$2 million gift will enhance programming, facilities and practice at the School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution

The School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution's Point of View retreat center. Photo by Evan Cantwell.

A $2 million gift to George Mason University’s School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution will be used to bolster major areas of the school, with the goal of “advancing the field of conflict resolution by strengthening S-CAR as an institution,” said Steve Cumbie, one of the benefactors.

Longtime Mason supporters, Cumbie and his wife, Drucie French, have made one of the largest gifts ever to Mason’s 30-year-old conflict analysis and resolution school, the first and only school in the country dedicated to educating peace practitioners.

Although specifics are not yet finalized, “the gift matches S-CAR’s priorities of increasing access for future thought leaders in conflict resolution and peace studies,” said Maria Seniw, director of development for the school.

Half of the gift will be used for graduate fellowships, making it the largest scholarship fund for S-CAR. The school will increase the number of fellowships as well as provide financial support for research travel and fieldwork, among other opportunities.

Part of the funding is allocated to the Cumbie French Chair in Conflict Resolution, which they established in 1988 when the school was in its infancy.

A third of the funds will go to additional programming, research and practice at Point of View, Seniw said. Point of View International Retreat and Conference Center, located on 120 acres at Belmont Bay on the Potomac River near Lorton, Va., is Mason’s two-year-old facility dedicated to peacebuilding practice, teaching and research.

“In addition to the specific areas of our mission this generous gift will support, it is also symbolizes an affirmation of the aspirations and commitment of the school’s founders,” said Kevin Avruch, dean of the School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution, “to educate and train rising generations of young people devoted to understanding the roots of destructive conflict and acting practically to make the world a more peaceful place.”