Inaugural Peace Leadership Conference Will Teach Youth to Resolve Conflict

Undergraduate and graduate students in the Negotiation, Conflict Resolution, and Peacebuilding program at California State University, Dominguez Hills will put their skills to use by teaching area middle and high school students how to resolve conflict at the first Peace Leadership Conference on April 25 in the Loker Student Union.

Charmaine Lang (Class of ’06, B.A., English/Public Administration), is an interdisciplinary studies major and NCRP graduate student and the event’s coordinator. She says that the first-ever event was inspired by the fact that “people would be surprised to learn how much conflict there is in primary education.”

“Young people deal with conflict in their everyday lives,” says Lang, who is a mediation intern at Harbor Teacher Preparation Academy in Wilmington and the NCRP research coordinator. “It affects them, of course, at home in their personal lives and also at school. A lot of the time as educators, we don’t pay attention to that aspect.”

Graduate student Charmaine Lang is coordinating the inaugural Peace Leadership Conference to teach area middle and high school students about conflict resolution.

Students from Los Angeles schools including Edwin Markham Middle School, Samuel Gompers Middle School, Alain Leroy Locke High School, and David Starr Jordan High School, are scheduled to attend the daylong event, which is geared toward helping youth cope with issues like parental divorce , conflict between African American and Latino students, identifying and resolving conflicts that arise during the process of divorce, resolving conflicts surrounding a student’s decision to move away to attend college, and the development of negotiation skills. The day’s activities include a keynote address by Forrest (Woody) Mosten, a prominent mediator and collaborative family law attorney based in Los Angeles. Workshops will also be presented by CSU Dominguez Hills faculty, including Dr. Nancy Erbe, director, NCRP; Ron Wilkins, professor of Africana studies; and Dr. Rudy Vanterpool, professor of philosophy and acting chair of Africana studies. NCRP students will also be facilitating hands-on and role-playing activities throughout the day.

Lang, a graduate of Banning High School in Wilmington, says that she is happy to see that the incorporation of peace building techniques is becoming the standard in LAUSD schools.

“The NCRP program has really been groundbreaking, and it’s starting to become a model for other programs to implement, even at the high school level,” she says. “It’s really exciting to see people wanting to bring more of a peace building technique to their curriculum. Especially at the high school level in LAUSD, most students are involved in that process, as far as disciplinary action and [the] expectations of how students conduct themselves.

“If students have a problem at home or with a teacher, instead of allowing the conflict to fester and not resolve it, [there are] ways that students learn to deal with it by learning negotiation skills and mediation techniques,” says Lang. “Having an NCRP model embedded in their curriculum will help high schools to move in a different direction.”

The Peace Leadership Conference is sponsored by the NCRP Program, Africana Studies, and University Outreach and Information Services. The event is presented in partnership with U-Can International and Associates and the Jordan Parents Center at David Starr Jordan High School in Long Beach.

Attendance at the Peace Leadership Conference is free, but an RSVP is requested. To attend the conference or for more information, contact Lang.

For more information about the Negotiation, Conflict Resolution, and Peacebuilding program at CSU Dominguez Hills, click here.