by Matt Adamczyk

Michael Shipler and Rajendra Mulmi from Search for a Common Ground picked up right where they left off this morning, and like all day Thursday, did not disappoint. Drawing on their years of vast experience, they continued training us on facilitating skills. The morning was spent providing us with various analytical and practical ‘facilitating and problem solving tools’ like the ORID method and Thomas- Kilmann Conflict Mode Instrument (TKI). Sprinkled throughout the lessons were stories of their real world experience that kept all of us keenly engaged. While the lessons from the morning will undoubtedly help each of us in our future endeavors, more immediately, they helped during our afternoon simulation.

After lunch, we broke into five separate teams to practice. Using a real world conflict from Bo, Sierra-Leone the groups were tasked with designing and presenting a proposal to resolve the conflict. During the simulation, “lights really came on,” and the usefulness of our lessons was clearly evident. All of the final team presentations to the mock board of potential donors were great; however, Team G-9 (aptly named because 9 different countries were represented) unofficially won the grant (note: the bias of the author as a member of Team G9). The feedback from the board members was invaluable and helped bring together and tie up our first incredible week before participants spread out to explore and enjoy the staggering beauty, friendly people, and great food of northern Italy.