Initiative is formulating plans to increase the conflict competencies of youth-centered NGOs, much-criticized youth who drive motorcycle taxis – many of whom are ex-combatants, college and secondary school youth, and women’s NGOs. We hope also to work with women’s NGOs to create alliances across country borders to reduce violence cycles in the region.
- training Liberian peacebuilders in dialogue methods, resiliency building, and training techniques
- a series of dialogues among the women participants
- a series of dialogues in the community
- a series of trainings in the community to increase understanding of trauma, its effect on conflict prevention/resolution, and ways of responding supportively
- training in sustainable agriculture techniques and joint farming and marketing activity
That women’s project grew out of our initial work at the invitation of a resident of Ghana’s largest refugee camp. There, MBB trained and advised residents in setting up a community and peer mediation service.
MBB then worked with former child soldiers alongside numerous Liberian, Ghanaian and international partners. Research by the UN, the US Institute of Peace, and others shows that one of the critical factors of post-conflict peace is the employment and reintegration of former combatants.
The program provided mentoring, teambuilding and conflict resolution training, construction skills, and psychological counseling to begin healing and rebuilding participants’ identity as community members. The project worked with receiving communities to build acceptance, and the group has repatriated and safely reintegrated into society.
The invitations grew, as MBB heard from community members and leaders, the largest university, government agencies, and local NGOs and churches. MBB team members have made 13 assessment and intervention visits, and the work continues to evolve with the country and our partners.
- Full Executive Summary – 2009
- The Liberian Initiative: Giving a Chance at Life – A letter-size, folded brochure about the 7th S.M.A. Graduation at Buduburam Refugee Settlement.
- Arrival of the elephant pump trumpets a great day for Paulo – The Times (London, UK) correspondent joins a Pump Aid team as they bring clean water to an African village.
- A Chance at Life – A documentary about MBB and its largest international project the Liberian Initiative.
Project Team Leader: Dorit Cypis – Board Liaison: Rachel Wohl – Core Project Members: 18
Reader Team: Aida Amoura, Martha Harty, Alexia Georgakopoulos, Mark Kleiman, Ran Kuttner, Johnathan Rietman
- Pluralistic Spirituality Center,
- PSC/Dorit Shippen,
- Project Leaders/ Abdessalam Najjar,
- Yoni Naftali and
- local Palestinian and Jewish Israeli mediators
- Pluralistic Spirituality Center
- Neve Shalom Wahat al Salam
In October 2009, the MEI sent a team of three mediators to NSWAS to engage with Phase II of their program crafting a multicultural mediation curriculum. The MEI team observed the group of 12 Palestinian and Jewish Israeli mediators in their 3-day seminar proceedings and presented three workshops on Identity and Social Relations as approaches to multiculturalism and mediation: Leveraging Power Dynamics, Non-Violent Dialogue, and Experiencing History in the Body.
The MEI team also participated in an evaluation of the PSC mediation curriculum program and was immersed in daily engagement with the village and their long standing programs, the Bi-Cultural Primary School, the Peace School/Encounters Program, and the Pluralistic Spirituality Center.
Between October 2009 and May 2010, MBB was involved in a process of collaborative research, an action evaluation and feedback of the developing curriculum. Israeli, American and European mediators with an expertise in multiculturalism and curriculum development attended the symposium.
The MEI also accomplished several trips to Israel, a phone seminar series, an action evaluation, and maintained an ongoing relationship with NSWAS that lasted until Abdessalam Najjar’s death in 2012. The MEI Project completed in 2010 and a new MBB Israel Project was initiated.
Somali Refugee Project
- Sandi Dimola
- Prabha Sankaranarayan
- Centre for Victims of Violence and Crime
- Chatham University
- Keep it Real (KIR)
- Lawrenceville United
- MGR Foundation
In September 2009, a project team traveled to Zimbabwe to conduct an assessment for the project. Following the initial assessment trip by four MBB members and three Rotary International members, MBB received a $5,000 grant towards the cost of training NGOs in Bulawayo that were working to reduce violence among youth in rural areas.
- John van Merrienboer, Netherlands,
- Tom Fiutak, USA,
- Sharon (Sheri) Maier, USA
In July 2010, two MBB project team members, one from the U.S. and the other from the Netherlands, spent two weeks in Zimbabwe. The first week was spent in Bulawayo conducting negotiation and mediation training with representatives from NGOs, clergy members, educators and community organizers working with rural youth and interested in creating “opportunities for peace”, the theme of the training.
The two members then spent several days meeting in Bulawayo and Harare with NGO, civil society and government staff to plan further programs on trauma awareness and community healing in areas with experience of extensive violence between ethnic and political groups. Future work on that along with plans for transitional justice and reconciliation dialogues were not pursued due to lack of funding and the project ended in early 2011.