LFCC students learn about conflict resolution

David Smith, independent educational consultant and peace building trainer, speaks to Lord Fairfax Community College students about conflict resolution on Thursday. Kaley Toy/Daily

MIDDLETOWN — Lord Fairfax Community College students learned ways to resolve conflict on Conflict Resolution Day on Thursday.

“Conflict is the stuff of life,” David Smith, an independent educational consultant and peace building trainer, told students as he was explaining ways to become peace builders and conflict resolvers. The program was also video-conferenced to the college’s Fauquier campus.

“Conflict isn’t something to be avoided,” Smith said, “Think about conflict as an opportunity.”

“People are always dealing with differences,” Smith said. His PowerPoint presentation to students was titled, “It’s a Conflicted World Out There.”

“Try to figure out ways to bridge those difference,” Smith added, ” Learn how to negotiate and move forward.”

Smith spoke of the different kinds of conflicts, such as global and personal conflicts, that can be interpreted by people in different ways based on an individual’s background.

He said how someone defines “community” and recognizing that others see their community differently is one way of recognizing conflict.

“Any place can create community,” Smith said.

Community can be based on a variety of factors, such as faith, education, location and ethnicity. Smith noted that even in a community, conflict exists.

In the end, “we are sharing the same planet,” Smith said, adding that we must find peace.

Smith said that like community, peace could be defined in various ways. There are symbols of peace, spiritual peace, peace as a state of being, and skills used, such as conversation, diplomacy, volunteer work, activism and education. All of these can be seen as definitions as peace depending on personal experiences.

He spoke of strategic peace building pathways as “trying to build peace collectively in the community.”

Smith kept the students engaged with an activity and a video on peace and conflict resolution.

Following the discussion with students, Smith spoke to faculty about conflict and peace building in coursework.

Contact staff writer Kaley Toy at 540-465-5137 ext. 176, or ktoy@nvdaily.com