On Saturday, September 15, 2018, the Mediators Beyond Borders International – Los Angeles Regional Group (MBBI-LA) hosted its first Peace Conversation Facilitation training at the Westwood Presbyterian Church, 10822 Wilshire Blvd., LA. Provided for professionals involved in the conflict and dispute resolution in the LA, South Bay, Long Beach, and Inland Empire areas, the training team consisted of  MBBI Los Angeles Chair, Estera Borcsa, Dr. Vicki Radel, Steve Goldsmith, Ron Supancic, and Scott Martin.

With over 30 attendees, the workshop began with an overview of both, Rotary international and Mediators Beyond Borders International (MBBI), Rotary’s most recent recognized service partner. Following, the trainers highlighted current partnership programs between the two organizations.

Peace Conversation Facilitation training addressed:

  • Roles and responsibilities of facilitators and how to guide discussions on conflicting positions to achieve a common understanding.
  • Empathetic listening and dealing with difficult situations facilitators are often frequently required to manage.
  • Practicing facilitation skills through roleplays that represented opposing viewpoints on sensitive topics such as religion.
  • An introduction of MBBI- LA’s certification process to attendees.

This is the second training organized by leaders from both organizations that include Estera Borsca, MBBI-LA Chair, Steve Goldsmith, Rotary Club 5280, Torrance, and Dr. Vicki Radel, past district governor of Rotary.

On Thursday, September 20, 2018, graduates of this training will have an opportunity to practice their facilitation skills at Peace in the South Bay, an international interfaith event on‘Is Religion a Pathway or An Obstacle to Peace.’ This event’s panelists include leaders from the Christian, Jewish, Buddhist, and Islamic faiths. The moderator will be Dr. Reinhard Krauss, U.S. Congress Award Winner and Executive Director of the Academy for the Judaic, Christian, and Islamic Studies. Following the panel discussion, there will be table discussions led by facilitators.

This event has been organized to promote International Peace Day, Friday, September 21, with the goal to increase understanding of all religions. For more details regarding this event or to register, please click here.

Article by Aneta Thinkofall, MBBI-LA Member