Wednesday, October 30, 2019 - 12:20pm to Thursday, March 5, 2020 - 1:20pm
Westbrook Building, Duke Divinity School (Map)
Valerie Helbert

Conflict is a natural part of life and bound to occur, whether in the home, school, community, church, or workplace. However, the way we manage conflict has the potential to support personal, community, and institutional transformation. Leaders in all walks of life often have a responsibility to help others work through their conflicts, and yet many, if not most, leaders have not been introduced to the skills necessary to support effective conflict resolution nor do they have a deep understanding of their own relationship to conflict.

In partnership with the Conflict Transformation Ministries of the NC Conference of the United Methodist Church, the Duke Center for Reconciliation will host a yearlong series of public conversations about conflict transformation. The goal of this series is to help the Duke Divinity School community understand the skills necessary to deal effectively with interpersonal, congregational, and other forms of group conflict. In addition to giving a short presentation and engaging participants’ questions, speakers will provide practical resources and lists of materials to help equip us in our journey to be more self-aware and more confident as we work in and on conflict. No registration is required.

The Hispanic House of Studies, the Methodist House of Studies, and the Thriving Rural Communities Initiative are co-sponsoring the series.

2019-20 Schedule

Understanding Implicit Bias, October 30, 2019 (12:20-1:20, 0015 Westbrook Building): Rev. Chris Brady, Pastor, Wilson Temple United Methodist Church, Raleigh N.C.


Implicit bias refers to the attitudes or stereotypes that affect our understanding, actions, and decisions in an unconscious manner.  These biases, which include both favorable and unfavorable assessments, are activated involuntarily and without an individual’s awareness or intentional control.  Residing deep in the subconscious, these biases are different from explicit biases that individuals may choose to conceal for the purposes of social and/or political correctness.  The implicit associations we harbor in our subconscious cause us to have feelings and attitudes about other people based on characteristics such as race, ethnicity, age, and appearance.  We all have these biases and more often than not, these biases do not necessarily align with our declared beliefs or even reflect stances we would explicitly endorse.  Join the Rev. Chris Brady for a conversation about implicit bias, how to begin to explore what yours are and how to gradually unlearn our unhelpful implicit associations.

Cultivating a Posture of Cultural Humility, November 5, 2019 (12:20-1:20, 0015 Westbrook Building): Ismael Ruiz-Millán, Director of the Hispanic House of Studies, Global Education & Intercultural Formation, Duke Divinity School

In the second chapter of Paul’s letter to the Philippians, one finds a powerful description of Jesus’s ministry. In this session, we will explore the implications of this description as it relates to having the appropriate posture as one engages in conversations with people from different cultures, ethnicities, and races—or different from ourselves in any other way.  In addition, participants will reflect on individual steps as well as ways of helping others to move toward cultural humility.

Living in to Matthew 18: 15-20, January 16, 2020 (12:20-1:20pm, 0013 Westbrook Building): Rev. Molly L. Shivers, Director of Conflict Transformation Ministries, NC Conference of the United Methodist Church

When groups of human beings gather, there inevitably will be conflict when individuals express clashing wishes, needs, and desires.  Nonetheless, conflict in and of itself is natural, normal and necessary for growth. Conflict can be damaging when it is not addressed in a faithful manner. In Matthew 18: 15-20, Jesus gives step-by-step instructions for navigating conflict in Christian community. In this session, participants will walk through Jesus’ guidelines for engaging conflict in Christian community and explore practical applications of Matthew 18: 15-20.

Active Listening, March 5, 2020 (12:20-1:20pm, 0013 Westbrook Building): Rev. Chris Brady, Pastor, Wilson Temple United Methodist Church, Raleigh, N.C.


Active listening is a communication technique used in counseling, training, and conflict resolution. It requires that the listener fully concentrate, understand, respond and then remember what is being said.  Listening actively is an incredibly powerful conflict resolution tool as most people will not listen or contribute to productive problem solving until they feel understood. It’s also harder than most people think. Join the Rev. Chris Brady for an introduction to active listening and learn how it can improve your communication and conflict resolution skills.