Rebuilding to Resilience is a capacity-building initiative with the Pima County (Arizona) Health Department that is still in its early stages. Pima County faces high rates of COVID-19, tensions around covid vaccines and mitigation measures, and health disparities based on race, ethnicity, and income. We have been using our Transformative Dialogue approach to aid the department’s formation of a diverse Community Advisory Committee.
We are now also applying dialogue to improve health literacy and health outcomes for the county’s residents. In that capacity, we will help the department to design and facilitate inclusive community engagement processes, and lead training sessions for the department’s staff.
We currently co-facilitate Transforming the Conversation on Carbon Pricing (TCCP). In this initiative, housed at Deep South Center for Environmental Justice, a range of climate justice activists and policy advocates come together for confidential dialogues to cultivate common ground. Since 2011, we have worked with Pricing Carbon Initiative to facilitate quarterly confidential dialogues among more than 100 key organizations about climate change policy, across party lines, in Washington DC.Read more
Erasure and Restoration: An Exploration of Past and Present in the Kwinitekw Valley’s Indigenous Communities
2020 was the 400th anniversary of the Mayflower’s landing in Wampanoag territory in 1620. Through events and working groups facilitated by Native people and non-Native allies, this series worked to analyze the meaning and process of relationship-building, reconciliation, land caretaking, memory, and inclusive curricula that explore Native histories, cultures, and lived experiences.Read more
Building Inclusive Communities was a series of daylong symposia, organized with Critical Connections, in which representatives of diverse sectors developed mutual understanding and the beginning of shared work toward inclusion and equity in Western Massachusetts communities. Topics included Engaging Our Muslim-American Neighbors; The Role of Faith Leaders; and Improving Relations between Law Enforcement and Communities of Color.Read more
Engaging Peace: Reparation and its Forms & UNDERSTANDING THE MANY DIMENSIONS OF WHITE IDENTITY: POLITICS, POWER, AND PREJUDICE (2019-2020)
These two short workshop series in our home office community of Western Massachusetts focused on (1) understanding some of the impact of racist terror and race-based systems in U.S. history, and how different forms of making reparations can contribute to healing those wrongs—and (2) some the factors that allow white supremacist ideology to continue to persist in (sometimes) less visible dimensions today.Read more
From 2014-2019, we worked with Critical Connections to host local series of in-depth discussions, informed by presentations with expert speakers, to deepen our capacity to reflect and develop understanding across religious, racial, gender, national, and political divides. Past themes included Muslims in America: Dialogues Across Divides; U.S. Policy in the Muslim World; Protecting Civil Rights and Promoting Civic Engagement; and Rehumanizing and Restoring Relationships.Read more
Karuna Center was invited to work closely with Amherst College’s Multicultural Resource Center to plan and implement a Day of Dialogue on Race, requested by student leadership in respect to the Black Lives Matter movement and the events of Ferguson. We trained 55 facilitators in advance—students, faculty, and staff. On the dialogue day, about 1,300 people were brought together as active participants.
Karuna Center worked with Principals Ljuba Marsh and Bob Brick of the Paulo Freire Social Justice Charter School in Holyoke, Massachusetts, to integrate a culture of positive conflict resolution into every aspect of school activities—and help build a safer, more supportive school environment for students. Through community-wide meetings and trainings in leadership, dialogue, and violence prevention, Karuna Center helped the student body to build inner self-worth, take responsibility for their education, and work with teachers and staff to address conflict before it spirals out of control.Read more
In 1997, Karuna Center’s founder and Senior Peacebuilding Advisor, Paula Green, initiated the CONTACT (Conflict Transformation Across Cultures) program at the School for International (SIT) Graduate Institute in Brattleboro, Vermont. More than 1,000 peacebuilders from more than 80 countries around the world have enhanced their knowledge and training in conflict transformation through SIT CONTACT programs, and Karuna Center program staff and Peacebuilding Associates have been actively involved.Read more
We were asked by concerned Massachusetts residents to facilitate a series of interfaith community dialogues, to explore the varied responses to the Israeli-Palestinian peace process among diverse Jews, Muslims, and Christians.
As the US military response to the September 11 terrorist attacks began to unfold, we held a series of trainings to increase local residents’ capacity to discuss their disparate views on the war. We trained teachers at Northampton High School in dialogue to help them talk more effectively among each other and with their students. We also held training-of-trainer workshops among members of the broader community to give people skills and practice for facilitating their own conversations.