In this issue: Negotiation & Conflict Resolution Capstone presentations; Interview with AC4 Project Coordinator Nick Redding; Welcoming the 2014 AC4 Graduate Fellows; and much more!!
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Providing you with the latest news in conflict, violence prevention, peace and sustainability at Columbia University

2014 Negotiation & Conflict Resolution
Capstone Presentations!

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Interview with AC4 Project Coordinator, Nick Redding

Nick supports the development of AC4 Link through outreach, data management, network development, and technical assistance.  He is also a PhD student at Teachers College, Columbia University, where he studies conflict, dynamic approaches to conflict, motivation in conflict, networks, organizational culture, online social behavior, and collaboration.

What life experiences or motivations led you to the field of conflict resolution?

Actually, I started with an interest in social and organizational psychology. The field of conflict resolution became more interesting to me as I started to do research with Professor Peter T. Coleman, and as I started to explore the influence of the social environment on individual behavior. My interest in all of these sub-disciplines of psychology is related to Kurt Lewin's observation that behavior is a function both of the qualities of the individual and the influence of the context around them - something that I believe is under-emphasized in the larger discipline of psychology. What hooked me on conflict resolution is Professor Coleman's emphasis on 1) exploring the complexity of conflict through the lens of dynamical systems theory in contrast to more traditional, linear and reductionist approaches, and 2) examining not only conflict and conflict resolution processes, but also the concept of "positive peace" - those factors that contribute to enhanced capacities to navigate conflict constructively. I am currently in the process of exploring what career paths which would allow me to apply these perspectives to work in organizations.

Tell us about your doctoral research. How does your research impact or influence your work for AC4?

My research with Professor Coleman centers on applying concepts from dynamical systems theory to understanding conflict processes. This work is currently examining the complexity of conflict at two levels in organizations. First, we are examining the individual leadership competencies of leaders who are able to successfully navigate large-scale systemic conflicts. The focus is on comfort and competency in working with complexity. Currently, we are conducting a study which examines the relationship of individuals' behavioral and emotional complexity, ability to differentiate and integrate multiple perspectives, tolerance for ambiguity, and consideration for future consequences to performance in navigating a computer-based complex conflict simulation. At the larger institutional level, we are working to create a framework for assessing constructive conflict resolution capacities in organizations. This work will lead to an assessment package that will facilitate adapting organization processes in order to increase the probabilities that conflicts will reach more constructive resolutions.

This research adds tremendously to the perspectives I am able to bring to my work at AC4. In order to investigate the complexity of conflict, it is necessary to be open to exploring conflict from a multidisciplinary perspective. That is what is required of my work at AC4 is well: to identify and highlight the breadth of work in conflict, peace violence and sustainability across all of the various schools and departments that compose Columbia University. Additionally, my research, by necessity, requires an integration of theoretical, empirical and practice-based perspectives - each of which I strive to give due consideration in my work at AC4.

In what ways do you use AC4 Link in your dual role of project coordinator and researcher?

AC4 Link is immensely useful in my role as AC4 project coordinator for meeting the needs of the broader community of conflict scholars at Columbia University. The University is very large, and there is so much work happening that is relevant to conflict scholarship. However, it is often difficult to find individuals working in specific areas of conflict because these scholars are spread across the university schools from SIPA, Mailman, Teachers College, the Business School, GSAS and others. Additionally, in the times when we have needed interdisciplinary perspectives in our research, I have found AC4 Link to be a great tool for easily identifying members of the CU community to reach out to.

In what ways can AC4 Link be useful for students? For faculty? For professionals?

For prospective students, AC4 Link is ideal for finding which department or school may be best suited for meeting their academic needs. Current students can use the site to find faculty and centers related to very specific topics in conflict resolution and peace studies. Both would be very difficult to do through navigating the various program websites or by contacting individual departments. For faculty, AC4 Link is useful in at least two ways. First we provide exposure for faculty through attractive and useful profiles. The profiles are not designed to be comprehensive, but instead offer a snapshot of a faculty member's work along with links to learn more about them and how to reach them. Second, in our early conversations with faculty before we launched AC4 Link, we learned that faculty had a difficult time identifying potential collaborators outside of their school and/or department. AC4 Link solves this problem by de-emphasizing school as a category, and instead emphasizes academic discipline(s), specific areas of interest, and the type of work they do. In this way, faculty can start with their own AC4 Link profile and then quickly find other faculty who have similar interests. Finally, professionals outside of the CU community will find AC4 Link useful for identifying specific experts in the field within Columbia University. Again, not having to search for faculty across multiple websites and programs makes our world-class faculty that much more accessible to those both in and outside of the university system.


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Save the Dates!

May 7, 2014
Handbook of Conflict Resolution (3rd Ed)
Book Launch Event!

Teachers College, HM 232
7pm to 9pm

Free & open to the public!!

May 8, 2014
Lt. Gen. Julius Waweru Karangi on Conflict Resolution in the Horn & East Africa

Columbia University (see link)
6:30pm to 8pm

Please RSVP!!

May 8-9, 2014
Conflict Intelligence Series: Making Conflict Work

Teachers College (see links)
9am to 5pm (both days)

Please RSVP!!

AC4 Link

AC4 Link is a web-based information hub that highlights all people, centers, and programs conducting research, practice, and teaching activities related to conflict resolution, peace, violence prevention, and sustainable development throughout Columbia University and beyond. If you are looking for a person, program, or center conducting specific work under these areas, this is a great place to start.

Contact: Nick Redding


Welcoming the 2014 AC4 Graduate Fellows!

Read about the exciting interdisciplinary research and practice-based projects that this year's AC4 Fellows will engage in!

Advanced Consortium on Cooperation, Conflict, and Complexity (AC4)
475 Riverside Drive, Suite 253
New York, NY 10115
(212) 870-2771