Almost 100 students from local elementary schools spent a morning on the Fresno State campus recently, celebrating the conflict-resolution skills they learned during the 2016-17 school year, as participants in Fresno State’s Mediator Mentors.

Mary Castro, wife of President Joseph I. Castro, spoke to the students at the beginning of the Mediator Mentors event:

“The skills that you learn as conflict mediators are something you will use every day for the rest of your lives. … I’m very proud of all of you students … for all of your efforts. You are all going to be leaders, and I can’t wait to see some of you here at Fresno State in the future. That’s what President Castro and I look forward to every day – getting to see new students come through here, get their education and go on to make our world a better place.”

Mediator Mentors is a university-public school partnership in which school children learn conflict resolution skills. Dr. Negin Tahvildary, a professor in the Department of Philosophy, directs the program, under the auspices of the Peace and Conflict Studies program.

Teachers and students from the participating schools receive 10 to 12 hours of communication and conflict resolution training. From their training and participation in the program, students learn to resolve conflicts on their own, using nonviolent methods.

Students who came to the May 15 celebration on campus represented Kratt, Vang Pao and Viking elementary schools in Fresno Unified, and Clovis Elementary School in Clovis Unified.

While on campus, the students had the opportunity to meet Timeout, take part in a peace dance, create some drawings about what peace means to them and visit the Peace Garden next to the Henry Madden Library.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.