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Ready for that family gathering? Program at Manchester offers skills to deal with conflict

There you are, enjoying your family time, hoping that the conversation stays around light and trivial topics, when that dreaded comment comes out … is it from Mom? Dad? Grandpa?  What happens when you find your family’s comments insensitive, or even offensive?

Our families and friends are often our first priorities in almost all we do, yet conflict is inevitable. “When Conflict Comes to Dinner” is an interactive program at Manchester University, meant to explore real-life scenarios of how we can have difficult conversations – especially with family members and peers. 

The hour-long program is 3:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 12 in the upper level of the Jo Young Switzer Center on the North Manchester campus. It is free and open to the public.

The program is designed to be interactive. Participants are encouraged to take an active role in learning the soft skills imperative to productive communication when facing difficult conversations. 

“We will explore what conflict means to us and how we can navigate those situations with those who are closest to us – our family, and our friends,” said Theresa Onderko, director of the collaboration of Education for Conflict Resolution (ECR) and Manchester University. “We all play a part in provoking positive change as it relates to how we treat others and allow others to treat us, our family, or our friends.”

The lack of proper speaking and listening skills has proven to be a major contributor to misunderstandings between people; they also make it difficult to handle conflict productively once it arises. Communication is an essential tool that lies at the heart of all personal interactions, whether in the family, friendships, the workplace or the public sphere. 

This program is meant to help attendees focused on improving communication skills through increased knowledge and practice. It will also help participants to learn how to work together in a collaborative style and make decisions that will make a positive impact. A mix of ECR volunteers will help facilitate the program.

ECR is a nonprofit organization based at Manchester University that seeks to educate and train people about skills that can be used in conflict communication, conflict resolution and conflict transformation.

Established in 1948, the Peace Studies Institute and Program in Conflict Resolution at Manchester University pioneered as the first undergraduate Peace Studies program in the world. The curriculum offers a major in Peace Studies as well as a minor. The Nov. 12 program is part of the Value, Ideas, and Arts series, which offers cultural, intercultural, and artistic enrichment to MU students.

Manchester University is one of six colleges across the nation grounded in the values and traditions of the Church of the Brethren, a traditional peace church. It welcomes people from all faith traditions.

More for the media
Education for Conflict Resolution
Peace Studies Institute at Manchester University

About Manchester
With campuses in North Manchester and Fort Wayne, Ind., Manchester University offers more than 70 areas of academic study to 1,400 students in undergraduate programs,a Master of Accountancy, a Master of Science in pharmacogenomics, a Master of Athletic Training a four-year professional Doctor of Pharmacy degree and a four-year dual degree in pharmacy and pharmacogenomics. Learn more about the private, northern Indiana school at www.manchester.edu

Our mission
Manchester University respects the infinite worth of every individual and graduates persons of ability and conviction who draw upon their education and faith to lead principled, productive, and compassionate lives that improve the human condition.

October 2019