Hello Friends and Supporters,

For many of us, the Fall is speeding up with children (and some of us) heading back to school. Holidays are peeking right around the corner, and planning for the next year is starting to take place. The Center is no different, and we are happy (and relieved) to share that most of our training programs are ready to be shared for next year, including our 40-hour training programs, in-person and online, SCPI, and the start of the 2024 Teacher Training cohort in February. 

Next year is an exciting one, as we have a diverse set of basic and advanced programs, webinars, and inner-work opportunities coming, and we welcome many new trainers from our '22-'23 Teacher Training program into many of those offerings as they enter the next phase in their conflict resolution teaching journey.

As a nonprofit educational institute, many of these programs would not be possible without the generous support of our donors, whose contributions make it possible to offer reduced and waived fees, provide food and defray venue costs for gatherings, and aid in the development of new initiatives which advance the understanding-based model adapted to the diverse needs expressed by those in our community—a big thank you to all of our supporters from the past year.


James Dykeman

Executive Director


Running in when others run away: Making the change to a career in conflict resolution

What drives conflict resolution professionals, many of who leave otherwise successful careers that took decades to build – from attorneys and executives, mental health and family service practitioners, to nonprofit administrators and more, to willingly go into the heart of issues that many would prefer to avoid, especially those experiencing them personally?

The decision of conflict resolution professionals to transition from well-established careers into the heart of challenging issues can be driven by a unique combination of personal values and a deep commitment to positively impacting individuals and society. They find fulfillment in helping people navigate difficult situations and witnessing the positive outcomes of their interventions. The satisfaction of fostering understanding, repairing relationships, and enabling personal growth outweighs the allure of their previous careers.



The Center for Understanding in Conflict’s training programs have been popular for over 40 years because the Understanding-Based approach resonates with many people. Our trainings are powerful experiential education, carefully designed and skillfully taught. After a successful 2022-23 cohort, we are looking to continue deepening and broadening our teaching capacity, improving our ability to serve participants in our training programs, and supporting CUC community members in developing the skills to teach Understanding-Based conflict engagement in various contexts.

About the Program

CUC’s Teacher Training program is for those motivated to develop their ability to teach Understanding-Based conflict resolution skills to others. Over nine months, through a mix of in-person and online sessions along with self-reflection, reading, one-on-one and small group conversations, and projects between sessions, participants in the Teacher Training cohort will:

  • Learn how to teach CUC’s model, including the Center’s teaching style and Understanding-Based principles, concepts, and tools.
  • Work with CUC’s most experienced teachers, Gary Friedman and Catherine Conner.
  • Practice delivering Understanding-Based conflict resolution content.
  • Through self-reflection practices, explore and bring their authentic selves to their teaching.
  • Use various instructional methods and formats, informed by pedagogical best practices, to hold training space for all learners.
  • Understand the logistics of planning and executing a training.

The Teacher Training program will prepare participants to offer trainings wherever they are drawn.



Thank you to long-time participant and supporter William Mangrum from BlueJean Mediation for his generous donation to the 2023 Teacher Training Program.

His support allows the Center to expand programming and provide training opportunities to mediators looking to make an impact through the understanding-based approach.

Learn more about BlueJean Mediation HERE.


When You Greet Me I Bow: Notes and Reflections from a Life in Zen, by Norman Fischer

In When You Greet Me I Bow: Notes and Reflections from a Life in Zen, author, Zen Buddhist priest, and CUC trainer Norman Fischer offers a profoundly insightful and thought-provoking exploration of Zen philosophy that resonates deeply with conflict resolution and mediation principles. Through his eloquent prose and personal reflections, Fischer guides readers on a journey of self-awareness, empathy, and mindfulness, laying the groundwork for fostering harmonious relationships and navigating conflicts with wisdom and compassion.

At its core, Fischer’s book delves into the essence of Zen practice, which centers on cultivating mindfulness, self-awareness, and the ability to embrace the present moment. These qualities are essential in conflict resolution and mediation, where understanding the root causes of conflict and acknowledging the emotions and perspectives of all parties involved are crucial steps toward resolution. Fischer’s emphasis on attentive listening and the power of silence aligns with the mediator’s role in creating a safe and open space for communication, enabling individuals to express their concerns and grievances freely.



CUC invites you to consider joining the next introductory cohort of SCPI, a six-month, online program, beginning in January 2024, where conflict resolution professionals commit to exploring together practices of self-reflection that are constructive for ourselves and productive for our clients.


We anticipate accepting applications in September and registering participants by early October 2023. Meanwhile, we ask those interested in joining the 2024 SCPI cohort to let us know in advance by briefly responding to some questions to help us as we are fine-tuning session programming and finalizing registration costs.



Working with Emotions in Mediation with Guest Katherine Miller


When feelings begin to rise in the mediator, it can indicate that dynamics in the room are shifting, prompting a moment to bring the group together and identify and address the issues. For those in conflict, unpacking these charged and sensitive moments can lead to a resolution; for mediators, they can be vital to signaling when to push forward and when to suggest an alternative path. 

Katherine Miller, director and trainer at the Center and an attorney practicing mediation and collaborative practice in Westchester County, NY, joins The Other Chair to discuss the realities of working with emotions in mediation, including emotions in the room and the emotional reactions of the mediator.


Want to share your experience bringing together parties in conflict? Contact


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


Sept. 27 & 28 and Oct. 5 - 7

West Coast - Green Gulch, CA

November 15 - 19 




Delve into the critical importance of organizations adopting a measured and informed approach to conflict resolution, shed light on the detrimental consequences of mishandling conflicts, and highlight the value of proactive and strategic interventions.

Join Katherine Miller and Jennifer Sullivan on September 26, 2023 at 11AM PST to learn how conflict assessment tools and effective communication strategies can support a conflict resolution culture, which helps teams unite when faced with stressful situations that could threaten an organization.


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 Caitlin Meredith 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.

Help people to move beyond their fixed positions by coaching them to explore and describe what really matters — their underlying interests — in order to unlock creative and mutually beneficial solutions.

Join Katherine Miller and Melanie Rowen to gain practical insights into working with interests effectively, both to uncover and then to hold on to them through the negotiation, helping the parties to broaden and deepen their perspective on what they really need and want.



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

CUC Connect Members

September Featured Webinar

As conflict resolution professionals, we are often plagued with judgments that impede us in our goal to help the parties reach an agreement based on their own criteria.

In this webinar, Gary Friedman and Catherine Conner give guidance to recognizing our judgments and turning them into curiosity so that instead of obstructing, they might actually help advance the discussion.


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

Learn how to support our efforts to bring together parties in conflict.

Web  Facebook  Twitter  LinkedIn  Email