Community Conferencing is a facilitated process that is especially
useful when a dispute between two people has escalated into a conflict
involving others. Often, in these circumstances, "sides"
begin to form, open communication between factions breaks down,
job performance and satisfaction drop, and a sense of tension deepens.
People may spend more energy talking to their allies about those
with whom they are in conflict-and reinforcing their perceptions-than
they spend talking with those with whom the conflict originated
and resolving their differences.
A Conference brings together all of the people who have been affected by the conflict to discuss and to better understand what has happened, to deepen their understanding of how everyone has been affected, and to explore ways to make the situation better. Having everyone who has been affected meet together at one time and place can help the whole community or workgroup understand and resolve past issues and transform their working relationships for the future.
The intention of conferencing is to involve the whole community of people who have been affected by a conflict. The primary disputing persons in conferencing will be encouraged to invite supporters and others who have been affected by the conflict to participate in the conferencing session. CEDRS staff or facilitators may also include others whom they have identified as having been affected. Everyone who is invited and wishes to attend will be included.