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Reflections on our First Half Year

New York Peace Institute Blog, the Hecklist by Brad Heckman

Folks, I’d like to reflect on the amazing, whirlwind year that’s coming to a close. We officially became the New York Peace Institute this year, building upon three decades as a Safe Horizon program. Thanks to our staff, board, advisory board, volunteer mediators, partners, funders, and Safe Horizon, we managed to take care of the many details needed to build an organization, whilst not losing sight of the big picture: building peace in New York City and beyond.

Here’s a brief snapshot of our year, vis-à-vis our key areas of focus…and how you can be part of the journey in 2012:

Building peace. This is the core of our mission: helping people from all walks of life peacefully, creatively, and durably resolve their conflicts. After all, we’re the largest civilian peacebuilding force in New York City! During a year of incredible transition, not only did we seamlessly continue to offer our core dispute resolution services, we dipped our beaks into some exciting new areas, from divorce mediation, to community conferencing, to conflict coaching.

How you can help: Be our ambassadors, and help us bring cases to the table. Know anyone in conflict? (This being NYC, I don’t know anyone not in conflict.) Send ‘em our way. Pass out our brochures in your community,organization, house of worship, etc. Introduce us to your professional and social organizations, and we’ll be happy to conduct free info-taining presentations on our services.

Demonstrating thought leadership in the peacebuilding field. Through our thought-provoking inservices, film series, blog, academic partnerships with NYU’s Center for Global Affairs, and Cardozo, Brooklyn, and Columbia law schools, and presentations at local, national and international events, we’ve showcasedour creativity and innovation, and servedas a platform for learning about peacebuilding.

How you can help: Attend our aforementioned thought-provoking (and free!) inservices, join us in our various social media outlets (listed below my signature line), recommend topics for inservices and trainings, and link us to any media or publishing outlets you know of.

Strengthening the mediation profession. It’s not enough that we’re one of the largest community mediation providers globally (although that is indeed awesome); we won’t rest until mediation is the legitimate, recognized profession that it deserves to be. (And we won’t rest then, either). This past year, we’ve offered an array of learning opportunities designed to build mediators’ professional skills – to wit, divorce and workplace mediation. We’ve seen a number of our wonderful mediators take the plunge and develop their own practices, informed by their volunteer work with us.

How you can help: Take our trainings, and recommend us to your friends, families, and colleagues. Help sing the praises of mediation as an efficient, cost-effective, and quick way to build understanding in even the most protracted conflicts. Tell us if there’s a training you’re aching to attend — it’s our goal to get you the skills you want!

Building our sustainability. I wouldn’t be doing my job if I didn’t focus on our bottom line. As a non-profit organization in difficult economic times, we need to be creative and nimble fundraisers – so that we can continue to be the top-notch community resource that we are. We’ve weathered some tough financial situations over the past year, thanks largely to the generosity of our volunteers and other individual donors.

How you can help: Donate, via credit card from our website, (just click on “Donate Now” on the homepage), or by check to the address below. Your tax deductible donation is not only great karma…it allows us to provide critical peacebuilding services to thousands of people each year, and enables us to offer lots of free events, workshops, and in-services to you all. Take our trainings –which not only help us cover our costs, they provide folks with great news skills! Introduce us to potential donors. Help broker connections to your companies so that we can offer trainings.

Finally, we had a few goodbyes and hellos this year. We bid a fond farewell to Nivedita Gutta, Mac Steele, Jessica Hillard, and Rebecca Price,who are all promoting peace in their own ways in India, Chicago, Denver and Brooklyn Law School. And we welcomed Carol Lieb Himes, Allison Attenello, Jenny Scanlin and Shauna St. Hill…and, of course,a gaggle of diverse, passionate, energetic and talented new mediators.

Folks, this year was just the beginning of what I know will be a great future. If you’re getting this e-mail, it means that in some way you were a part of making it all happen. I can’t thank you enough. Together, we empowered nearly 10,000 people to resolve their differences peacefully and creatively. And we’re just getting started.

Yours in peace and solidarity,


Brad Heckman

Brad Heckman is Chief Executive Officer of the New York Peace Institute, one of the nation's largest conflict resolution services.  He's also an Adjunct Professor at New York University’s Center for Global Affairs, where he teaches courses on international conflict resolution and organizational development.  His teaching style includes subjecting students… MORE >

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