Creating a Space for Peace
Published in TC Today - Volume 37, No. 1
“We can either kill each other, or sit down at a table and work out our problems,” says TC Trustee Marla L. Schaefer (M.A. ’03). “I vote for sitting at the table.”
Marla recently gave a $575,000 gift to renovate just about everything at the International Center for Cooperation and Conflict Resolution (ICCCR), headed by Peter Coleman, Associate Professor of Psychology and Education. Her gift will create the Marla L. Schaefer Office Suite at the ICCCR.
During her time as a student in the organizational psychology program, Marla took a weekend-long practicum that introduced her to conflict resolution. “If it hadn’t been for that class, I wouldn’t have developed an interest in the field,” she says. “I was so impressed with Peter and the ICCCR’s work in this area.”
The ICCCR is committed to developing knowledge and practice to promote constructive conflict resolution, effective cooperation and social justice. Building on the foundational scholarship of social psychologists Kurt Lewin and Morton Deutsch, the Center is internationally recognized for innovation in theory, research and practice. Marla’s gift will provide a state-of-the-art space that will help attract new students and scholars.
“Their offices reminded me of a rabbit’s warren,” says Marla with a laugh. “They needed updating. The space has so much character, but they need a real place to work. It’s a privilege to be able to help them attract the best and brightest. If there is anybody out there in the world best equipped to work out the world’s conflicts, it’s the ICCCR.”
Marla has provided funding to ICCCR in the past, including a 2008 gift that supported the translation into Arabic of The Handbook of Conflict Resolution: Theory and Practice, edited by Deutsch and Coleman. “It just made sense to also have it in Arabic — it’s one of the most widely spoken languages in the world,” she says.
“If I can help push a door open, I would be thrilled. I think giving should be about providing people with access. I feel I’ve done that with this new gift, as well as others.”