Work of the Center, Summer 2006

Hello Everyone,

The Center has had a busy few months. I want first to announce our national Mediation Process Training. It will be held in October 2-6, here in Minnesota. I am very excited to bring CDR mediation training to our staff and colleagues. It is one of our core competencies and I encourage you to join us. I have both received and provided scores of mediation training programs around the world, and the CDR training is the best I've seen. The discipline, individual coaching, and materials are exemplary. Bernie Mayer and I will co-train the seminar.

The fee for the training is well below what it generally costs when held at CDR's home in Boulder, Colorado; and Bernie and I will supplement the basic five-day training to include restorative justice, victim-offender mediation, and our own international experiences over the past several years. We have space for 35 participants. For more information: Mediation Process Training.

Update on Kenya Hunger Appeal
I thank all of you who have contributed to the Kenya Hunger Appeal. We were able to send over $4,000 to Kenya. We made personal deliveries of food, water, powdered milk, and other items specifically requested by our colleagues in Garissa. They tell us we were the first friends to respond to their appeal and the early delivery made a significant difference for them.

Subsequent international support has come, but the consequences of timing are significant as the drought continues and the aftermath of the devastating loss of food sources, animals, and health might take years to recover. International news stories continue to report that this area of the world still suffers from hunger and starvation at alarming rates and that it is receiving neither enough short-term aid nor the long-term investment it needs.

NGO Management Program at Western University
Thanks to the hard work and perseverance of Evans Mirieri of our staff, we have signed a memorandum of understanding with Western University in June to start a four-year undergraduate program in nonprofit management. Western University is a public institution in the town of Kakamega, near Lake Victoria and the Uganda border. The University will work jointly with the Center to create and operate a new Center for NGO Management on the campus.

Soon we will be seeking colleagues to teach in the program. All instructors will be under contract to the Center but must meet Western University's minimum standards for adjunct instructors. Kenya laws on partnerships will guide the relationships between us and the University. If you are interested in teaching in Africa, have a masters degree in a related field, and have some experience in nonprofit or public administration we would like to hear from you. All courses will have a substantial action learning/practicum element.

Our purpose is to enhance the capacity of the sector through education, practice, and partnership. The pay scale is much lower in Africa than here, so we won't be able to pay instructors much in terms of salary. We plan, however, on providing an apartment and expenses for those who participate. Classes are scheduled to begin in January 2007.

New Clients and New Projects
We are pleased to welcome new clients this quarter. We've begun working with the International Women's Media Foundation and locally with the City of Minneapolis Planning Department, Northwest Youth and Family Services, the City of Roseville HRA and Union/Labor group. We continue our work with the Center for Neighborhoods who has a grant from the Fannie Mae Foundation to document the work we've done with them on the Corridor Housing Initiative. This project has won a Minnesota Planning Award and was a finalist in a National innovation in government award.

Just as rewarding is our work the Minneapolis Consortium for Community Developers, The United Way of Olmsted County, the LGBT Funders Network of the Minnesota Council of Foundations, and the Minnesota Women's Foundation. We also continue to support the development of a new alliance or merger of three national mediation/restorative justice groups, (NAFCM, VOMA, and PRASI), and the development of a local restorative justice program with the Somali Community in Partnership with LEAD, a local nonprofit organization whose mission is to build the capacity of African organizations in Minnesota.

New Team Members
The Center welcomes new associates on its team. Pat Clark will join us as a sub-contractor now and evolve to provide programmatic leadership by early 2007. Pat has just completed four years as the Executive Director of the Fellowship of Reconciliation. She also headed the Klan Watch project of the Southern Poverty Law Center and launched the restorative justice program of the American Friends Service Committee. Jan Goodwin has also become a consulting associate. Jan has published two books on the Taliban in Afhganistan, is a humanitarian and award winning journalist, and currently serves as the international news coordinator for Marie Clarie Magazine.

In addition, Lacoutref Bibbs has joined the Center for administration support, and Michelle Mosner, a graduate student at the Humphrey Institute is coordinating our mediation training project. Another newcomer is Toren Hansen, a doctoral student at the University of Minnesota. He will help us finish our evaluation instrument for restorative justice programs as well as co-present the model at the International Institute for Restorative Justice Practices conference this fall.

Steve Cramer joins the Center team in the role of development support. Steve has his own development consulting business (Steve Cramer and Associates) and he has been providing services to one of our clients. His enthusiasm for the Center has led him to provide pro-bono research and advice for our own funding of various projects.

Center Web Site
The web site also makes weekly progress. Our colors now shine through, our main typeface is larger and darker, and new photographs are helping people put faces to names and places. Jeff of our staff is also working on enhanced elements so the site will become more interactive, allow for on-line donations, and more.

As always, we invite you to join us as a client, donor, board member, team member, or satellite partner. For more information, contact me.