United States of America

Hurricane Katrina

KatKidGroupIn 2007, the Mediators Beyond Borders (MBB) Project Team launched the Hurricane Katrina Project to provide skill-building workshops for local mediators. The mission of the Hurricane Katrina Project was for MBB to collaborate with local community leaders to assist in the development of community participants whose mediation and facilitation skills will help their constituents choose non-violent solutions to problems and/or establish an effective voice in their community government and planning of their future. The goals of the Project were:KatKid

  • 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.

KatGroup21Project Team Leader: Tom Valenti

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.

KatGroup20In 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.

Somali Refugee Project

image002In 2007, MBB launched the Pittsburgh Somali Refugee Project to provide basic mediation training to the Somali Bantu refugees attending the Arsenal Middle School in Lawrenceville, USA.

 “The Lawrenceville Dialog Project has exemplified a true collaboration between the school, community and local organizations that promotes respect for various cultures and understanding the diversity of people within our changing community. Our successes have occurred because of the hard work and willingness of all participants to engage in an open dialog attempting to understand and offer suggestions to resolve a complex social issue. We will continue our work in the generosity of spirit in which we initiated this project.” –Debra Rucki, Principal, Arsenal Middle School
Team Leaders:
  • Sandi Dimola
  • Prabha Sankaranarayan


  • Centre for Victims of Violence and Crime
  • Chatham University
  • Keep it Real (KIR)
  • Lawrenceville United
  • MGR Foundation
Over the last 150 years, Pittsburgh’s long history of immigration has included Poles, Slavs, Czechs, Germans, Italians and many other Eastern Europeans. Over the past 25-30 years this immigrant population has changed to include different groups of refugees and immigrants from Africa, Asia and South America.
image004The civil conflicts, wars and extreme natural disasters gripping countries across the world, have resulted in people becoming refugees who are then accepted by the U.S government and resettled throughout this country. Refugee resettlement in American cities, including Pittsburgh, proceeds with varying degrees of ease. The recent resettlement of refugees in Pittsburgh has included both successes and experiences that make this resettlement and integration process vulnerable to conflict.
The goal of the Pittsburgh Somali Refugee Project was to examine one community (Lawrenceville) impacted by the resettlement of one refugee group (Somali Bantu) and develop a model that communities may develop and implement to facilitate a more welcoming and seamless process of acculturation both for future refugees and immigrants, as well as for the established residents, and one that will promote economic, social and educational opportunities for both groups.