OUR PHILOSOPHY, MISSION AND GOAL:
Jeff Hawkins, an early participant in the founding of Education for Conflict Resolution (ECR), claims "it all started [more] than twenty-five years ago (in the Spring of 1988)." A diverse group of North Manchester citizens with a vision were offered a grant of "$20,000 per year for three years to develop a church-and-community project in the area of world peace.... This wonderfully diverse group (the Core Committee) was in the midst of wrestling with various ideas of how to tackle the massive undertaking of world peace in a deliberately localized way." According to Hawkins, “the question was deliberated for months; the answer was not going to come easily.” However, despite the immensity of the task, “the group worked steadily and by August, a consensus was achieved:
It was decided that world peace ought to begin with community peace, and that community peace depends upon community relationships, and that community relationships benefited greatly from the effective management of inevitable conflict. [Thus], the
name Education for Conflict Management grew out of this conclusion, which then later became Education for Conflict Resolution.”
Today, Education for Conflict Resolution is a primary provider of community-based and school-based conflict resolution training in the state of Indiana. Founded as a broad-based church and community partnership, ECR is committed to providing information and skills training to enable persons to deal more effectively with conflict. When called upon to mediate a dispute, ECR seeks to educate and empower the conflicting parties as it assists them to work through their differences.
Education and personal empowerment have become the cornerstones of ECR’s brand of conflict mediation. Long time mediator and trainer for ECR, Angenetta Briner, remembers that when ECR first began “our dream was to empower people to resolve their own conflicts nonviolently. We knew we needed to take many different roads to accomplish this, so we began offering workshops in schools for students; we trained bus drivers; and we offered community mediation for neighbors, families and friends to learn the process of mediation and the necessary communication skills. We then branched out into three county jails, offering trainings for businesses and also parenting workshops. Our vision was for “each one to teach one,” so after an individual had experienced going through a mediation to resolve their conflict they would share what they had experienced and learned with another individual. That occurred many times. We are teaching the peaceful resolution of conflict—one conflict at a time.”
Education for Conflict Resolution, Inc. (ECR), exists to promote peaceful and productive resolution of conflict. This is carried out through direct services of mediation and consultation and through educational activities in schools and communities. In all its work, ECR seeks to put the understandings and skills needed for successful conflict resolution into the hands of as
many persons as possible.
Using the tagline Work It Out!, “A Way Through Conflict,” ECR seeks to educate and train employees of corporations, persons living and working in retirement communities, members of non-profit organizations and churches, as well as students in public schools and universities in the use of skills in conflict communication, conflict resolution, and conflict transformation.