Social Connectedness / 2013

Listening Communication and Conflict Resolution Skills for Los Angeles

Idea submitted in the My LA2050 Maker Challenge by The Institute for Nonviolence in Los Angeles

This idea will provide those who wish to learn listening, communication and conflict resolution skills the opportunity to do so at multiple locations throughout Los Angeles. Social connections are impacted by how we interact with one another. When conflict occurs, there are opportunities to listen and communicate in a way that increases the possibility of resolving disputes, and building social connections. Too few opportunities are available to members of the public to learn and apply listening, communication and conflict resolution skills. This will help move Los Angeles toward more effectively addressing the inevitable conflict that we encounter in the most constructive ways possible.

What are some of your organization’s most important achievements to date?

More than 2,000 members of the public were trained by Avis Ridley-Thomas in the years that I oversaw the Los Angeles City Attorney’s Dispute Resolution Program of the Office of the Los Angeles City Attorney. Emeritus UCLA Professor Buzz Wilms initiated a class at UCLA in 2001, and hundreds of undergraduates have been trained as a result of that class.

Please identify any partners or collaborators who will work with you on this project.

There is a vibrant dispute resolution and dialogue and deliberation community in Los Angeles. All of these collaborators will be made aware and invited to participate in this initiative, if it is selected for funding.

Please explain how you will evaluate your project. How will you measure success?

We will train and work with hundreds of people who want to find better ways of communicating and resolving conflict. They will obtain a better understanding of community resources to assist them, and learn to intervene effectively to help resolve disputes wherever they occur.

How will your project benefit Los Angeles?

It will help advance the mission of “a mediator on every block,” allowing neighbors, co-workers and family members to better interact and create more profound social connections.

What would success look like in the year 2050 regarding your indicator?

Listening, communication and mediation skills would be standard curriculum in schools, and standard operating procedure at homes and in workplaces throughout Los Angeles. Any persons involved in miscommunication, misunderstanding or conflict would get multiple opportunities to resolve the matter quickly and constructively. A culture change would occur in our city, resulting in significantly fewer matters which result in violent behavior.