Resolving conflict with civility

Posted: May 4th, 2018 | Featured | No Comments

Albert H. Fulcher | Editor

National Conflict Resolution Center’s 30th anniversary Peacemaker Awards

At its 30th annual Peacemaker Awards Dinner on April 7 at the San Diego Marriot Marquis & Marina in Downtown, the National Conflict Resolution Center (NCRC) raised $724,000 — the largest total NCRC has raised at an individual fundraising event on record. But that is not all.

History was made when Rancho Santa Fe philanthropist Jeanne L. Herberger, Ph.D. pledged $1 million, designated as the lead gift in NCRC’s first-ever Endowment Fund Campaign. This is also the largest single gift in NCRC’s 35-year history. This Endowment was officially launched at the Peacemaker Awards dinner.

NCRC President Steven Dinkin said Herberger’s role as an advisor to the Board helped chart NCRC’s organizational course, and that her generous donation provides momentum to its new Endowment Fund Campaign. This campaign has set an ambitious goal of raising $20 million by the end of 2020.

“We are deeply grateful to Jeanne for her leadership and her faith in our mission, and we are tremendously excited about what lies ahead,” said Dinkin.

Herberger said she is proud of NCRC’s exemplary record of fostering peaceful collaboration locally and in a dozen countries across four continents.

“This hometown success story has made civility one of San Diego’s fastest-growing exports,” said Herberger. “We must seize this timely opportunity to broaden NCRC’s impact and raise its visibility.”

Dinkin said people that are peacemakers transform society because they understand the value of respect. He said the Peacemaker honorees have demonstrated the core values of peaceful resolution.

“It’s not respect for those who agree with each other, it is showing respect when people disagree with each other,” Dinkin said. “It is showing respect when we are different from each other. NCRC is in the business of promoting civility. It has proven that the tools of conflict resolution always succeed and even thrive. These tools can help us come together within the fabric of our society.”

(l to r) Philanthropist Malin Burnham, Jeanne Herberger and Steven Dinkin at the National Conflict Resolution Center’s 30th anniversary Peacemaker Awards dinner on April 7 (Courtesy of National Conflict Resolution Center)

2018 Peacemaker honorees

No Labels earned the National Peacemaker Honoree for championing bipartisan solutions and encouraging members of Congress to put the country before political party and to reject political extremism.

“In San Diego, we know to achieve real solutions that we need to work together,” said Congressman Scott Peters. “No Labels has been working to usher in a new era of bipartisan government that gets things done. It has created a national model for civility in politics.”

No Labels co-founder Lisa Borders said that the work NCRC does is “not only timely, but it is timeless.”

“Persuasion and respect were the founding principles of our democracy,” Borders said. “But today, anger and intimidation seem to be the principles that our guiding us. That basic fundamental idea seems lost. Yet I am hopeful that we can change the trajectory of the country and the narratives that we are using … We have seen darkness and we have seen chaos before, and we have found the light.”

Peter Seidler, San Diego Padres managing partner, and San Diego restaurateur Dan Shea received the Philanthropy in Peacemaking Honor for their public-private partnerships to erect temporary housing tents for homeless San Diegans.

NCRC Board Chair Thomas W. Turner Jr. said that together Seidler and Shea sent a clear and loud message to San Diego regarding its homeless population.

They have both supported a wide range of nonprofits focusing on healthcare promotion, biomedical research and higher education. Last year, they challenged all San Diegans to take new approach with homelessness problems.

“Their message was that there is no, one solution to this human tragedy,” Turner said. “Also, the time to act is now. This dynamic duo taught us that homeless has many possible solutions. No solution will be quick or easy, but all solutions must be pursued with equal resolve.”

In unity, KPBS and NCRS recognized four women as Community Heroes Honorees: Elizabeth Bustos, for racial justice and equality; Anne Wilson, for her work with affordable housing; Elizabeth Lopez, for her work with immigration issues; and Diane Takvorian, for her advocacy in environmental justice and sustainability.

Elizabeth Bustos, director for Be There San Diego and San Diego Cardiac Disparities Project, developed solutions in eliminating racial and ethnic health disparities when it comes to heart disease, prominently among African Americans who are at higher risk.

KPBS General Manager Tom Karlo said Bustos knows that the road to racial justice and equality is the fundamental right to quality healthcare.

“She has empowered underserved people to set up their own agenda,” Karlo said. “Elizabeth has achieved social justice and, in the process, saved lives.”

Wilson’s 30-year advocacy for lower income families and senior is considered a person that makes homes happen for underserved communities. As senior vice president of housing and real estate development for Community HousingWorks, she recently oversaw the construction of the North Park Senior Apartments.

Elizabeth Lopez founded the Southern California Immigration Project in 2015.

Karlo said Lopez has provided free to low-cost legal services to hundreds asylum seekers who have come to America to find sanctuary and gain a fresh start in life.

“She is a passionate advocate for people from such war-torn countries such as Ethiopia, Rwanda, Ukraine and Egypt,” said Karlo. “Elizabeth has had an impact on this deserving population and her legacy will last for many years to come.”

Diane Takvorian is an environmental justice advocate and is dedicated to inspiring low-income San Diegans to pursue a healthy and sustainable quality of life. She serves as the executive director for the Environmental Health Coalition, which she helped fund in 1980.

“Diane has led the charge for environmental justice in the San Diego/Tijuana region for nearly 40 years,” said Karlo. “She believes that everyone deserves a safe place to live, work and play, and that no one should suffer from daily exposure of toxic pollution. She has mobilized hundreds of thousands of people to rid commercial polluters and she has encouraged communities to take action for better health and a better quality of life.”

NCRC is built on the belief that every dispute has a solution and issues can be resolved with the highest degree of civility and respect to all parties involved.

For more information about the National Conflict Resolution Center visit

—Albert Fulcher can be reached at

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