The SongStream Project
I am one of the co-founders of The SongStream Project, a mobile recording project that explores the interwoven path of music, memory, story and ideas in order to to gather and share stories that build a culture of peace, explore social issues, weave webs of relationships, encourage empathy and curiosity, and act as a catalyst for new creativity. As of October 2014 we have released two audio documentaries; 'Voices of Autism' and 'Blessing and Burden: a journey into resilience, music and mental health'. I am the host of the shows and and involved in all levels of production.
Trainer and Consultant with the National Conflict Resolution Center - San Diego
I've been working as a trainer and consultant with NCRC since early 2014. As a lead trainer I've deliver workshops on conflict resolution skills, mediation skills and intercultural communication with a variety of different groups and ages.
Young Leadership Programme
I work with Leysin American School, Switzerland on their Ambassador and Leadership programme. Leysin American School was recently included in a list of the best 100 schools in the world. The 350 pupils come from over 50 countries and provides a fascinating place in which to encourage cross-cultural communication, team work, and ideas.
Digital Storytelling Project - Notre Dame University, Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies
I've been excited to work alongside John Paul Lederach recently and a fascinating and diverse team on a digital storytelling project that aims to explore the origins of compassion, creativity and spirituality in the context of social change and peacebuilding. I've been involved in recording stories and then creating audio slideshows and videos for some of the stories.
As founder and editor of Peace Practitioners, I'm developing an online space in which people working towards building a more peaceful world can reflect on their work, explore lessons learned, emerging ideas and build connections and relationships. Peace Practitioners was inspired by the fact that no space currently exists for practitioners who wish to explore their work through the written world but who do not have the time, capacity or desire to jump through the hoops required for publication in an academic article.
Workshop/Course Design and Delivery
A lot of my time is spent responding to requests for tailored training. I listen to specific needs and then design bespoke training courses aimed at exploring key issues, developing capacities and inspiring new ways of looking at familiar problems. I mostly deliver the training although can also design training for others to deliver.
When I deliver training I focus on it being accessible and relevant. I am always aware that participants have a million other things they could be doing. If at any point they start wishing they were elsewhere I'm not doing my job right. I feel a strong commitment to offer something that is of lasting value and use.
I lecture on a variety of subjects within the academic field of Peace Studies ranging from 'An Introduction to Peace Studies' through to 'Reconciliation and Peacebuilding'. I believe that the best lectures manage to strike the right balance between theoretical concepts and practical application and therefore always aim to get that balance right.
Among others, I have lectured on the following programmes:
University of Bradford - Peace Studies
Rotary Peace and Conflict Studies - Bangkok
Univesity of San Diego - Joan Kroc Institude for Peace and Justice
Facilitating Discussions, Away Days and Community Meetings
Over the past 18 years I've spent a lot of time facilitating conversations and other contexts in which the presence of an impartial 3rd party has been helpful. These have ranged from highly-charged meetings in which energy and emotion runs high through to enabling an organisation to piece together a 3-year strategic plan. I love the challenge of creating the space in which differing opinions can be heard and giving people an opportunity to move into places of mutual understanding and deeper trust.
I offer consultancy services to companies, organisations or individuals who are looking for advice and insights drawn from 18 years of experience working with issues related to conflict and how to use it in a constructive rather than destructive manner. One of the most valuable ways of exploring this is through the concept of Conflict Sensitive Strategic Development in which strategic plans are viewed with regard to potential conflicts that might emerge and then designing ways to minimise the costs of poor communication, poor staff relations and poor morale.
Over the course of 2012-2013 I was excited to being working on video production. Alongside my father-in-law Jim Contopulos, I directed, edited and filmed 'Beautiful Boy: More Than An Addict'. It aims to put the human side on the statistics of addiction and invites the viewer to journey with a grieving father as he attempts to bring about change in who society deals with the disease of addiction and those who suffer from it.
I directed, edited and filmed this video for the song 'The Hero and the Homeless' by my wife Vanessa Contopulos:
I have been giving talks on issues related to peace and conflict since 1996 and have spoken at conferences and in an after-dinner capacity. I enjoy these opportunities to share insights and observations from working with people from around the world and from traveling to different countries.
Here's a link to a conference in which I delivered a keynote address and spoke to various smaller gatherings.
I bring insights into the challenges of managing conflict and building peace with an ability to express complex ideas in a simple way through the written word. One way of doing this is through resource manual development. I aim to create something which doesn't just sit on a shelf gathering dust, but something that's used regularly and valued.
Full CV/Résumé is available on request