On October 20, 2005 we witnessed the beginning of something really big! Spurred on by the success of mediation celebrations around the country and of course, the success of Mediation Week in the State of Florida, the Association for Conflict Resolution adopted a resolution designating October 20, 2005 as Conflict Resolution Day and called on “the people of the United States to observe Conflict Resolution Day with appropriate ceremonies, activities, and educational programs.” … And they did!
I had the privilege of serving as chair of the ACR Committee which worked on this event and as the day approached it was incredibly exciting to see the number of participating states and the breadth, scope and creativity of the organizers. We set our sights on the United States because we did not want to stretch beyond what we thought was possible, but the idea and momentum was so powerful, there also were events outside the United States specifically, in Canada and Portugal both participated.
The purpose of creating a National Conflict Resolution Day is to:
- promote awareness of various forms of peaceful conflict resolution (with a special focus on mediation)
- promote the use of conflict resolution in schools, businesses, communities, governments and the legal system
- recognize the contribution of peaceful conflict resolvers
- educate current and potential users about the benefits of conflict resolution
Another reason for creating a national day was to obtain synergy by having celebrations happen across the country (the world!) at the same time. We knew from our research that many states had proclamations that recognized mediation and conflict resolution. The problem was that everyone celebrated on different days of the year. In Florida, we saw that there was synergy achieved by having everyone celebrate on the same day or week and we wanted to create that on the national level.
Initially, the Committee expended our energy in attempting to obtain a Congressional Proclamation. While we were unable to obtain one this year, it turns out that it was not necessary for people to engage in planning and executing events. For a listing of the national events which we know about, please see http://www.acrnet.org/crday/crday2005.htm For the Florida events, click Mediation Week Celebration 2005 in Florida.
Plans are already in the works to make this an annual event so mark your calendars for the third Thursday in October – October 19, 2006!
Until Next Time… Sharon