27th Annual Southern California Mediation Association Conference
Mediators as Agents of Social Change
November 6-7, 2015
Pepperdine University School of Law, Malibu, CA
The 27th annual Southern California Mediation Association (SCMA) conference will explore the various ways in which mediators can become agents of social change in the world. Today, in addition to the role they play helping to resolve legal disputes, mediators regularly serve as educators, executive coaches, facilitators, leadership trainers, ombudsmen, therapists, business consultants, and architects of dispute resolution programs at all levels.
In today’s inter-connected world, there are numerous opportunities for mediators to support societal change through peaceful dialogue. From the ongoing battle over the legalization of same-sex marriage to the highly charged debates over interactions between police departments and minority communities, there are many areas in need of the leadership of trained mediators.
L. Randolph Lowry Award
SCMA’s 27th Annual Fall Conference will open with a cocktail reception on Friday, November 6, 2015 at Tiato in Santa Monica, beginning at 6:00 p.m., where we will be honoring Charles Chang, Executive Director of the Asian Pacific Dispute Resolution Center (APADRC), with the L. Randolph Lowry Award.
The SCMA presents the L. Randolph Lowry Award to a member of the dispute resolution community who has honored and inspired us through their passion and dedication to education in the field of dispute resolution. This year’s recipient is Charles Chang, Executive Director of the Asian Pacific Dispute Resolution Center (APADRC). Under Mr. Chang’s stewardship the APADRC provides vital services to assist members of the greater Los Angeles community to resolve a wide-range of conflicts through nonviolent means. The APADRC also works in schools to train students as peer mediators, helping to resolve issues like bullying, homophobia, and dating violence. In addition to the APADRC’s award winning peer mediation program, Mr. Chang developed a peer mediation start-up kit that allows schools that lack adequate resources, to develop peer mediation programs on their own. As a result of a partnership between the APADRC and the National Association for Community Mediation (NAFCM) this start-up kit, which is available for free online, has been downloaded and used by thousands of teachers and school administrators throughout the United States.
Cloke-Millen Peacemaker of the Year Award
Each year the Southern California Mediation Association presents the Cloke-Millen Peacemaker of the Year award to an individual or organization in the dispute resolution community who inspires us through their passion and dedication to peacemaking. This year’s recipient of the award is Forest Whitaker for his work as founder and CEO of the Whitaker Peace & Development Initiative (WPDI).
The WPDI is a non-governmental organization focused on empowering and inspiring youth by providing conflict resolution training, vocational training, life and wellness skills in the United States, Uganda, South Sudan, and Mexcio.
In the United States, Mr. Whitaker and WPDI work with the Turnaround Arts Initiative and Martin Luther King Jr. Elementary School in Compton to deliver training in conflict resolution to students through arts and theatre programs which engage students to creative enhance their problem-solving capacities. WPDI is also developing a Conflict Resolution Education (CRE) program for middle schools which includes a curriculum for youth that includes life coaching, communication, and conflict resolution education skills. Mr. Whitaker also worked with Fidnley Elementary School in Des Moins, Iowa.
Mr. Whitaker and WPDI also operate the Harmonizer Program in Northern Uganda and Tijuana, Mexico. In Uganda, the Harmonizer Program provides conflict resolution and leadership training, peace and community building, and skills to former child soldiers, children who were abducted by rebels, orphans, and other vulnerable youth who are recommended by their peers. In Tijuana, the program provides youth with education in conflict resolution, community-building, yoga and meditation skills, and other skills they might need to spearhead their own peace-building initiatives. At the end of these trainings, participants are certified in conflict resolution, breathing and movement technologies, and life coaching, and will have operated their own community-enhancing projects.
Mr. Whitaker’s artistic and humanitarian achievements have been widely recognized at home and abroad. In 2007, he received the Cinema for Peace Award for his ongoing advocacy for child soldiers and his work with inner-city youth. He was awarded the Humanitas Prize in 2001. In 2008, he was a member of Barack Obama’s Urban Policy Committee. Mr. Whitaker currently serves as a senior research scholar at Rutgers University, and a visiting professor at Ringling College of Art and Design. In 2013, Boston University’s Howard Gotlieb Archival Research Center appointed Whitaker as a Martin Luther King Jr. Fellow. That same year, he was made a Knight of the Order of Arts and Letters by the French government in recognition of his work as an artist and a humanist to serve the disadvantaged and those affected by conflicts and violence. In the past few years he has also received a number of awards for his humanitarian work including the Visionary Award from the Los Angeles Press Club (November 2013), the Joel Siegel Award from the Broadcast Film Critics Association (January 2014), the Chairman’s Award from the NAACP (February 2014), the McCall-Pierpaoli Humanitarian Award from Refugees International (April 2014) and the Community Engagement Award from the MLK Health Foundation (January 2015).
Whitaker’s commitment to peace and social issues has led him to work in close collaboration with UNESCO, which seeks to build peace through education, science, culture, and communication.
In 2011, Whitaker was designated as a UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador for Peace and Reconciliation. In this role, he works toward global peace and community building through non-violence education, research, and training. In 2012, in recognition of his commitment as a UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador and for his contributions to the values embodied by the UN, Whitaker received the United Nations Correspondents Association Advocate of the Year Award. In 2014, he started collaborating with the Office of the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict as an Advocate for Children Affected by War, a topic on which he was invited to speak before the UN Security Council in September of that year. Also in 2014, in line with this new partnership and following his increased work in countries experiencing conflict, such as South Sudan, or countries in post-conflict situations, such as Uganda, he was designated a UNESCO Special Envoy with a view to reinforce the framework of his activities on the ground.
Susie North has served as leader of the Pasadena / San Gabriel Valley Professional Development Group for the past year. Her passion and commitment have invigorated the Group and led to sustained growth and greater involvement, with several SCMA members regularly traveling an hour or more to attend the Group’s monthly meetings. In her “spare” time, Susie also devoted her energy, and countless hours, to the ongoing efforts of the Public Outreach Subcommittee and served as a member of this year’s Nominating Committee.–>
The success of our Conference is a direct result of not only the attendees, but also the sponsors. In return for a financial commitment, the sponsors receive various benefits.