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Understanding Conflict Transformation

Conflict is an intrinsic part of the human experience, and the field of conflict transformation (CT) delves deep into how destructive conflicts can evolve into constructive forces for change. Whether it’s a personal transformation, a structural shift in power dynamics, or something in between, CT encompasses a wide range of work, from mindfulness and interpersonal relationships to international mediation and peacebuilding.

Through a series of interviews with seasoned professionals from various roles and organizations worldwide, “MIDDVantage” explores the multifaceted dimensions of conflict transformation. These interviews shed light on the challenges and opportunities in this field.

Episode 1: Media, Technology, and Peacebuilding

The series kicks off with “Media, Technology, and Peacebuilding,” scheduled for release on October 3, 2023. In this episode, viewers will meet Theo Dolan ‘94, the Global Lead for Innovation in Countering Disinformation at IREX. Theo has dedicated nearly two decades to the intersection of media, technology, and peacebuilding, and his work has made a significant impact worldwide.

Theo’s career spans designing and managing complex peacebuilding projects, analyzing conflict in various countries, and developing innovative research methodologies. His leadership at IREX involves building citizens’ resilience to manipulative information in over 20 countries, including Ukraine.

Meet the Interviewer

Shawn Adams, a Middlebury College student (Class of ‘24), is the interviewer for this episode.

Upcoming Episodes

We are set to launch four more episodes throughout the fall of 2023, each featuring an alumni guest speaker and a student interviewer:

  • Episode 2 (Coming October 17, 2023): “Quantitative Research in Peacebuilding” with Shaziya DeYoung, MIIS ‘18, Researcher Learning & Evidence, Alliance for Peacebuilding, interviewed by Quinn Pidgeon ‘24.

  • Episode 3 (Coming October 31, 2023): “Peacebuilding in Afghanistan” with Kate Bateman ‘00, Senior Expert Afghanistan, United States Institute of Peace, interviewed by Kate Goodman ‘24.

  • Episode 4 (Coming November 7, 2023): “Trust, the Glue Holding Society Together” with Rachel Sider ‘14, Senior Executive Officer, Interpeace, interviewed by Teyonce Allison ‘25.

  • Episode 5 (Coming November 21, 2023): “Advancing Democracy, Justice, and Human Rights” with Brian Concannon ‘85, Executive Director, Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti, interviewed by Laura Rivera ‘23.

These upcoming episodes promise to provide further insights into the world of conflict transformation, showcasing diverse perspectives and career paths in this field.

About the Guest Speakers

The guest speakers for this series bring a wealth of experience and expertise to the table:

  • Kate Bateman ‘00, a senior expert on Afghanistan for the U.S. Institute of Peace, with a background in intelligence, policy, and research.

  • Brian Concannon ‘85, a human rights lawyer and Executive Director of the Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti, dedicated to advocating for Haitians’ human rights.

  • Shaziya DeYoung MIIS ‘18, a Researcher with the Learning and Evidence team at the Alliance for Peacebuilding, focusing on building the evidence base for peacebuilding programs.

  • Rachel Sider ’14, who has worked on humanitarian access, policy, and crisis management in various regions.

We invite everyone interested in exploring careers in conflict transformation to join us for this new interview series. Stay tuned for Episode 1, premiering on October 3, 2023, read more about the alumni on our website, and follow us on social media for the latest updates.

Learn about Middlebury’s commitment to serve as an incubator for research, teaching, and student experiences to address divisiveness in society with the Davis Collaborative in Conflict Transformation.