The ICCCR was founded at Teachers College, Columbia University, in 1986 under the direction of Professor Emeritus Morton Deutsch, Ph.D., one of the world’s most respected scholars of conflict resolution. Professor Deutsch, an eminent social psychologist, has been widely honored for his scientific contributions involving research on cooperation and competition, social justice, group dynamics, and conflict resolution. He has published extensively and is well known for his pioneering studies in intergroup relations, social conformity, and the social psychology of justice. His books include: Interracial Housing (1951); Theories in Social Psychology (1965); The Resolution of Conflict (1973); Distributive Justice (1985); and The Handbook of Conflict Resolution: Theory and Practice (2000). Professor Deutsch’s work has been widely honored by such awards as the Kurt Lewin Memorial Award, the G. W. Allport Prize, the Carl Hovland Memorial Award, the APA Distinguished Scientific Contribution Award, and the Distinguished Research Scientist Award. Dr. Deutsch has also been president of a variety of organizations including the Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues, the International Society of Political Psychology, and several Divisions of the APA.
In 1988, Ellen Raider, M.Ed., a renowned and innovative teacher, practitioner, and social activist, joined the Center and together with Dr. Deutsch forged an approach to work in conflict resolution that integrated theory and practice. Ms. Raider developed the initial instruction and training activities of the ICCCR: designing and conducting workshops and creating training materials for teachers, administrators, school boards, parents, and students.
Professor Peter T. Coleman, Ph.D., a noted scholar-practitioner in the field, became Director of the ICCCR in 1998. Under Dr. Coleman’s leadership, the staff and students of the ICCCR have become interested in addressing the challenges posed by some of the more difficult and complex issues of our time. Specifically, the theoretical and practical problems of fostering constructive change in systems locked in cycles of dominance and oppression, struggling to meet the concerns of diverse populations, or mired in highly escalated, seemingly intractable conflicts. Dr. Coleman has conducted research on the mediation of interethnic conflict, fostering ripeness in intractable conflict, and on the conditions which foster the constructive use of social power. He has more recently been developing simulations using dynamical systems modeling as a way to address and change the course of protracted conflicts. In 2003, he became the first recipient of the Early Career Award from the American Psychological Association, Division 48: Society for the Study of Peace, Conflict, and Violence. Dr. Coleman’s books include The Five Percent: Finding Solutions to Seemingly Impossible Conflicts (2011); Conflict, Justice, and Interdependence: The Legacy of Morton Deutsch (2011), Psychological Contributions to Sustainable Peace (July, 2012), and Attracted to Conflict: Dynamics in the Emergence, Maintenance and Transformation of Destructive Social Relations (2013). He has also authored over 70 journal articles and chapters, and is a member of the United Nation Mediation Support Unit’s Academic Advisory Council.
In the summer of 2002, Beth Fisher-Yoshida, Ph.D., joined the ICCCR as Associate Director. Dr. Fisher-Yoshida continues to conduct research in the areas of intercultural communication, conflict resolution, transformative learning and Coordinated Management of Meaning ( CMM). Dr. Fisher-Yoshida has more than 20 years experience working with people in education and organizations. Her areas of specialization include working with client organizations in supporting their change efforts through addressing: conflict resolution, diversity, communication, team building, performance management and leadership development. She has now left the ICCCR, and is currently the new Academic Director of the Master’s Program in Negotiation and Conflict Resolution and Columbia University. Dr. Fisher-Yoshida continues to author journal articles and chapters and is now engaged in book writing projects.
Claudia E. Cohen Ph.D. joined the Center as Associate Director in December 2008. She holds a Ph.D. in Social Psychology from UC San Diego, and was on the faculty at Rutgers University. Her early research into the cognitive basis of stereotyping and the impact of “schemas” on social perception and interaction evolved into a lifelong interest in effective communication, conflict resolution and organizational change. She has worked in Fortune 50 companies as an internal organization and leadership consultant, and as an ombudsman addressing employee conflicts. She has also done extensive training for small and mid-sized companies while serving as an Adjunct Faculty Member at Stevens Institute of Technology. Dr. Cohen is an experienced mediator, having worked with the EEOC and with the courts in both municipal and civil cases. She has done research on “mediator style” with Dr. Ken Kressel at Rutgers University – Newark and has presented at dispute resolution conferences. She has also studied and lectured on the role of emotional intelligence (EI) in conflict situations and has taught civil mediators about EI. She has consulted to NGOs, educational institutions and to the UN. A particular area of expertise is helping applied peace building organizations strengthen their leadership and organizational capabilities.