I drew up objectives for establishing standards of best practice in the area of teaching and practising conflict and dispute resolution processes and of inspiring people to devote time and attention to scrutinising and perfecting these new concepts and adapting what was of relevance to them in their differing work contexts. With a focus on training and skills development, I believed strongly that it was imperative to sow the seeds of a multi disciplinary academic centre for study, research, development and training in Ireland so that we could realise our potential to become a point of reference for excellence in this field.
It was with this in mind that I approached the then Provost of Trinity College who responded with full support and endorsement. Although there was a lack of any funds or resources to secure premises, the support of the Graduate Studies Committee in Trinity and over a year's discussions with the Irish School of Ecumenics (ISE), which have been pioneering Peace Studies and Reconciliation Studies, resulted in a plan to proceed and thus was laid the foundation stone of the Centre in the shape of the full Post Graduate Taught Diploma in Conflict and Dispute Resolution Studies which began in 2001. The tcd.ie/ise website gives some insight into the courses of study and research at ISE both in Dublin and Belfast and the members of the faculty . It also provides a view of the range of people for whom the Conflict And Dispute Resolution Studies (CDRS) programme has been relevant.
People from the Civil and Public Service, the Garda Siochana, The Defence Forces, the Labour Relations Commission, the Refugee Appeals Commission, School Principals, Lawyers, Trade Union leaders, Business people, CEO's of Representative and Professional Bodies, Human Resource Managers, Industrial Relations Managers, Health Service Providers, IBEC, FAS, Health Service Professionals, people working in NGO's, Broadcasting Commission, Partnership programmes, Equality Officers, Diplomatic Corps, students from Canada, the U.S, Japan, Italy, Germany, Nigeria and Spain involved in many areas of work have all recognised the need to study and add to their skills in the practice of non-adversarial dispute resolution processes which may avoid, limit and manage conflict and offer mediation as a means of disputants finding an accommodation privately which they construct rather than litigate.