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<xTITLE>Constructive Conflict and Strategic Disruption: A Statement from Conflict Engagement Practitioners</xTITLE>

Constructive Conflict and Strategic Disruption: A Statement from Conflict Engagement Practitioners

by Susanne Terry, Bernard Mayer
June 2020

Resourceful Internet Solutions, Inc. (RIS), home of, is honored to have this opportunity to support this Statement from Conflict Engagement Practitioners.


Over the last week, a group of conflict engagement practitioners have created a statement of intent regarding racism. The idea started with Susanne Terry who, with Bernie Mayer and input from a number of other interested persons, created, "Constructive Conflict and Strategic Disruption: A Statement from Conflict Engagement Practitioners."

The statement was, of course, spurred by recent events in the U.S. and the international response.  We are inviting all persons who work in the field of conflict engagement to consider signing this Statement and committing themselves to using their skills and experience to help forward the dialogue and action that this effort requires.

Our Goals:

  • Declare ourselves as not impartial about this issue - not in our private lives, not in our work.
  • Make a public commitment to take action to fight systemic racism.
  • Signal to the public that the work of mediators, etc. is not about making nice - it is about coming to grips with what is wrong and setting it right.
  • State publicly that no matter how good we are at the work we do, the issue of racial divide will never be okay until we deal with systemic racism.

Read the Statement below and please join us if you can:


(Please sign the Statement HERE)

We are conflict engagement practitioners – mediators, conflict coaches, negotiators, facilitators, conveners, dialogue coaches and more. We assist individuals, organizations and communities to engage with and deal more effectively with conflict.

Our collective experience has taught us that where injustice is embedded in the system that is experiencing the conflict, we cannot help bring about a more peaceful environment without addressing the injustice.

We stand with our brothers and sisters suffering the injustice and pain of racism, whether it was malicious or unintentionally caused. We stand with all people of color who live in a world made dangerous by racism.  Black Lives Matter!

We call for an unprecedented effort to address inequity in our systems of governance, economy, housing, employment, healthcare…  We also recognize that, without disruption, systems of oppression will not change.  No Justice No Peace!   

We fervently hope for peace on our streets, but peace, real peace, meaningful peace, just peace, will only come when the systems of oppression that perpetuate the lethal injustice that killed George Floyd, Eric Garner, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor and so many others are ended.   We support those who disrupt the systems of injustice and we recognize that strategic disruption is necessary to achieve genuine change. 

We will continue to stand with our brothers and sisters who are fighting for justice so that we can then all proudly hold the banner of "More Justice, More Peace!"

Join with us.

Please sign the Statement HERE.



Susanne Terry has pioneered mediation and conflict education in the state of Vermont. One of the first mediators and conflict educators in the state, she created the Mediation Program of Woodbury College which later moved to Champlain College and became a highly respected graduate degree program.  This program was nationally recognized as the first skills based education program in the country and was long recognized for the high-quality of its educational program. Susanne has had a diversified practice of mediation and facilitation which includes work with families, organizations, environmental issues, education, community, and human rights. 

Susanne’s mediation style is known for its common sense and thoughtful approach. She works with parties to assist them to find agreements that work for their particular family circumstances and that will hold up over time. She has been recognized for excellence in her work both within the state of Vermont, in New England having received the New England Association for Conflict Resolution Pioneer Award, and nationally through her leadership work in the Association for Conflict Resolution.  

Be sure to read Susanne's brand new book: More Justice, More Peace: When Peacemakers Are Advocates.  Susanne is the editor, with nineteen contributing authors!  This book could not have come out at a more important time!

Bernard Mayer
Bernie Mayer, Ph.D., has provided conflict intervention for families, communities, NGO’s, unions, corporations, and governmental agencies throughout North America and internationally for over 40 years. He is Professor Emeritus of Conflict Studies, Program on Negotiation and Conflict Resolution, Creighton University and a founding partner of CDR Associates. Bernie’s newest book (with Jacqueline Font-Guzmán), The Neutrality Trap: from Constructive Engagement to Strategic Disruption in Social Conflict, was published in early 2022.  Previous books include: The Conflict Paradox, Seven Dilemmas at the Core of Disputes, The Dynamics of Conflict, Beyond Neutrality, and Staying With Conflict.