Conflict Resolution During Crisis

Maria Volpe

Professor of Dispute Resolution, John Jay College of Criminal Justice, City University of New York

Interviewed by Julian Portilla, 2003

This rough transcript provides a text alternative to audio. We apologize for occasional errors and unintelligible sections (which are marked with ???).

...You can't just appear on the scene and say that you're a conflict resolver. The leg-work needs to have been done before-hand. One needs to have presence, recognition, and visibility before the crisis. In the middle of the crisis it's really hard for someone to begin to trust you, to find out what you do. We found out that the people who actually did some work were the Community Relations Service mediators from the US Department of Justice. They had established a previous relationship with FEMA in another crisis, so when there were conflicts on the corners over who could get down the street and who was able to get home, there were mediators out there, but they were from CRS because they had been trusted by, and built relationships with FEMA.