Hello to our friends and supporters. This month we are bringing alternative perspectives from the field of conflict resolution through our book review and podcast episode exploring restorative justice practice, including interviews with practitioners working with a San Francisco based nonprofit serving communities impacted by the criminal justice system.

We are also happy to share the first in a three-part series of recorded interviews with the American Bar Association's Dispute Resolution Section discussing the history and mission of the Center, along with announcing a new private networking group to bring together students and practitioners of the understanding-based model.

Our webinars this summer, all CLE eligible in California, cover a diverse range of topics, from concluding our Power Imbalance series and exploring Workplace Mediation programs to why it is important for parties to own decisions throughout the mediation process.

Thank you for all you do to bring together parties in conflict and for choosing us to support your professional development through our training programs.


James Dykeman

Executive Director


Beyond the Surface of Restorative Practices: Building a Culture of Equity, Connection, and Healing by Marisol Rerucha

Beyond the Surface of Restorative Practices is a compelling and enlightening book that explores the transformative potential of restorative justice, emphasizing the importance of equity, connection, and healing in building a more inclusive and compassionate society. The author lays a solid foundation by explaining restorative practices’ core principles and philosophy, clarifying the distinctions between punitive and restorative approaches, and emphasizing the need for a paradigm shift in addressing conflicts and harm. The author’s clear and concise explanations ensure readers grasp the fundamental concepts before diving deeper into the practical applications.

Throughout the book, Rerucha underscores the importance of creating a culture of equity and connection. She highlights the need to address power imbalances, systemic injustices, and social inequalities, often underlying conflicts. By promoting inclusive practices and providing practical strategies, Rerucha guides readers on fostering genuine connections, building trust, and creating spaces where individuals feel heard, understood, and valued. Another significant theme in the book is the emphasis on healing and transformation. Rerucha discusses the profound impact restorative practices can have on individuals and communities, allowing them to heal from the harm caused by conflicts. Through compelling case studies and personal anecdotes, she illustrates how restorative approaches can facilitate personal growth, resilience, and the restoration of relationships, ultimately leading to transformation and positive change.



The American Bar Association Dispute Resolution Section Podcast Resolutions - Presenting the Center for Understanding in Conflict

This month we are sharing the first in a multi-part series of interviews conducted between Alex Green IV from the ABA's Dispute Resolution podcast Resolutions and the Center for Understanding in Conflict. Part one explores the history, mission, and value of the understanding-based approach while addressing common questions from the legal community about how our conflict resolution and mediation model can be used in diverse settings to bring together parties in conflict. We also explore how demand for our training has evolved since we started in the 1980s and how the Center is responding to meet the needs of the many diverse communities served by our programs. 



Healing Through Restorative Justice with Guests Earl Simms and Erin Kennedy

This episode of The Other Chair explores how advocates of restorative justice practices are working to bring together people and communities in conflict through mediation and coaching while addressing the realities of the criminal justice system, which often leaves victims and offenders without a path toward healing.

Earl Simms and Erin Kennedy from Restorative Community Solutions share their experience working within systems to encourage change through collaboration, conflict resolution, and community engagement to support individuals transitioning back into society from homelessness, incarceration, and treatment facilities.


Want to share your experience bringing together parties in conflict? Contact james@understandinginconflict.org


Join the CUC Community Network

In response to requests from past program participants and CUC Connect Members, the Center has launched a private LinkedIn group for those who have taken our training to join and connect with each other. Our hope is that this group will provide a space for those practicing the understanding-based model to find buddies, share ideas, get advice, and learn from those doing the work in similar fields.


Working Creatively with Conflict

40-Hour Basic Mediation and Conflict Resolution Training

Our flagship experiential certificate training program centered around the Understanding-Based Model. 

Realistic simulations, in which participants work through mediations from beginning to end, with coaching from our teachers, offer participants the chance to hone their skills and experience the emotional challenges faced by parties in dispute. Participants describe these different learning modes and their interplay as enjoyable, engaging, and rewarding.

2023 Training Dates

West Coast - Green Gulch, CA

November 15 - 19 


Sept. 27 & 28 and Oct. 5 - 7




During the Power Imbalance webinar series, we’ve looked closely at three different kinds of power imbalances: interpersonal styles, access to resources, and relationship to social and cultural privilege. This session will allow participants to join a conversation building on the insights gained from prior discussions and reflecting broadly on how we can approach conflict resolution and difficult conversations skillfully and with mindful awareness of the impact of power on ourselves and the people we’re working with.

Join Gary Friedman and Melanie Rowen on June 12th from 12 – 1 PM PST.


Explore why understanding-based mediators refrain from telling people what to do and uncover the transformative potential of giving the power to the parties, using non-directive techniques rather than imposing solutions. Even when we might really want to step into the driver’s seat, supporting individuals to take ownership of the decisions will foster more lasting resolutions.

Join Catherine Conner and a guest speaker on July 11, 2023 and gain a deeper understanding of why it’s worth taking a consistently non-coercive approach and how we can do it.



Explore the transformative impact of integrating conflict resolution and mediation practices within your organization while fostering a culture of open communication, looping, and collaborative problem-solving to enhance employee morale, increase productivity, and create a harmonious work environment.

Join Catherine Conner and Pat Lau August 24, 2023 and learn practical strategies that empower teams to address conflicts constructively, resulting in improved teamwork, reduced stress, and enhanced organizational effectiveness.


Support the Center for Understanding in Conflict with a CUC Connect Membership and enjoy free interactive webinars, training discounts, and more!

CUC Connect Members

June Featured Webinar

For decades we have known that interest-based negotiation is more effective and efficient than competitive negotiation. The challenge is in eliciting what is most important to parties and then anchoring the discussion around those interests.

In this one hour webinar, Katherine Miller discusses how to use interests to create a ground of understanding that can truly support the end game.


The Center for Understanding in Conflict, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.

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