Mediators Beyond Borders International is a nonprofit organization governed by a Board of Directors, comprised of 17 remarkable individuals. This article is part of the Meet the Board series—putting faces to the decision-makers, guiders, and advisors of MBBI.
Dana Moldovan comes to conflict resolution from an unusual background. An electrical engineer by training, Dana was a partner in a start-up software company that was acquired by a public company, and she retired from her engineering career early in life. “Being a software engineer, the world was black and white: there was one solution and one right answer,” she says. “But in conflict resolution, there are so many shades of gray between 0 and 1.”
From her home-base in Los Angeles, Dana became involved in Rotary International‘s humanitarian work. Her Rotarian work took her on travels around the world, including Central America, India, Nigeria, and Romania. As she traveled, she says: “I started realizing that no matter where you are, it’s important to know how to talk to people. The communities that have needs have many conflicts, and you need to know how to address them.”
Rotary connected her with Pepperdine’s Masters of Dispute Resolution program, which in turn connected her with Mediators Beyond Borders. In 2013, Dana presented at MBBI’s Istanbul Congress. It was there that she began to build a connection between MBBI and Rotary International. “I saw this as a good connection,” she says. “Rotary has 1.2 million people around the world, focused on service above self, but not necessarily the knowledge behind peace and conflict resolution. MBBI had that knowledge.” A few years later, after serving as the 2015 MBBI Congress Chair for the Romania Congress, Dana was asked to join the Board.
An area of particular interest for Dana is training and educating. She is actively involved in MBBI’s Institute for Peace Training for Women. “We need women in more peace processes. Women, when they see conflict, approach the problem with peace in mind,” she says. “MBBI’s program empowers women with peace, conflict resolution, and leadership skills.”
And, much closer to home, Dana is an advocate for the Peace Conversations Facilitation for Rotary International. The program trains Rotarians in how to have meaningful conversations and to facilitate discussions on touchy subjects. “Rotarians are people of action. They want to do things. They want the training to help with conflict, to mediate or to train,” she says. “So I’ve done trainings, both on my own for my Rotary district, and as a development of MBBI.”
For Dana, building conflict resolution skills in people around the world directly contributes to a more peaceful society. “We can make a difference in helping people understand how to talk to each other,” she explains. “There is so much division. Our lives are becoming more intense. We have access to so much information, and have so much in our lives—but we are lacking in ways to really listen to each other and understand different points of view. We are quick to jump to conclusions. How many times do you see people not listening? They’re interrupting, starting to respond before the question was finished. We are in a high-speed life, but this isn’t the right way to do it.”
MBBI has an opportunity to help people communicate with the basic skills for resolving conflict. “Our motto is People Building Peace,” says Dana. “I think that all of us, just simple citizens, need to become peacebuilders. We often think that, ‘This isn’t my job.’ No, no: we need to be involved. We need to be advocating citizens. We need to know that we have the power.”
Learn more about how you can become a peacebuilder here.
Article by Emily Zmak, MBBI Writer