Conflict Resolution for Political Leadership Training Program

several students are in conversation around tables

Politics of Decision Making Fellowship: Conflict, Resolution, and Cooperation

Political Leadership Academy Fellows learn from and dialogue with scholarly and practical thought leaders regarding conflict resolution in the American political context. Throughout our 10-week course, we'll cover:

  • Strengthening and preserving democracy
  • Conflict resolution strategies for collaboration
  • Personal and professional communication skills
  • Leadership in public policy

Who Should Apply?

While those in political leadership roles are especially encouraged to apply, this course is also open to civic and community group  members, business and nonprofit leaders, and others interested in conflict resolution in American politics, especially at the Virginia state and local levels.

What We'll Accomplish

Fellows will be equipped with ideas and skills to respond to contemporary American political conflicts. Sessions will include presentations from scholars and practitioners with an emphasis on group dynamics and networking. Participants will build foundations of understanding from a diverse set of professional and personal backgrounds and will develop contacts with a dynamic cohort of participants who are passionate about unity and problem-solving. Participants will also gain membership in our alumni organization which holds engaging subsequent events exclusively for Political Leadership Academy alumni.

Course Structure

Each weekend will be held in person or online Friday evenings and Saturdays and will build political and conflict resolution knowledge and skills. Skills and concepts covered include:

Conflict Analysis and Resolution

Political Leadership

Weekends 1-4: Conflict Identification and Analysis

  • Understanding Types of Conflict

  • Context and Listening

  • Systems and Structures

  • Power Dynamics & Root Narrative

  • Identity Conflict Analysis

  • Conflict Mapping

Weekends 5-7: Conflict Resolution Skills

  • Intractability and Ripe Moments

  • Negotiation

  • Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

  • Reflective and Reflexive Practice

  • Role Play and Understanding

Weekends 8-10: Cooperation

  • Cooperation

  • Collaboration, Coalitions, and Compromise

  • Framing and Messaging

  • Collaborative Narrative

  • Contemporary Themes

Weekends 1-4: Political Foundations

  • Self Discovery and Leadership

  • Understanding Political Conflict

  • Structural Challenges

  • Political Ideology and Realpolitik

  • Personal Communication Skills

  • Professional Qualities

Weekends 5-7: Political Conflict Resolution

  • Common Ground

  • Political Courage

  • Ethics, Authenticity, and Trust

  • Effectiveness when in the Minority

  • Leading in Volatile Environments

Weekends 8-10: Political Cooperation and Effectiveness

  • Town Halls and Meetings

  • Responsible Campaigning & Community Engagement

  • Getting Comfortable with Fundraising

  • Public Policy from a Bipartisan perspective

  • Media Training and Use of Technology



Fellowship Capacity

To ensure a quality learning experience, class cohorts are limited to 24 participants.


Early Bird Tuition: (For applications received by December 10th, 2021): $3,950
Regular Tuition: $4,500
A limited number of need-based scholarships available for local office holders and leaders. Pleasesee application for more details.


In-person weekends*
(Hotel stay, Friday dinner, and Saturday breakfast and lunch provided)
6pm to 9pm on Fridays and 9:30am to 5pm on Saturdays, they include:
February 25-26, March 4-5, April 1-2, April 29-30 May 27-28, June 10-11.

Online weekends
10am to 2:00pm on Saturdays
March 19, April 16, May 14 June 4.
*All in-person weekends will be held at the Carter School's Point of View Retreat Center in Lorton,Virginia.