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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter 2022

Chapter 4 Connecting Communities Virtually Through Community Mediation

From the book Volume I Contemporary Trends in Conflict and Communication

  • Jeanne Felicity Zimmer , D. G. Mawn , Lori Dieckman and Melinda Burrell


The National Association for Community Mediation (NAFCM) connects and supports hundreds of community mediation centers and community mediators around the country. These centers and individuals help communities undertake the hard conversations necessary to explore and resolve disputes as well as to promote justice. Because of this nation-wide reach, NAFCM has been using a combination of virtual and in-person meetings for years and therefore was well-positioned for the COVID-necessitated switch to virtual. This chapter outlines how NAFCM built on that experience: immediately holding Zoom trainings and town halls for mediators seeking to address the initial panic and fear around the pandemic; then utilizing the JAMS Foundation gift of a Zoom license for qualified member centers which enabled centers to expand and deepen their outreach. NAFCM, joined with Mediators Beyond Borders International and PIRUSA, combining their shared technical sophistication, co-created the Trust Network. This network uses technological platforms to track and aid responses to incidents of partisan violence and to build social cohesion. During this time, NAFCM also continued to provide virtual learning circles for centers and peacebuilders, including through JAMS Foundation capacity building grants and an online certificate course with the Carter Center at George Mason University. The chapter concludes with recommendations for ever better use of technology for mediation and peacebuilding.

© 2022 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Boston
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