Center for Peacemaking Practice

Our mission is to strengthen peacemaking by focusing on its practice and practitioners. We seek to realize the potential of peacemaking as a transformative force by inviting practitioners to engage their whole selves and authentic presence in reflective practice as ambassadors of peace.


Paula Garb

Paula Garb is co-founder and former co-director of the Center for Citizen Peacebuilding and the Olive Tree Initiative at the University of California, Irvine (UCI). For 25 years she taught courses in mediation, conflict resolution, civic and community engagement and gang mediation and negotiation.  She directed several academic programs at UCI, including the Mediation Certificate Program, Minor in Conflict Resolution, and Minor in Civic and Community Engagement. Since 1995, she has facilitated citizen dialogues and taught peaceful problem solving skills in conflict zones in the Middle East and former Soviet territories.  Her work as a peace practitioner and researcher has led to a number of publications in books and journals, and to a commitment to promoting the mainstreaming of peace literacy K-16. This is her focus in Education for Global Peace, a program within UCI’s Center for Citizen Peacebuilding.

Margarita Tadevosyan

Margarita Tadevosyan is a Post-Doctoral Fellow with the Better Evidence Project and a PhD alum of the Carter School.  Margarita's academic and professional interestes are in the area of practical engagement with conflict affected societies, especially in the South Caucasus.  Prior to joining the Carter School, Margarita worked for the US Embassy in Armenia in Public Diplomacy and later Political section.  She has extensive experience of participating in track two projects, and has authored several articles and op-eds addressing issues of conflict resolution in the Caucasus.

Marz Attar

Marz Attar is a Senior Fellow at the Center for Peacemaking Practice and describes himself as a seeker for light, for inner freedom, for beauty, for peace and justice.  He played a role in formation and manifestation of our Center for Peacemaking Practice, through regular meetings with Susan and Andrea. He is retired and is presently focused and engaged with expressing and actualizing the vision for One Foundation, which was started when his company, Highland Cellular Inc. was sold and eventually merged into AT&T system.

After leaving his birth place near the Caspian seashore, with his family, Marz migrated to Anatolia where he attended American schools at Talas and the Lycee at Robert College in Istanbul.  He came to the US in 1962 to attend Syracuse University where he studied Economics and international finance, followed by Harvard's MBA program as a Ford Fellow. He joined Arthur Young & Company's New York office upon graduation in 1967.  Amongst his accomplishments was the initiation of Arthur Young's Urban Affairs Program to serve the inner city needy neighborhoods.  Received his CPA in NY in 1973.  That same year he was asked to start Arthur Young's Middle East Office in Tehran, providing consulting and financial services to international clients.  In 1977 he established his own client services company as Attar & Associates which he transferred to California in 1980, after the Iranian Revolution.  During '80's Marz became involved with wireless communication leading to Highland's role as a pioneer wireless service provider in West Virginia (winner E&Y's 2002 Entrepreneurial Award).

Andrea Bartoli

Andrea Bartoli is a Senior Fellow at the Center for Peacemaking Practice, as well as the President of the Sant’Egidio Foundation for Peace and Dialogue.  He works primarily on Peacemaking and Genocide Prevention. The Founding Director of Columbia University’s Center for International Conflict Resolution (CICR), a Visiting Scholar at the Advanced Consortium on Cooperation, Conflict and Complexity (AC4) – Columbia University. Dr. Bartoli has taught in the US since 1994. He chaired the Columbia University Seminar on Conflict Resolution. 

He has been involved in many conflict resolution activities as a member of the Community of Sant'Egidio, and has published books and articles on violence, migrations and conflict resolution. Dr. Bartoli served as Associate Director, Italian Academy for Advanced Studies at Columbia University from 1992-99. He was a lecturer at the University of Rome-Tor Vergata, 1987-92, and director of the Center for the Study of Social Programs, 1986-92. He was president of Unita Sanitaria Locale 7, 1983-87 and a consultant to Consiglio Nazionale dell’Economia e del Lavoro, 1980-84. An anthropologist from Rome, Dr. Bartoli completed his Italian dottorato di ricerca (Ph.D. equivalent) at the University of Milan and his laurea (BA-MA equivalent) at the University of Rome. He lives in NYC and is reachable through email at

Mark Thurston

Mark Thurston, Ph.D. is a senior fellow at George Mason University's Center for Peacemaking Practice and Center for Consciousness and Transformation.  With an academic background in psychology, Mark has worked for 35 years in adult education related to consciousness, holistic health, and personal transformation. He is the author of numerous books related to personal spirituality, dream psychology, meditation, and the transformation of consciousness.  Mark's research interests include mindfulness, conflict transformation, the role of intentionality in groups, and aspects of consciousness which can be experienced in the dream state.  His courses at Mason have recently included "Conflict Transformation from the Inside Out," "Practices for Reconstellating Conflict," and "Consciousness, Meaning, and Life Purpose."

Christopher Mitchell

Christopher Mitchell was born and educated in London. He has held academic positions at University College, London, the London School of Economics, the University of Surrey and the University  of Southampton. He was appointed Lecturer in the Department of Systems Science at the City University in 1973 and became Professor of International Relations there in 1983. He joined the academic exodus from Britain in the mid-1980s and is currently Emeritus Professor of Conflict Research at George Mason University, Virginia, where he was Director of the Institute for Conflict Analysis and Resolution between 1991 and 1994.

He continues to work on practical and theoretical aspects of peacemaking processes and has recently published articles on the theory of entrapment, on ending asymmetric conflicts and on a multi-role model of mediation. His major works are The Structure of International Conflict (Macmillan & St Martins Press; 1981), Peacemaking and the Consultants' Role (Gower Press & Nichols Publications; 1981), and (with Keith Webb) New Approaches to International Mediation (Greenwood Press; 1988). Most recently he has published Gestures of Conciliation (St Martins Press/Macmillan; 2000), A Handbook of Conflict Resolution(Frances Pinter/Continuum 1995) and (with Landon Hancock) Zones of Peace (Kumarian Press; 2007) andLocal Peace-building and National Peace (Continuum; 2012).

Tatsushi Arai

Dr Tatsushi (Tats) Arai is a Visiting Scholar at the Carter School and a Fellow of the Center for Peacemaking Practice. He is also an Associate Professor of Peacebuilding and Conflict Transformation at the School for International Training (SIT) Graduate Institute in Vermont and a Research Fellow of the Toda Institute for Global Peace and Policy Research in Hawaii. Previously Tats was a lecturer of international relations at the National University of Rwanda in the aftermath of the 1994 genocide. Over the past fifteen years, he has led or co-facilitated a number of dialogues and practitioner trainings on conflict-related issues for civil society and government leaders in diverse regions of the world, including the Middle East, the Asia Pacific, South Asia, the African Great Lakes, and North America. His ongoing annual workshops include two peacebuilding and development trainings, one in Vermont and the other in Kathmandu, Nepal, as part of SIT’s Conflict Transformation Across Cultures (CONTACT) program, and two week-long Interactive Conflict Resolution (ICR) dialogues on Taiwan-China-U.S. relations, organized by Strait Talk, a youth-led multi-national movement. Furthermore, Tats is actively involved in six nongovernmental organizations in the field of international conflict resolution and development as a member or adviser.

Tats’s scholarship bridges theory and practice. His publications include: Clash of National Identities: China, Japan, and the East China Sea Territorial Dispute, as co-author/editor (2013, Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars), Creativity and Conflict Resolution: Alternative Pathways to Peace(2009, Routledge), and contributions to Conflict across Cultures: A Unique Experience of Bridging Differences (2006, Intercultural Press). As a Carter School vising scholar, Tats is currently exploring Buddhist approaches to peacebuilding and policymaking, as well as conflict resolution in China-Japan-U.S. relations, with emphasis on the East China Sea dispute.

Arthur Romano

Arthur Romano is a Fellow at the Center for Peacemaking Practice and an Assistant Professor at the School of Conflict Analysis and Resolution.

Peter N. Stearns

University Professor, Provost Emeritus

Dr. Peter N. Stearns became Provost and Professor of History at George Mason University on January 1, 2000; he was named University Professor in January 2011. He has taught previously at Harvard, the University of Chicago, Rutgers, and Carnegie Mellon; he was educated at Harvard University.

During Dr. Stearns' tenure as Provost, George Mason more than tripled its level of funded research and tripled its number of doctoral programs. Expanding global partnerships included a growing number of dual degree programs and elaborate connections with students and universities in countries like Brazil, China, Russia, South Korea and Turkey. Dr. Stearns also spearheaded several important initiatives to expand the university’s global presence, namely the establishment of the branch campus in Incheon, Korea; and the collaboration with INTO to increase the number and diversity of students recruited from abroad.  Each of these projects is deeply rooted in a desire to increase global understanding, and opportunities for constructive collaboration among different societies.

Dr. Stearns received the prestigious Mason Medal in 2014; that same year, the university was awarded the Senator Paul Simon Spotlight Award for Campus Internationalization.

Dr. Stearns retired as Provost in June 2014 but maintains a robust faculty schedule.  He has published widely in modern social history, including the history of emotions, and in world history; and has authored or edited over 125 books, mainly in social history and world history. Since 1967 he has served as editor-in-chief of The Journal of Social History. 

Douglas Irvin-Erickson

Douglas Irvin-Erickson, Fellow of Peacemaking Practice and Director of the Genocide Prevention Program.

José M. Garzón

Dr. José M. Garzón recently retired from the USAID Foreign Service, following three decades working in Democracy, Governance and Conflict programs.  He most recently served as Deputy Director of USAID’s Office of Conflict Management and Mitigation in Washington, where he carried out conflict assessments and evaluations in Bosnia and Kosovo.  Previously, he headed the USAID Democracy and Governance Offices in Kosovo, Afghanistan, Guatemala, and Bolivia.  From 2002 – 2005, he served in USAID Washington as Rule of Law Division Chief, and Europe and Eurasia Democracy Team Leader.  Other Foreign Service assignments include Philippines and Bangladesh, where he worked on strengthening civil society and disaster relief.  His essay “Democracy and Development Reconsidered“, which examines the importance of governance effectiveness, was published in the 2012 volume of USAID’s Frontiers of Developmentseries.  Prior to joining USAID, he worked several years on development programs in Peru and El Salvador.      

José earned his PhD in Political Science from the University of California, Berkeley in 1986, and received his B.A. from Whittier College also in political science.  While completing his graduate work, he worked on Capitol Hill, then received a Fulbright to study in Peru.   His doctoral dissertation reviewed changes in state and society relationships in Southern Peru from the 1950s to the 1980s. 

Bill Potapchuk

Bill Potapchuk is President and founder of the Community Building Institute. CBI works to strengthen the capacity of communities and organizations to conduct public business inclusively, collaboratively, and effectively with the goal of building healthy, sustainable and equitable futures. He also has served as a facilitator and mediator in a wide range of settings, including successful efforts to merge school systems in North Carolina; transform educational systems in Detroit, strengthen affordable housing policy in Arlington, Virginia, and build consensus on a green building ordinance for Washington , DC. Believing that communities need to build their capacity to work across differences, he helped found Collaboration DC, an initiative working to support the use of collaborative practices to address tough issues. He has worked with co-authors on Learning from Neighborhoods: The Story of the Hampton Neighborhood Initiative, 1993-2003, Community Development: A Guide for Grantmakers on Fostering Better Outcomes through Good Process, Negotiated Approaches to Environmental Decision Making in Communities, and Building Community: Exploring the Role of Social Capital and Local Government. He has co-authored chapters for the Deliberative Democracy Handbook, Consensus Building Handbook and the Collaborative Leadership Fieldbook.

Tani Marilena Adams

Tani Adams is a Guatemalan and American anthropologist and practitioner whose current work focuses on how chronic violence affects human development. Under the auspices of the Carter School and CPP, she is presently coordinating the launch of the International Learning Program on Human Development in Chronic Violence. Her work on this subject has been supported by UN Economic Commission on Latin America, US AID, Inter American Foundation, the Woodrow Wilson Center, Clingendael Institute, Norwegian Peacebuilding Center and other organizations in the US and Central America.
Between 1996 and 2007, Tani led the Centro de Investigaciones Regionales de Mesoamérica in Antigua, Guatemala. Previously she founded and led Greenpeace Latin America as well as the Texas Center for Policy Studies. In recent years, she has been a research fellow at USIP and Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.

Andrea Bustamante

Andrea has five years of experience in the nonprofit and communications sectors. She earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science from the Javeriana University of Colombia, and a Master in Development studies from the University of Geneva. With a deep interest in nation building, civil society strengthening, and alternative development, Andrea has provided technical assistance for the design, implementation and evaluation of public policies especially in the fields of justice, human rights, and victims assistance. More specifically, as part of the team working for the NGO Corporación Consultar, Andrea analyzed the results of various peace attempts in Colombia, and designed a new psychosocial procedure for the victims of armed conflicts. Furthermore, She provided technical assistance to several organizations in Colombia such as Academy for Educational Development, Quinteros S.A, Associated France Press, the Press Department at the French Embassy in Colombia, and Estudios Políticos in Mexico. Andrea has a special interest in programs that foster alternative development and local capacity as a path to reduce violence. Since April 2015, Andrea has been working as a trainee for the Institute of Multi-Track Diplomacy in Washington DC. 

Past Fellows

Alicia Pfund, Lisa Shaw, Tani Marilena Adams, Andrea Bustamante, Matthew Graville

CPP works to strengthen peacemaking by focusing on how it is accomplished, and on the people who make it happen.

Peacemaking can be transformative for those involved and those affected; we help people who choose to make it their life's work. Our efforts include:

  • Learning peacemaking skills as part of the education process. Participants gain experience through writing, presenting, researching, and teaching. The center, which supports a learning community centered on practice, is open to faculty, students, partners, fellows and alumni. The center is also working on a course of study. 
  • Incorporating knowledge from the field into theory development. Practical knowledge from peacemakers' experiences could lead to new theories, as well as influence existing ideas. The center want to share information and stories with the peacebuilding community through: creating a story corps of peacemakers; prompting a Ted Talks series; traditional media (TV, radio, newsletter); and academic works such as books, chapters, and journal articles.
  • Fostering connections between practitioners and learning communities. There is a substantial wealth of practical knowledge in the field that often exists in isolation; practitioners' experiences, contacts, and observations are unheard. The center wants to bring these peacebuilders together to find mutual support and to share their experiences with each other and with those studying conflict analysis and resolution.

Past Projects

Latin American Initiative

In 2013 CPP started new activities focused on Latin America. The goal is to support present initiatives in Latin American universities, or to help establish new programs where they are wanted. To a lesser degree CPP could support other entities, such as non-governmental organizations, to strengthen or create their conflict resolution programs.

More Information

Sport and Peace

The mission of the Sport and Peace: Scholar-Athlete Initiatives is to serve as an interactive media platform in the Sport Diplomacy and Sport Development and Peacebuilding (SDP) field, highlighting individuals and research that contribute to its advancement. 

Please browse through our "Interviews" and "Events and Workshops" links to learn more about our activities.
If you would like to share your Sport Diplomacy and SDP experiences, please click on the interview logo to your right - we look forward to hearing from you.

Point of View Process: Georgian-South Ossetian Dialogue

In December 2008, George Mason University hosted a group of Georgian and South Ossetian peacebuilders at Point of View, the university conflict resolution retreat house in Mason Neck, Virginia.  The meeting sparked a series of discussions that have enriched participants' understandings of the possibilities for confidence building in the aftermath of the August 2008 war. Ten Point of View Workshops have catalyzed numerous confidence building measures that bridge the Georgian-South Ossetian divide. The Georgian-South Ossetian Point of View Processcontinues with a goal of further catalyzing constructive confidence building, sharing highly informed understandings of the conflict dynamics with advisors and decision-makers on both sides of the divide, and ultimately contributing to peace and security in the South Caucasus and beyond.  Some Point of View participants are partnering together on policy-related research.

More information.

East China Sea

The rising tension over the disputed islands – known as Diaoyu in China and Senkaku in Japan – in the East China Sea has severely strained Sino-Japanese relations during the past few years. This tension illustrates a security crisis, with far-reaching implications for the two countries’ economic relations, domestic politics, and international relations. Importantly, the crisis has its deep historical roots in the collective memories of the two nations’ wartime experiences, and in their cumulative historical grievances that stand in the way of much-needed reconciliation. The renewed U.S. commitment to the Asia Pacific, in view of China’s rise and the U.S.-Japan alliance, adds to the complexity of the regional and global context in which the bilateral tension between China and Japan is evolving.

Given this background, this S-CAR-based initiative analyzes the multi-faceted nature of the conflict and explores practical approaches to its management and transformation. It brings together policy-oriented opinion leaders, scholars, students, and other stakeholders from different sides of the conflict for open and constructive dialogues. The initial phase of this initiative, in 2012-13, has been financially sponsored by Mr Yoshide Takeda, a George Mason alumnus and an advocate of Sino-Japan reconciliation, and coordinated by Dr Tatsushi Arai, a Fellow of S- CAR’s Center for Peacemaking Practice and Associate Professor of Peacebuilding and Conflict Transformation at the School for International Training (SIT) Graduate Institute in Vermont. Dr Arai, a Japanese citizen, partners with his long-term Chinese colleague, Dr Zheng Wang, Associate Professor in the John C. Whitehead School of Diplomacy and International Relations at Seton Hall University in New Jersey. Drs Arai and Wang are both SCAR alumni and former classmates in SCAR’s PhD program.

In late 2012, Drs Arai and Wang co-facilitated a series of two small-group dialogues at S-CAR, engaging Chinese and Japanese graduate students to explore the role of perceptions and identities in the territorial dispute. In November 2012, Dr Arai facilitated a dialogue between Chinese, Taiwanese, Japanese, and Korean peace researchers and practitioners who gathered in Mie, Japan for a peace research conference. In addition, in January 2013, Drs Arai and Wang co- facilitated a one-day Interactive Conflict Resolution (ICR) workshop for Chinese and Japanese scholars at S-CAR’s Point of View in Virginia. This Point of View dialogue became the basis of a public seminar that the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington DC hosted the following day, in partnership with S-CAR. The Point of View dialogue also resulted in a publication, T. Arai, S. Goto, and Z. Wang, 2013, Clash of National Identities: China, Japan, and the East China Sea Territorial Dispute (Washington DC: Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars).Future activities under consideration include promoting sustained multi-track dialogue between China and Japan, engaging U.S. stakeholders in much-needed U.S.-China-Japan dialogue, and exploring concrete ways to enhance policy applications of lessons learned.

The following videos were taken during a seminar on China-Japan territorial disputes at the Wilson Center in Washington DC, January 2013.

Video: China-Japan Dialogue: Beyond the Territorial Dispute (3 parts)

Peacemakers Retreats

The Center for Peacemaking Practice holds semi-annual retreats for peacemaking practitioners, each lasting around a week and bringing together individuals in the field of conflict resolution from around the world.

Our most recent retreat took place May 20-24, 2013, at theBlue Mountain Retreat Center in Knoxville, MD.  The retreat focused on building resiliency and self-care for practitioners, as well as offering opportunities for reflective practice and shared learning among the community.  Too often, the work of peacemaking is face-paced, intense, and draining, with little time for personal reflection and care.  This retreat sought to address these concerns through building a culture of self-reflection and self-care for the practitioners present, and at the same time create a supportive community of peacemakers - with bonds that will last well beyond the one week spent together.  

We hope to be able to share information soon about upcoming retreats, and invite individuals and organizations in the conflict resolution and peacemaking field to get in touch if you’re interested in participating in future retreats.  

Problem Solving Workshop Training

Skills Training Program

      The Center regularly conducts a number of two-day, skills training workshops during the Fall and Spring semesters, focused mainly on introducing participants to the process of conducting problem solving workshops [PSWs] and the skills that are necessary in making these small group, intermediary initiatives a success.The Workshops are conducted in conjunction with the International Peace and Conflict Resolution Program of the School of International Service at American University, with the Center for Conflict Analysis at the University of Denver, and with the Program on Conflict Management at the University of Baltimore.  Students from all three programs take part, as well as others interested in this approach to peaceful conflict resolution.  Faculty teaching these workshops are drawn from leading institutions involved in practical peacemaking as well as undertaking research and theory building into peacemaking and peace-building processes*. 

     The weekend workshops are typically conducted at S-CAR’s conference and retreat center at Point of View, Mason Neck, starting on Saturday morning and ending on Sunday afternoon.   Typically, the Center organizes two Introductory Workshops, one in the Fall semester [late October] and one in the Spring [early February]. These are followed in March by at least one Advanced Workshop  for those wishing to develop further skills in team facilitation and conducting workshops [and other types of facilitated dialogues]  between adversaries involved in protracted, intractable and deep rooted conflicts. Arrangements can be made for students to take these weekend courses as part of a postgraduate degree program [usually for one credit].  As a follow up, it is hoped to be able to involve some alumni in on-going PSWs seeking to contribute to peacemaking processes in continuing deep-rooted and intractable conflicts in various parts of the world.

Notices about details, dates, and venues will be posted on this page as they are decided, and preliminary enquiries should be direct to


*Faculty involved in this program include:

Professors Ronald J. Fisher &  Mohammed Abu Nimer, American University.

Professor Tamra Pearson D’Estree, University of Denver

Professors Susan Allen, Arthur Romano & Christopher Mitchell, George Mason University

Professors Johannes [Jannie] Botes and Sascha Sheean, , University of Baltimore.

Professor Kate Romanova, The World Bank, Washington DC

Learning from Practice Podcast

The Learning from Practice Podcast, from the Center for Peacemaking Practice, is designed to share stories of peacemaking practice and practitioners from around the world.  Podcasts are available below, along with additional information on the practitioners featured.

Breaking the Impasse in the Nagorno Karabakh Peace Process

A series of analytical meetings of conflict resolution experts from the region of the Nagorno Karabakh conflict, which seeks to facilitate the coordination of Track 1 and Track 2 efforts in resolving the Nagorno Karabakh conflict.

The Imagine Center for Conflict Transformation works in partnership with the Center for Peacemaking Practice of the School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution of George Mason University in implementing this project.

The aim of the project is to contribute to improved effectiveness of the Nagorno-Karabakh peace process through increased informal coordination between Track 1 and Track 2 levels, including between governmental representatives acting in their personal capacity, representatives of governmental think-tanks, conflict resolution experts, and representatives of the international community; development of a strategic approach to confidence-building that will complement and strengthen the official process.

The first meeting of Breaking the Impasse series took place in 2008 at Columbia University. Three Azerbaijani and three Armenian analysts jointly organized a panel discussion on the resolution of the Nagorno Karabakh conflict.  Later, these six papers were published in a special issue of the International Negotiation Journal on Nagorno-Karabakh.

The second meeting of the series took place in September of 2009 at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy and had two components.  One was an open door symposium on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict called “Re-assessing the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict in the aftermath of Russia-Georgia War” with the participation of eight Armenian and eight Azerbaijani diplomats, academics, and analysts. The second was a closed door meeting for the participants of the symposium using problem solving workshop methodology. During the closed door meeting, the topics for the next round of discussions were outlined. A periodical on-line publication focused on the analysis and resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict called Caucasus Edition has been launched as a result of this workshop.

The third meeting took place in Washington DC in Ocotber 2011 and was co-hosted by the School of Conflict Analysis and Resolution, George Mason University, the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, and the Imagine Center for Conflict Transformation.  The meeting was titled “Assessing the Deadlock in the Nagorno-Karabakh Peace Process.”  Representatives of the Armenian and Azerbaijani foreign ministries, OSCE, US and UK governments, as well as a number of Armenian and Azerbaijani conflict resolution experts and civil society representatives participated in the meeting.

Initially, Breaking the Impasse was conceived as series of yearly conferences on the topic of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.  Later, taking into account the deadlock in the negotiation process and rising tensions, we discussed a possibility of taking a more pro-active role in the peace process.

Currently, the process represents regular meetings of experts from the region of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict working together toward development of recommendations for the local governments and international community toward the improvement the effectiveness of the peace process.