ICAR Alumnus: Chad Ford Educator, Journalist, and Peace Player
Chad Ford is a multi-tasker by nature. In Spring, 2000, when he graduated with an M.S. from ICAR, he also earned a J.D. in International Law from Georgetown University and he hasn’t slowed down since. After graduation, life took an interesting turn when ESPN bought Sportstalk. com, where Ford was Executive Editor and cofounder. Sportstalk.com became ESPN Insider and Ford stayed on as a Senior Editor, covering the NBA draft. Caught in the fast pace of professional media, Ford's conflict resolution training seemed sidetracked until NBA star, Dikembe Mutombo, invited him to South Africa in 2003. In Soweto, South Africa, he began to imagine an amalgamation of journalism and peace building. Ford began writing and researching the role of sports in conflict resolution—traveling to the Balkans, the Middle East, and Africa—and ESPN became a forum for more than just sports. (See: http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/eticket/ story?page=playingforpeace).
In 2005, Ford left full-time employment with ESPN and moved with his wife Joanie and their four children to Laie, a small town on the North Shore of Oahu, to accept a position as an Assistant Professor of International Cultural Studies at Brigham Young University Hawaii. He began teaching courses in intercultural conflict, and in 2006, was named Director of the David O. McKay Center for Intercultural Understanding. When BYU Hawaii was dedicated in 1955, its founder stated, “You mark my word, from this school will go men and women whose influence will be felt for good towards the establishment of peace internationally.” Ford took the statement to heart and, in his capacity as Director, developed the Intercultural Peacebuilding Certificate in 2008. The Certificate program offers a multidisciplinary curriculum, influenced by ICAR, including 19 credit hours of course work and 20 hours of practicum.
Another important component of Ford’s peacebuilding amalgamate was added in 2006, when he was introduced to the work of The Arbinger Institute, which has developed a conflict resolution model that invites participants to consider, through narrative, the influence of their own self-deception in collusive cycles of conflict. He has used this model in his consulting work with PeacePlayers International, an NGO that builds the capacity for peace in areas of protracted conflict through youth basketball leagues.
Ford has also incorporated the model in his work for the Shimon Peres Center for Peace in Israel and The Arbinger Institute, where he works with organizations, families, and individuals in conflict. Ford recently developed, “The Choice in Peacebuilding,” an adaptation of the model designed for peacebuilding practitioners, and is currently working on “The Choice in Conflict Transformation,” which is due out later this spring.
Ford recalls ICAR as, "an amazing experience! To be surrounded by so many different fields of academic expertise and to have them all focus on one subject—conflict—was unique. I felt like the variety of perspectives I got from professors and students, along with the experience gained from practice, opened up a whole new world and set me on the path toward what I’m doing now.”
Regarding what he’s doing now: it is spring and the Winter term at BYUH is winding down, the NBA draft is coming into full swing, a publishing deadline with Arbinger is approaching, and planning for the next trip to Israel with PPI is already underway. Regardless of which “hat” Ford is wearing—educator, journalist, or peace player he sports them all for one purpose— building the human capacity for peace.
Chad Ford can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.