Mediation Program supports community peacemaking in South Bend


While the University of Notre Dame was away for spring break, Laurie Nathan, Mediation Program director at the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies, ran a three-day mediation skills workshop for community peacemakers in South Bend from March 7 to 9. The workshop was held in partnership with the South Bend Office of Community Initiatives.

Workshop participants included representatives from the Office of Community Initiatives as well as recipients of grants from the South Bend Alive Grant Program. This program is part of the city’s efforts to reduce gun violence and support initiatives that positively impact young adults in South Bend.

"The workshop aimed to empower community leaders and activists with mediation skills for managing and resolving conflicts in communities, neighborhoods and organizations," said Nathan. He noted that the workshop marked the start of an ongoing partnership with the city.

Maurice Scott, director of the Office of Community Initiatives, expressed his gratitude to the University of Notre Dame and his commitment to making South Bend “the best place to live, survive and thrive, and to be an example to other cities." Empowering local peacemakers is one of the vital ways to realize that vision. 

Asher Kaufman, John M. Regan, Jr. director of the Kroc Institute, highlighted the importance of sustained engagement with South Bend.

"The Kroc Institute regards South Bend as an integral part of the international system that concerns us, and we are very keen to make a meaningful contribution to our own city," said Kaufman. 

Nathan has also recently conducted mediation skills training for members of Connect 2 Be the Change (C2BTC), a nonprofit organization “dedicated to stopping senseless gun violence in South Bend." C2BTC provides therapeutic services to help people cope with gun violence trauma, and seeks to empower youth and young adults to become productive members of the community.