Susan Carpenter talks about the importance of having both a court system along with conciliation and mediation processes because they both serve a purpose. There are times when people need to go to court to protect their rights and to enforce a law and people also need to be exposed to collaborative approaches so that they can use these models when appropriate.
Susan Carpenter is a mediator, trainer and writer in private practice. She has spent the past thrity years developing and managing programs to reach consensus on public issues, resolve public controversies and develop common goals and visions at the local, state and national level. She was the founding director of the Program for Community Problem Solving in Washington, D.C. Prior to that she spent ten years as the associate director of ACCORD Associates in Boulder, Colorado mediating complex public disputes and training others to handle conflict productively. She currently works with organizations and groups to build capacity for collaboration and conflict resolution. Ms. Carpenter holds a Master's degree in International Education and a Doctorate in Future Studies both from the University of Massachusetts. She was a Visiting Fellow at the Program on Negotiation at the Harvard Law School. She taught for two years in Ethiopia as a Peace Corps volunteer. Ms. Carpenter has authored numerous materials including the book, Managing Public Disputes: A Practical Guide to Handling Conflict and Reaching Agreements.