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 Tuesday, June 15, 2010 IssueFaculty/Staff E-Newsletter

IN THE SPOTLIGHT


3CG: New Center Has Far-Reaching Influence
by Allison Sylvest
 

The Center for the Study of Conflict, Collaboration, and Creative Governance (3CG), formed in October 2009, is readying for a conference that will take place on campus at its one-year anniversary mark, October 2010. Very impressive for a newly formed center, though not surprising in consideration of the people involved, and the work taking place at CU-Boulder. Director Stan Deetz, a professor of communication and President’s Teaching Scholar, said collaboration was already happening between departments across campus. “It just needed a home.”

“Peace and Conflict Studies is already one of the largest certificate programs on campus,” he said. “This year, 50 students completed the program.” CU-Boulder also houses the Conflict Information Consortium (CIC) co-directed by Guy Burgess and Heidi Burgess. CIC has developed two of the largest and most respected online conflict knowledge bases in the world, serving approximately 175,000 users per month. Beyondintractability.org and CRInfo.org are a bit like Wikipedia for conflict, except all of the articles are written by experts. The CIC has recently received a commitment of about $200,000 a year in contracts to expand the site to include a peace and governance information service.

More than 60 faculty on campus currently teach and research conflict issues. The goal of the center is to take what is already in place, coordinate the activities, and offer more outreach.

A case in point is the collaborative outreach that will begin in early July, when Deetz and Ajume Wingo, associate professor in the department of philosophy, start work in Kenya to mitigate the possibility of civil war during the 2012 election. “There is long term animosity across tribal groups, and poverty, corruption, and dislocation in Kenya,” said Deetz. “A national election means someone wins and others lose, bringing to the fore existing tensions. Our aim is to work with professional and citizen groups in Kenya to lessen the possibility of civil strife and war.”

The last election in 2007 resulted in 800 deaths, and up to 600,000 people were displaced. Media coverage only heightened the violence, and the fallout impacted the entire East African region. “We plan to be working with UNESCO and with colleagues from other universities to put into place a system of proactive communication, governance reform and election preparation,” Deetz said.

With projects such as this, the center is building an organization that has global, national, and local relevance. From the upcoming election in Kenya to addressing business enterprise that integrates commercial concerns, the possibilities are wide-ranging and numerous.

Significant gifts have made possible the October 2010 Reinventing Governance Conference that will bring to campus notable speakers and presentations to promote dialogue, creative solutions and collaboration for common welfare. The general public is welcome to attend the Friday events, to be held on the CU-Boulder campus. The conference will take place Oct. 8-10.

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