Reconciliation Leaders for a Trusting, Sustainable Peace

Who are Reconciliation Leaders?

Reconciliation Leaders are practical idealists for community, spiritual and faith traditions from all career paths, cultures, disciplines and age groups. They are ready to gain leadership, trust-building, mediation and conflict transformation skills based on mission-focused service combined with an academic curriculum. The program was developed and implemented at the United Nations over 30 years and is now offered to restore faith in leadership and in America.

The Reconciliation Leadership program offers a unique personalized strength-based approach to conflict at all levels. It cultivates self aware leaders who are capable of navigating difficult environments by giving them tools to analyze conflicts and facilitate space for healing and wholeness.

Dr. Sarah Sayeed, Reconciliation Leader and Public Servant spoke on October 21, 2021 and was honored for her ability to build trusting community relationships in the public square. See Life Leadership Award here. Dr. Sayeed co-authored papers on Reconciliation Leadership with Virginia Swain in 2005 and 2006 for conferences convened by the Human Dignity and Humiliation Studies at Columbia University: “A Leadership and Practice to Reconcile Challenges in a Post–September 11th World”, “Reconciliation as Policy:  A Capacity–Building Proposal for Renewing Leadership and Development,” and “Moving Beyond the Victim-Perpetrator Model at the United Nations“.

At this important moment in our history, Reconciliation Leaders offer a compelling vision and broad worldview to groups with seemingly insurmountable challenges. Although they respond to crisis, they support the commitment of groups, institutions and the United Nations to cultivate healthy responses to conflict. They have the courage to refrain from advocating their own solutions to a problem, while eliciting solutions from the people who will live through them. Read testimonials from Reconciliation leaders here.

The learning methodology of Reconciliation Leaders provides personal, interpersonal, systemic and global competency building — integrated with mission-focused training. Participant leaders learn new skills and develop their own mission statement with sensitive and skilled guidance. Initially developed for a United Nations setting, the approach has been broadly applied by participants to family feuds, community and national disputes, and even global challenges. Participants from all sectors are welcome and may participate in the full program or only the Introduction sequence. For the basic and advanced program, click here.

Reconciliation Leaders are committed to be in service to others and at peace in themselves, do not take sides in a dispute, have expertise in creating safe spaces in which groups can take risks, are self-aware of their gifts and unconscious limitations.

The program is unique because it helps leaders tap their internal strengths to better promote peaceful resolutions to conflict.  The methods learned are useful to professional and international peacemakers as well as anyone interested in creating a just, sustainable, multiethnic and intercultural world community.

Reconciliation Leaders build on their unique and foundational mission statement to then learn a systems approach to leadership, trust and peacebuilding by facilitating the Peacebuilding Process of Reconciliation to Develop Political Will (Peacebuilding Process). In this way, they are able to empower the people most affected by a challenge to decide its resolution. Read the history of its implementations.

Reconciliation Leaders trained in the Peacebuilding Process are provided a toolbox containing perspectives, techniques, and tools to facilitate reconciling environments. This approach grows from belief in each leader’s personal mission and a commitment to help them find balance among career, home life, and reflection time. Reconciliation Leaders learn to manage high levels of conflict and stress in their own and in other people’s lives.  Reconciliation Leaders in training at the United Nations are show at left: From left: David Kimball, Junahli Hunter, Gilles Asselin, Anna Sandidge, Bernice Cousins, Lisa Milano, Carolana Calloway, Virginia Swain, Ramona Kohrs and Brooke Belcher Bishara. To read their testimonials, click here.

At this important moment in our history, Reconciliation Leaders offer a compelling vision and broad worldview to groups with seemingly insurmountable challenges. Although they respond to crisis, they support the commitment of groups, institutions and the United Nations to cultivate healthy responses to conflict. They have the courage to refrain from advocating their own solutions to a problem, while eliciting solutions from the people who will live through them.

Through the Global Mediation and Reconciliation Service, Reconciliation Leaders have used the Peacebuilding Process and developed considerable experience with conflicted churches, organizations and countries, United Nations entities in conflict-affected states such as Timor-Leste, Sudan, the Philippines, and in New York City, both before and in the immediate aftermath of the 9/11 attacks.

One of the techniques of a Reconciliation Leader is the imaging process in which the solution to a challenge is imagined, based on the work of Virginia’s mentor, the late Nobel Peace Prize Nominee Quaker Dr. Elise Boulding’s pioneering work. Reconciliation Leaders image the solution to a challenge, believing that if you can’t “see” a solution to a challenge in your mind’s eye, it will be impossible to resolve. Reconciliation Leaders receive their image in meditation, make a timeline backwards and an action plan to bring it into current reality. See Dr. Boulding’s last book: Cultures of Peace: The Hidden Side of History for more. Below is a large group image that imagines a new world emerging from the global ravages of COVID19. Each participant made their own timeline and action plan.

Awakening a New Earth in Wellness Light and Love

Who becomes a Reconciliation Leader?

Emerging and seasoned leaders who see it as their mission to join others in creating a just, multiethnic, intercultural sustainable peace, whether in their community, or within an institutional, national or global setting, enroll in the Reconciliation Leadership Certificate Program. Sam Onapa of the African Union completed the basic and advanced programs. Listen to the impact of Reconciliation Leadership as practiced by two of its graduates, Dr. Sam Onapa and Dr. Sarah Sayeed. Dr. Onapa’s Reconciliation Leadership practicum was cited in the UN Security Council here. Dr. Onapa is a professor at the University of New England in Australia. His expertise lies in trustbuilding and has significant experience in the Sudan and elsewhere. Sam’s image can be seen below:

The Program’s multifaceted goals are to:

  • Provide a leadership experience based on mission-focused service.
  • Provide an academic curriculum combined with vocational, spiritual and psychological education for healthy multiethnic communities, institutions, nations and global situations.
  • Motivate and support the work of reconciliation by men and women around the world.
  • Serve and provide renewal and resources for emerging and seasoned mission-focused leaders in institutions, organizations, communities, nations and international affairs.
  • Educate leaders in the philosophy and techniques of creating reconciling environments, combining visionary, historic and pragmatic approaches.
  • Provide leaders with new thinking for healthy resolution of conflict prevention, and healing from historic, organizational, community, and global social, environmental and economic conflicts.

Graduates of the Program may:

  • Serve as Reconciliation Leaders for a Global Mediation and Reconciliation Service for peaceful settlement of disputes (Chapter 33, UN Charter) locally, nationally and internationally.
  • Assist multiethnic and intercultural communities, institutions and nations to build trusting and healthy relationships.
  • Address and heal the cycle of violence, taking a broader perspective than simply perpetrator or victim.
  • Mediate and transform highly stressful situations.
  • Create conditions of respect, tolerance, and healing.
  • Encourage peace, health and sustainability.
  • Champion the sanctity of life.
  • Encompass a fulfilled personal and professional life.
  • Cultivate these additional attributes of leadership.

How is the Reconciliation Leadership Program taught?

Through a combination of experiential and academic courses and hands-on practicum experiences, Reconciliation Leaders undertake personal, interpersonal, systemic and global competency building — integrated with mission-focused training. With sensitive and skilled guidance, participant leaders learn new skills and develop their own mission statement, the foundation of Reconciliation Leadership.

Participants are welcome from all sectors, walks of life and religious and spiritual traditions.

They may participate in the full program, the Basic and Advanced sequences, or take courses. Learn more about the Reconciliation Leadership Certificate Program.

To register for courses or the entire program, contact Virginia Swain to ensure resonance with the program’s values and ideals.

Join Us

We invite you to join us to lead from the inside out, re-examine your mission, learn new skills and develop a broad worldview in this crossroad moment of institutional, social, ecological, and economic global history.

Ready to learn more?

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