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April 20, 2007

Contact: Hannah Norton, Center for Public Policy Dispute Resolution, (512) 471-3507.

Seventh Annual Symposium on Dispute Resolution, April 27

Symposium features keynote address by Bernie Mayer of CDR Associates and the Werner Institute of Dispute Resolution at Creighton University: “Staying With Conflict: Facing our Fundamental Challenge”

WHAT: Dispute Resolution Symposium

WHEN: Friday, April 27; 8:30 a.m.–3:30 p.m.; Keynote speech at 10:20 a.m.

WHERE: Eidman Courtroom and Jury Room, UT School of Law

WHO: The public is invited to attend all presentations

AUSTIN, Texas—The Center for Public Policy Dispute Resolution at The University of Texas School of Law will host the seventh annual Spring Symposium on Dispute Resolution, on Friday, April 27.

The symposium’s keynote speaker is Dr. Bernie Mayer of CDR Associates and the Werner Institute of Dispute Resolution at Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska. He will speak at 10:20 a.m. in the Law School’s Eidman Courtroom.

Other featured speakers are Dr. Gregory Vincent, UT’s Vice President for Diversity and Community Engagement; and eight UT graduate and law students, each presenting research on various dispute resolution topics. Dr. Vincent will give the second plenary address at 1 p.m. in the Eidman Courtroom.

The symposium begins at 8:30 a.m. in the Eidman Courtroom and Jury Room at the UT School of Law (727 E. Dean Keeton Street). The public is invited to attend all symposium presentations. For maps and directions go to: http://www.utexas.edu/law/about/maps/

The symposium culminates the seventh year of the interdisciplinary Graduate Portfolio Program in Dispute Resolution. Through this Portfolio Program, law and graduate students from ten different academic units at The University of Texas at Austin pursue a focused curriculum of theory, skills, and research on dispute resolution.

Dr. Mayer’s keynote speech, “Staying With Conflict: Facing our Fundamental Challenge,” will focus on what he terms our fundamental challenge in conflict: avoidance. We focus on resolution, but the real challenge is how to engage in conflict constructively, courageously, respectfully, wisely, and honestly, according to Mayer. Avoidance takes many forms, from denial and passivity to bullying or premature problem solving, but these are all essentially approaches to avoiding conflict, Mayer says.

In this presentation, Mayer will address the challenge that avoidance poses for conflict professionals and how we can help people engage in conflict and stay with conflict through the entire conflict process.

Mayer is a professor of conflict resolution at the Werner Institute for Negotiation and Dispute Resolution, Creighton University, in Omaha, Nebraska, and a partner at CDR Associates in Boulder, Colorado. He has worked since the late 1970’s in the conflict resolution field as a trainer, mediator, facilitator, researcher, program administrator, and dispute systems designer. He is internationally recognized as a trainer and an innovative leader in applying mediation and conflict resolution to human service arenas and particularly to disputes between public agencies and involuntary clients. Mayer has mediated or facilitated the resolution of many different types of conflicts ranging from child protection, adoption, and family disputes to labor/management, public policy, environmental, and ethnic conflicts. He is the author of many books and articles including The Dynamics of Conflict Resolution: A Practitioner’s Guide and Beyond Neutrality: Confronting the Crisis in Conflict Resolution.

Vincent joined The University of Texas in 2005 as Vice Provost for Inclusion and Cross-Cultural Effectiveness and was promoted in 2006 to Vice President of Diversity and Community Engagement. He is also a professor in the School of Law and a professor in the College of Education where he is the endowed faculty fellow in the Sid W. Richardson Chair in Community College Leadership Program.

From 9 a.m. to 10:05 a.m. and 1:45 p.m. to 3:30 p.m., graduate students from the LBJ School of Public Affairs, School of Law, and School of Social Work will present their research on topics including consensus-building approaches to the Ground Zero construction conflict, Europeanization and the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, methods for evaluating and maintaining ADR Programs in American schools, and mediation of government equal employment opportunity disputes. Student presentations, which are also open to the public, will be held in the Eidman Courtroom and Jury Room.

The Spring Symposium on Dispute Resolution is sponsored by the Construction Law and Alternative Dispute Resolution Sections of the State Bar of Texas.

Visit the website of the Graduate Portfolio Program in Dispute Resolution for a schedule of the symposium’s events and to find more information on dispute resolution: http://www.utexas.edu/law/academics/centers/cppdr/portfolio/.