I established the Post Graduate Diploma in Conflict and Dispute Resolution Studies
(CDRS) in a partnership with the Irish School of Ecumenics in Trinity College Dublin which was initiated in 2000. My plan had been to establish a Centre of Excellence in the study, training, and practice of ADRs and the programme has been most successful. Some of the early participants were eager to develope their areas of special interest further to Masters stage and that work will have made a vital contribution to their areas of work . Over the years, we established links with other such Centres and Universities and have liaised with members of the Courts Service and Government Departments to keep them advised of the growth in this area, and the potential application, and benefits of the concepts at so many levels.
We have worked through alliances with academic institutions and with professional training organisations such as CPD Seminars Ltd., in Ireland headed up by Brian Walker, B.L. Through the alliance with CPD Seminars we provide bespoke Mediation Training Courses for a wide range of professional people who wish to include mediation in their set of professional skills and managerial tool-kits.
We have had links with Lancaster University, The Richardson Institute (claiming to have been the first in this field in the U.K), the University of Ulster, the University of York ,St Andrews University in Scotland.and, most recently, Liverpool University Our first two external Examiners - Dr Fergal Cochrane of Lancaster and Dr Roger Mc Ginty from York had hailed from the University of Ulster. We welcomed Professor Andrew Williams of St Andrews University as our new External Examiner since 2009 and we were honoured to have him in this role. His term came to an end in 2011 and we are indebted to him for the enthusiasm he brought to the role in addition to his wealth of experience and wisdom. We were pleased to welcome our new External Examiner - Dr Brian Thompson from Liverpool University Law School, who has served as the Public Law Adviser to the Northern Ireland Ombudsman for whom he conducted a substantial project recently.
We have had links to SACRO in Scotland when it was headed up by a Dublin man Niall Kearney who has been a great associate over the years bringing us news from his pioneering work, in the areas of diversion programmes, restorative justice processes, and reparation community projects.
When he was outgoing External Examiner - Dr. Fergal Cochrane -in his report of the founding years of the CDRS programme, commented upon the diversity and standards of the work of the participants over the first four years and highlighted the social relevance and outreach aspect of the work.
Dr J.K. Barrett formerly of the Business School of Dublin City University has been a strong suporter over the years providing Guest Lectures to the CDRS programme on Labour Relations dispute resolution and negotation and has acted as External Examiner for the MFI bespoke Professional ADR and Mediation training programmes.
We have also had the support of Dr Mona O'Moore, formerly Head of The School of Education in Trinity, and founder of the Anti- Bullying Centre (ABC) in Trinity who has delivered Guest Lectures on the subject of bullying