Professor of NCRP Nancy Erbe Awarded Prestigious Fulbright Distinguished Chair

Nancy Erbe, professor of negotiation, conflict resolution and peacebuilding (NCRP) at California State University, Dominguez Hills, has been awarded the 2014-2015 Fulbright-PUC (Pontifícia Universidade Católica) Rio de Janeiro Distinguished Chair in American Studies.

Erbe1The highest level of Fulbright, the distinguished chair is most often awarded in the STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) fields, and only one has been awarded this year in American Studies for Brazil. Out of 8,000 total grants awarded each year by the Fulbright Scholar Program, of which 800 are Scholar Fulbright awards, Erbe was among the 38 distinguished chairs.

“Receiving this award means so many different things. That the committee selected by President Obama and Brazilian academics who have never met me are recognizing lifetime work inspiring a rich global multicultural community—children/youth, women, those in war torn societies, the incarcerated, and indigenous people—and finding ways to catalyze justice against all odds where it most matters means that at prestigious academic levels the victims of this injustice, my students, and this work still matters,” Erbe commented.

As a representative of the U.S., Fulbright scholars are tasked with enhancing mutual understanding between people of U.S. and the host country, Brazil in this case. The vice dean at PUC-Rio wrote in support of Erbe’s Fulbright application that the CSU Dominguez Hills professor, whose expertise includes multicultural mediation, “will be vital to a Mediation Center that we are creating with the support of Norway.”

Erbe said multicultural mediation is particularly important in this region of the world as the U.S. develops its relationship with Brazil, one of the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) countries, which are considered emerging global powers.

Erbe will design the master courses she will be teaching at that university, and said she will likely incorporate material from courses she has taught at CSU Dominguez Hills, including negotiation tactics, intercultural conflict, and peacebuilding, and those she has developed, such as restorative justice and peacebuilding and ethics of conflict resolution, which align with the award’s focus on social inequalities, international relations and urban studies. To determine exactly what the courses will cover, however, she plans to analyze the needs of the students.

“The best of teaching and learning starts with assessing students’ needs. That’s actually the best of NCRP, too. It’s always a work in progress, a dialog,” said Erbe, who describes her focus as inclusive multicultural democratic process.

Erbe will be teaching courses in international mediation and international conflict resolution to graduate students at PUC-Rio’s International Mediation Center, which was established by Norway’s embassy in Rio de Janeiro.

“Peacebuilding encompasses power dynamics within multicultural process. Mediation is when a third party does not have a direct interest,” she explained. “At the political level this is really tricky. … So who is that trusted outside person? Who’s there to ensure a quality negotiation, a just process? That is what I’m teaching, how to do that, how to be that facilitator of conflict process in a way that’s fair to all, which is rare. … But for our current global community it has to happen.”

During a 2013 trip to Jaipur, India, Nancy Erbe visits with students and colleagues from five countries during an International Conference on “Non-Violent Protest Movement.”

During a 2013 trip to Jaipur, India, Nancy Erbe visits with students and colleagues from five countries during an International Conference on “Non-Violent Protest Movement.”

Since authoring several publications, from her first workbook, “Holding These Truths: Empowerment and Recognition in Action: Interactive Case Study Curriculum for Multicultural Dispute Resolution” (University of California Press, 2003) to her latest two-volume reference book, “Consumer Survival: An Encyclopedia of Consumer Rights, Safety and Protection” (ABC-CLIO, November 2013), Erbe has infused real-world experiences into her writing as well as her teaching.

Erbe said she sees her assignment at PUC-Rio as another opportunity to not only bring real-world experience to the classroom but also to apply what she learns from her experience in Brazil to her teaching at CSU Dominguez Hills and to her role as a member of the university’s Internationalization Task Force established by University President Willie J. Hagan in March 2013.

The distinguished chair position is not Erbe’s first Fulbright experience. For a fourth year she was selected as a reviewer for the Peace and Conflict Resolution Peer Review Committee for the Fulbright Specialist Program by the Council for International Exchange of Scholars for 2013-14 after visiting Cyprus as a Fulbright Senior Specialist in 2009.

A Portsmouth, Va. native raised in Milwaukee, Wis., Erbe earned a bachelor’s in non-profit administration from Metropolitan State University in St. Paul, Minn. There she participated in internships including a high-impact, service-learning project in which she was invited to be the guest of a migrant farm-working family living in housing projects.

Erbe went on to accept a position to direct a legal aid clinic representing underprivileged clients in abusive situations (and receive the Wennerstrom award for outstanding service) and to serve as an editor for the journal for law and inequality while she attended law school and published her first article on human trafficking that has since been translated and disseminated by the United Nations.

Although she was accepted into Cornell University Law School in Ithaca, New York, she opted to attend University of Minnesota School of Law in Minneapolis in order to avoid “crushing student debt.” At that university she earned her Juris Doctorate, cum laude. She went on to earn her Master of Laws degree from the Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution at Pepperdine School of Law, in Malibu, after being a visiting faculty scholar teaching dispute resolution and education and prior to joining the faculty at CSU Dominguez Hills in 2004.

Nancy Erbe speaks to 300+ mediator-lawyers and judges at Delhi High Court in November 2012.

Nancy Erbe speaks to more than 300 mediator-lawyers and judges at Delhi High Court in November 2012.

In one of the early occasions that would lay the groundwork for her Fulbright assignment in Brazil, in years 2000 and 2001 she taught students from war-torn countries including Cameroon, Cuba, Ethiopia, Guatemala, Israel, Mexico, Peru and Zimbabwe with the Peace Research Institute in Norway at the University of Oslo (UO) International Summer School. Norway’s Nansen Institute also asked her to help them facilitate cross ethnic dialogue during the Balkans war.

She has been a member of the faculty at the University of Denver and University of California, Berkeley, where with support from the Hewlett Foundation she developed and piloted curriculum in multicultural conflict resolution, and from 1999 to 2002 was the first director of the Rotary Center for International Studies in Peace and Conflict Resolution.

Erbe started mediating child welfare cases with the Minneapolis American Indian Center as she was ending her litigation practice in 1987-89 with Fredrickson and Byron, where she represented education, health care, small business, real estate, family, and entertainment law clients including R&B duo Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis.

Before starting a full-time alternative dispute resolution practice in 1995, she was asked to lead a treatment team for violent female juvenile offenders and develop a national no-violence curriculum for middle school funded by the Department of Justice.

Her mediation and conflict resolution clients include the U.S. Office of the Interior, U.S. Office of Personnel, Colorado State Commission on Indian Affairs, Colorado State Department of Corrections, Bay Area Rapid Transit, City of Boulder Human Relations Commission, Wu Yee Children’s Services, and County of Los Angeles.

Erbe commented that the progression and evolution of her education and career makes the honor of being named Fulbright distinguished chair particularly meaningful and that the opportunity will further transform and enhance her teaching journey.

“I believe we are born with divine gifts, and with encouragement, we can discover great vision, purpose, potential. That’s a big part of what I try to do for the students at CSU Dominguez Hills and around the world,” she said.

Comments

  1. Micheal says:

    Great achiement for California State University DH!! Read the article in DH Bulletin also.
    Besides DH and NCRP it is great accomplishment for Dr Nancy Erbe!

    First Fulbright Distinguished Chair award for DH! Wow!! I am proud of you Dr Erbe as my Professor and also am proud to be your student.

    As always you will be a great hit at host University in Brazil! Congrats! All the best!

  2. Nancy Erbe says:

    Thank you Micheal as you join me in sharing this award! The award becomes more respected as it is finally approved by 12-member J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board appointed by President Obama. I am happy to announce that Gabrielle Giffords is a member too. I am looking forward to doing my best at PUC-Rio. Thanks for your confidence!

  3. Mark Matthew says:

    Congratulations! She is not only a great professor but a very fine human too! Keep up the good work professor.

  4. Well, now I know why Professor Erbe is not showing up on any of the proposed NCRP schedules for the rest of the year! Congratulations, Professor Erbe, so proud of you and proud to have received your wisdom while your student. What an exciting opportunity and honor. How is your Portuguese? Haha. Best wishes as you go off to Rio. I could not be more thrilled for you. And what an honor for CSUDH!!

  5. Jeri, I’m not going to Rio until 2015 and am scheduled to teach distance again Fall 1! If you want me as a professor before then, recommend you talk with interim NCRP director Rudy Vanterpool. We are discussing wonderful ways of teaching all of you and Brazilian graduate students together even while I’m in Rio. Thanks for sharing this honor with me!

  6. Aleksandar Babic says:

    Congratulations, professor! I am so glad that you have the opportunity to resume your already remarkable career in Rio de Janeiro! Also, it is great to hear that you are going to continue working with CSUDH students while in Brazil. All the best!!!

  7. Thank you Alek! Having all of you share in this joy makes the honor even more meaningful.

  8. Malinda Lewis says:

    Congratulations Professor Erbe!!! So happy and proud of you!!! yay! :)

  9. Mark Hylland says:

    Congratulations Professor Erbe!!!!

  10. Ellie Zenhari says:

    Congratulations! This is so very exciting!

  11. Thanks Malinda, Mark, Ellie…You all make my life at CSUDH so rich and meaningful!

  12. Sjsu Marari says:

    A very nicely written article. A justly deserved honor Nancy. My best wishes to you in all your future endeavors! Congratulations again and also on getting nice comments and 100 “Likes” here!

  13. Pablo Serrano says:

    Congratulations Professor Erbe!
    I’ve learned a lot through your guidance and teaching.
    Wish you all the best!

  14. Congratulations!

    This honor is well deserving by you.

    I want to thank you for your help and empowerment.

    I hope Allah will Give you the best there is, you deserve it.

  15. Jacqueline Avery says:

    Wow and Congratulations Professor Erbe!!! It is truly an honor to be your student and enjoy the riches you provide!!!

  16. Michele Bury says:

    Congratulations Nancy! Such wonderful accomplishments!

  17. Thank you Pablo, Majed, Jackie and Michelle! I love celebrating this honor with all of you, my beloved students and colleagues, community.

  18. Joy Masha, ASi President 09-10 says:

    Congratulations Nancy!

    It was an honor to read this article and the level of recognition you have deserved for many years now. Your work will extends to students across the world and it is fulfilling to know that young people will learn the necessary skills and tools to work successfully within a globalizing economy.

    Again, congratulations!

  19. Thank you Joy! Having you, our former student body president, celebrate this honor with me means a great deal. I have had great faith in you since the moment I met you and am happy we continue to stay in touch. You and I share a vision path. All the best!

  20. Brenda Maull says:

    Hello Dr. Erbe, Wow, awesome!!!! Congratulations on the Fulbright! Please provide email address, I would like to send you a private message. All the best to you!

  21. Brenda, so wonderful to hear from you! You can write me at nerbe@csudh.edu.

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