Lessons in navigating conflict from Northern Ireland

By Emily Byers-Ferrian and Shannon Keeny
Categories: Change management, Facilitation, International perspectives
June 2024
Eighteen people from different countries sat in a circle of chairs in a room facing the Sea of Moyle, some having traveled far to reach Ballycastle, Northern Ireland, for a week of learning about skillful responses to conflict and living better together across differences. Addressing the group was Colin Craig, founder of Dialogue for Peaceful Change Global, a method that supports the development of individual and group capacity to transform conflict (Dialogue for Peaceful Change, n.d.). Craig, a person of Northern Ireland who has facilitated peaceful change processes with groups locally and internationally since the 1970s, introduced himself and gestured toward the large windows, referring to the land and sea as his co-facilitation partners. He then invited each person to share something about the story

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CampbellJones, F., CampbellJones, B., & Lindsey, R. (2010). The cultural proficiency journey: Moving beyond ethical barriers toward profound school change (1st ed.). Corwin.

The Center for Culturally Proficient Educational Practice. (n.d.). The essential elements.

Dialogue for Peaceful Change. (n.d.). DPC method.

Garmston, R.J. & Wellman, B.M. (1999). The adaptive school: A sourcebook for developing collaborative groups. Christopher-Gordon.

Ripley, A. (2021). High conflict: Why we get trapped and how we get out. Simon & Schuster Paperbacks.

Emily byers ferrian
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For fifteen years, Emily Byers-Ferrian worked in education in the U.S.A., facilitating professional learning with educators about responses to difference and navigating conflict and change across cultures. She relocated to Belfast, Northern Ireland in January 2024 to pursue a PhD in English, Creative Writing at Queen’s University, where she researches group and individual culture, conflict and change through creative nonfiction writing. She is bilingual in English and Spanish and is currently a Trainer with Dialogue for Peaceful Change Global.

+ posts

Shannon Keeny specializes in supporting schools, offices, and communities to effectively engage in conversations that help explore access, fairness, and belongingness in the educational environment. Immersed in this work for over fifteen years, the core of her efforts is ensuring that people are valued, accepted, and honored. She has served the educational community as a facilitator for the Howard County Public School System, and she presents at national and international conferences.

Categories: Change management, Facilitation, International perspectives

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