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Dispute Resolution Law Journal Hosts Annual Symposium in Collaboration with Straus Institute

On Friday, April 1, the Pepperdine Caruso Law Dispute Resolution Law Journal hosted its annual symposium in collaboration with the Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution. The symposium, "Lessons Learned - Dispute Resolution and the Pandemic," brought together over 100 students, practitioners, and academics on campus and many others, who joined the program online. 

Distinguished speakers included former U.S. Ambassador David L. Carden, who began the symposium with a keynote address. In his remarks, Ambassador Carden discussed the value of perspective-taking in mediation, providing the audience with references to classical artists like Leonardo Da Vinci and Pietro Berrettini and sharing his experience as a representative to Southeast Asian nations. 

The event’s first panel, Faith and Self Reflection in Mediation Practice, brought together a diverse, inter-faith group of mediation practitioners including Professor Sukhsimranjit Singh, who serves as the Judge Danny Weinstein Managing Director of the Straus Institute, Moderator and Seaver Professor John Barton, who directs the university’s Center for Faith and Learning and also teaches Dispute Resolution and Religion for Straus, Adjunct Professors Sarah Nissel and Salim Munayer, as well as conflict resolution practitioners Zaza Johnson Elsheikh and Aparna Gupta. Each speaker shared how their faith tradition informs their peacebuilding efforts and also the impact of self-awareness and reflection in the context of the pandemic. 

The final panel was moderated by Professor Maureen Weston, who serves as the Journal’s Faculty Advisor. Professor Singh presented his research on access to justice implication for underserved communities in accessing dispute resolution processes. Professor Michael Green from Texas A&M University School of Law discussed how to address racial prejudice-based disputes in workplaces through modified and merged processes, and Professor Deanna Pantin Parrish from Harvard Law discussed dispute systems design in the context of voting and democratic participation. 

Ambassador Carden gave closing commentary on the panels. Dr. Singh then introduced Pepperdine University Vice-President Danny DeWalt who shared conflict resolution and adaptations by the university in response to COVID-19. Caruso Law Dean Paul Caron then joined the program to present a Champion of Diversity award to Dr. J. Goosby Smith, the university’s Chief Diversity Officer for her important work and leadership in this area. The event ended with an outdoor lunch, where University President Jim Gash joined the participants. 

The symposium was led by Professor Singh and Aparna Gupta from the Straus Institute, as well as Keemia Tabrizi, who serves as Symposium Editor for the journal. 

Dispute Resolution 2022 participants