PRESS RELEASE: March 19, 2020


Peacebuilders and Pandemics: Conflict Professionals’ Critical Role in Reducing Panic During this Pandemic

Two leaders bring seven global networks together in the first Global Town Hall meeting to reduce panic, minimize stigma, build connections, and forge solutions

Arlington, Virginia, March 19, 2020: Mediators Beyond Borders International (MBBI), in partnership with the National Association for Community Mediation (NAFCM), held Virtual Town Hall meetings, hosting over 300 conflict professionals from 32 countries, to address implications of the pandemic, build bridges between cross-sector stakeholders, and prevent socio economic crisis.

COVID19 poses a threat to both our individual and community health. Panic, fear, scarcity, and uncertainty rises daily. Our community leaders, in partnership with conflict resolution professionals, must respond in ways that increase social connection and constructive relations in order to reduce the threat of emerging stigmatization and violence.  

Distrust, fracturing, and ultimately violence arise when communities lack the tools to handle conflicts constructively. Epidemiological studies reveal that violence spreads through communities in identical patterns as infectious diseases. Dr. Gary Slutkin explains that, “Violence isn’t like an infectious disease; it is an infectious disease.” 

Conflict resolution professionals have the skills to help inoculate our communities from destructive conflicts before the violence becomes a co-morbidity alongside COVID19. 

MBBI equips local communities around the world with conflict transformation skills. NAFCM serves as the hub that aggregates the wisdom of community mediation in order to advance the work of community mediators throughout Canada and the United States.

Both organizations approach conflict as an opportunity for engagement, resolution, and partnership. These shared values are critical to heal communities, create solutions, and shape the way we move forward in this historic and unprecedented time.