E5-S4 of The Social Change Career Podcast

Summary & Key Takeways

"From Tree Huggers to Professional Hopers. How to start and flourish in a career in Conflict Resolution with Dr. Mari Fitzduff"

You made it in life when it is impossible to fit your accomplishments in one go.  But when you remain a good human, it's even better.  It is a tremendous honor to have as a guest Dr. Mari Fitzduff,  one of the leading academics of contemporary conflict resolution and coexistence policy. Irish-born activist, educator, writer and academic, and more importantly, a very good human being.   In Episode 5 of Season 4 (click to listen) hear about Dr. Fitzduff's earlier years, her involvement in conflict and post-conflict Northern Irish policy development; her tenure at the Heller School for Social Policy and interests in Neuroscience; Followership and her most recent book on Donald Trump.

Episode 5 of Season 4 is brought to you by The Rotary Peace Fellowship and the Graduate Program in Conflict Resolution and Coexistence at the Heller School for Social Policy at Brandeis University.

In this episode we discuss:

  • Fitzduff most formative years in the University and how she met her husband in 1969
  • The two-year honeymoon they took traveling throughout South America, Africa and Asia
  • How Fitzduff settled with her family in Northern Ireland in area known as the “killing fields”
  • The morning she found her vocation
  • How Dr. Fitzduff founded “Mediation Northern Ireland” while she was doing her Ph.D.
  • When the government asked her to write a paper on how what they could do in Northern Ireland after the military and economic approach failed
  • The government offered to set up an organization to facilitate Conflict Resolution at every level in Northern Ireland in the 1990s Community Relations Council
  • How Dr. Christopher Mitchell helped Mary at the beginning of the field as she was developing her organization
  • How Dr. Fitzduff developed a training Manual “Community Conflict Skills” on group dialogue on difficult issues which has been translated into 6 different languages
  • How her career blended her academic interests (behavioral change); her managerial skills (organizational psychology) and her systemic mediation work
  • It was only when Dr. Fitzduff was 40 that she started the Community Relations Council
  • How Conflict Resolution is about combining different degrees into one
  • How the Brandeis program was established
  • A bit about the origins of the conflict terminolog
  • Fitzduff's key and essential skills for building a career
  • What employers look for when hiring
  • Why a Ph.D is NOT for everyone
  • What to do if you want to get into the Conflict Resolution
  • Why global southern students get jobs faster than the students from the Global North
  • On working domestically in Conflict Resolution
  • Why undergraduate degrees in Conflict Resolution are NOT very useful
  • On being humble about working in the field and not feeling “morally superior”
  • How evaluation has developed in the CR field
  • Is cr about been a goody-goody or about a profession?
  • Fitzbuff's next book is a text book on neuro-psychology
  • Her insights into Followership and entrepreneurship
  • Fitzduff's reflection on acceptance (or not) of peace processes and stories of reconciliation and change
  • Fitzduff reflections on what she does to decompress and how she prevents burn-out



Community Relations Council

Brandeis University Heller School for Social Policy and Management

Uppsala University

Mari’s latest book


Related topics

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This episode was brought thanks to the Rotary Peace Center and Brandeis University:

Are you an existing or emerging peace leader looking to take your career to the next level? You might be eligible to receive full funding to pursue a MA or professional certificate in peace & conflict studies. Learn more about Rotary Peace Fellowships at www.rotary.org/peace-fellowships


The MA in Conflict Resolution and Coexistence at Brandeis university , where you gain the practical, hands on skills you need to become a peacebuilding professional in the U.S. and abroad.



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