Point of View: An International Research and Retreat Center

Point of View: An International Research and Retreat Center

PoV Artistic Rendering

Mason Neck, Virginia

Point of View (PoV) is a unique gift to the community of practice, learning and reflection that gathers around The School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution (S-CAR). It is filling an emergent need for a space designed specifically for conflict analysis and resolution. The only such venue in the Washington area, PoV is truly extraordinary in its capacity to welcome, facilitate, sustain, and generate opportunities for conflict resolution in an environmentally respectful and sensitive approach. Point of View has been the ideal place for transformative conversations, dialogue, reflection and reconciliation. It is S-CAR's clinical lab site, where groups in conflict come to address differences, engage in dialogue, and learn together. Theory and research provide the foundation for the practice at Point of View and, vice versa, the practice at PoV is enriching the theoretical understanding of the conflict resolution field.

As part of George Mason University, Point of View partners with faculty and students across the campus to create a truly multidisplinary center. It enhances the University’s standing in the international, diplomatic, and higher education community and enriches the Northern Virginia area.

 

Mission

Point of View is a space for practice, teaching, and research. It has been a resource for all through S-CAR, the university, and their partners. 

Working with the international conflict resolution community, Point of View partners facilitate conflict resolution and reconciliation processes, teach conflict analysis and develop curricular resources, and conduct research to support the development of theory and practice.

Background

Mason Neck, Virginia

POV HouseAs they gave their home and its surrounding acreage for Point of View, Edwin and Helen Lynch showed their commitment to creating a world-class retreat facility dedicated to fostering peace — to helping people here and around the world discover ways to solve problems peacefully and avoid and prevent the enormous suffering caused by violence.

Making the most of this unprecedented opportunity requires the leadership and support of a wide range of individuals and organizations that share the Lynch’s commitment to peace. Point of View has been redesigned in partnership with the nonprofit, academic, corporate, and international communities, enabling the center to become an international hub of peace-making and conflict resolution activities.

In 2007, S-CAR launched a campaign to build Point of View and provide for long-term programming, operating, and student support. Additionally, S-CAR is reaching out to those who would get involved with Point of View as sponsors, supporters and potential users of the retreat center.

Private funding is vital to developing the new center with the kind of pioneering imagination for which S-CAR is well known. As you consider your role in helping to fulfill this vision, please remember that founding partners and sponsors will enjoy tailored benefits packages and naming opportunities. Your support is an investment in the future of the global possibilities for peace and will contribute to the well-being of our region, the nation, and the world.

The School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution

S-CAR studentsThe School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution (S-CAR) at George Mason University is the oldest and strongest graduate program in conflict resolution. As such, S-CAR has the faculty resources and research base needed to provide the foundation for Point of View as a place and a space to address the most pressing conflicts we face today.

In 1981, S-CAR became the world’s first institution of higher education to offer a masters program and, a few years later, a doctoral program in conflict resolution. Today, S-CAR offers a range of degrees at the undergraduate and graduate level. Across our programs, faculty, alumni and students are strongly committed to addressing a broad array of deeply rooted conflicts in the international and domestic spheres.

S-CAR students and faculty are engaged in ongoing projects in more than a dozen countries, including Tajikistan, Korea, Guatemala, and Syria, while professors have served as consultants and mediators in Armenia, Georgia/Abkhazia, Bosnia, the Africa Great Lakes region, Latin America, and the United States.

Among S-CAR's core interests are the dynamics of conflict resolution as well as the connections between conflict and globalization, religion, and identity. Our program’s analytical and practice elements are intended to build upon one another to improve future understanding of the origins and nature of conflict, the methodology of practice, and the integration of practice and theory.

The Need for Point of View

Photo of King Hussein of Jordan speaking with an American RabbiEvery day, we witness new acts of violence, civil war, and malevolent conflict around the world. Never has the world faced such a broad and urgent set of challenges and threats to international peace.

Professional conflict resolvers believe hope lies in our ability to bring conflicting parties together to analyze the root causes of conflicts and work jointly on solutions that fulfill the needs of human security and development, protect human dignity, and promote equality and human rights.

To that end, The School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution (S-CAR) at George Mason University is developing PoV as a unique retreat complex to promote research in conflict analysis, facilitate conflict resolution and reconciliation, and offer training to a new generation of scholars and practitioners. Appropriately named Point of View, the complex provides a tranquil setting for high-level domestic and international dialogues, academic research, conferences, workshops, and skills training – all guided by S-CAR's conflict resolution professionals. PoV capacity will be significantly enhanced with a new programmatic hall and some residences.

Location

Photo of PoVThe location and physical attributes of the Point of View site make it ideal for such an endeavor. The 120-acre parcel of pristine wooded land, bordered by the Potomac River and protected wetlands in Mason Neck, Virginia, about 30 miles south of Washington, D.C. and the S-CAR campus in Arlington, Va. Its proximity to the capital provides an opportunity to benefit from the region’s vast informational resources and also to serve its civic and business organizations, federal agencies, universities, and international diplomatic community. Meanwhile, the rural setting is conducive to reflective thinking and productive interactions. The land was donated in 1999 to George Mason University by Helen and Edwin Lynch, a Virginia couple that long supported the university and processes that aim to resolve deep-rooted conflicts through peaceful means.

Backed by a blend of private and public funds, the renovated Point of View will be a signature site, nationally and internationally, for university training, stakeholder engagement, and international conferences, seminars, and other meetings. As an extension of S-CAR, the center will provide an ideal physical setting and state-of-the-art facilities to support learning, relation-building, and innovative thinking. Various perspectives on conflict will be studied, including political, economic, cultural, and ideological themes. Explorations of different approaches to conflict resolution and the establishment of constructive relationships will be fostered, as will the analysis of case studies illustrating success and failure in inter-communal and international conflict resolution. These activities will provide the organic connection between practice at Point of View and S-CAR’s academic activities.

S-CAR is well-suited to spearhead this effort. For decades, the School has led the world in the teaching, theory and practice of conflict resolution. S-CAR created the world’s first masters and doctoral degrees in the field, and now also offers undergraduate and certificate level courses of study. The School focuses on three core areas: advancing the understanding of deeply rooted conflicts between individuals, groups, organizations, and communities in the United States and around the world; carrying on a systematic and ongoing study of the nature, origins, and types of social conflicts; and developing the processes and conditions for the productive resolution of conflict. A Commonwealth of Virginia Center for Excellence, S-CAR today has more than 550 alumni and 450 students worldwide.

Utilization

A Conflict Resolution Resource

Parties in conflict from all corners of the globe have been coming to Point of View to explore new ways of addressing their disputes. Local, national and international stakeholders would be encouraged to conduct meetings and conferences with conflict analysis and resolution experts. Also, Point of View will host panel discussions and key sessions for religious, academic, media and government leaders.

A Research Resource

Point of View provides a forum for theoreticians and practitioners of conflict resolution to work with scholars from all over the world. The center sponsors advanced graduate student seminars and conferences addressing developments in theory, examining case studies, and offering opportunities for dialogue with experts from other disciplines. In addition, the new library at Point of View will house a comprehensive collection of materials on conflict resolution, including relevant archival sources from the Parents of the Field.

A Teaching Facility

PoV encourages graduate students to observe and interact with people who are actively engaged in the practice of conflict analysis and resolution. It also welcomes PoV Fellows who reside at the premise and prepare themselves to become the next generation of conflict interveners developing new tools and methods for conflict resolution. Point of View also provides training in various dispute resolution methods for professionals to give them the tools they need to institutionalize strategies for engaging stakeholders in ways that reduce conflict and build stronger relationships.

The new central conference complex will provide meeting, training, and research space for up to 100 participants and accommodations for up to 27 overnight guests. The main manor house will be renovated for group meetings, as well as academic activities, international student housing, ancillary services, and special events. The Point of View facility will adhere to an environmentally sensitive design coupled with the latest in communications systems.

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