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Certified Mediators Help Establish Peace on Campus and Beyond

Thursday, 28 July 2011

Darlene Bergeson | University Relations | 28 July 2011

Students are following the prophecy to “establish peace internationally,” given by David O. McKay, as the enrollment for the International Peace Building Certificate (IPB) increases. Students of all majors are looking for ways to further build peace, and this certification is preparing them for that.

As part of the curriculum for the IPB certification, students also qualify to be certified mediators. This process involves both the study of theory and practice using role play. These skills are then used in the Peer Mediation Program on campus where all students and faculty are offered free mediation services by a certified mediator.

“Mediators don't solve conflicts for us, they help us to see the possibilities for reconciliation,” says Mason Isom, a certified mediator from Oregon. “This allows us to make the necessary changes.” 

Peer mediation is a safe place where two or more parties can come together to reach agreements on personal issues to improve or maintain their relationship. This program is particularly beneficial in an international school where there are so many different cultural backgrounds coming into one place. This program alone is one of the few offered in the United States, but especially at the undergraduate level. All students who have graduated with the certificate have been accepted to their first choice of peace studies programs. Such schools include George Mason University, Eastern Mennonite University, and the University of Bradford. 

Former president of BYU–Hawaii Eric D. Shumway has said, “BYU–Hawaii is a living laboratory where people of many cultures experience a transformation, where they shed prejudices, misunderstandings, and historical baggage.” 

BYU–Hawaii is an ideal environment to gain understanding and experience while working, studying, and socializing with other cultures and peers from different countries. Mediators and those receiving mediation learn and develop peace building skills in this unique environment.

“Conflict, whether we like it or not, is a part of all of our lives. Often times it can be painful and consuming,” says Julie Hawke, an anthropology major from Idaho. “Whether it is with a roommate, best friend, spouse, teacher, or student, mediation is an opportunity to resolve conflict in a non-threatening but transformative way.”

For more information about the program or requirements for the International Peace Building certification, visit davidomckaycenter.byuh.edu.