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2016 Lawrence Cooke Peace Innovator Award Recipient: Jody Miller
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Jody Miller is the EEO/Human Rights Officer for Dutchess County. She is responsible for re-establishing the Dutchess County Human Rights Commission to ensure Dutchess County is an inclusive and respectful community for all. It will be the duty of the Commission to foster mutual respect and understanding among racial, religious, nationality, disability, LGBT and other groups in Dutchess County. Jody is also responsible for Equal Employment Opportunity in the workplace and will create a Diversity Taskforce to increase diversity and inclusion in Dutchess County’s workforce. Most recently, Jody was the executive director of the Mediation Center of Dutchess County, having worked closely with courts and the community to develop and provide mediation and conflict resolution training programs over her more than 20 years in the alternative dispute resolution field.

During her 16 year tenure as executive director, the Mediation Center of Dutchess County became known as a leader in creating cutting edge, diverse mediation programs and other programs that focus on self-determination and collaboration. Under her leadership, the Mediation Center’s budget more than doubled and diversified, including an annual giving program and the establishment of an endowment fund. She worked closely with courts and the community to develop and provide mediation and conflict resolution training programs for families, businesses, schools and organizations, as well as creating innovative initiatives to meet community needs. Mediation grew to include 16 town, village and city courts, Family Court and Surrogate’s Court as well as an increase in non-court referred cases. Hundreds of mediators locally, nationally and internationally were trained in the transformative mediation method. Training programs that provided Continuing Legal Education (CLE) for attorneys were established. In partnership with the domestic violence community, Jody and her team created the award winning, nationally known Domestic Violence and Mediation Safety Project, the first collaborative project of its kind. New intiatives included the Coalition on Elder Abuse in Dutchess County and the Anti-Bullying Initiative, two programs that provide best practices in prevention, response, and collaboration with essential community partners. Jody taught mediation at the Maurice Dean School of Law at Hofstra University for 11 years, served as an appointed member of the Mediation Ethics Advisory Committee (MEAC) and served as a board member for the New York State Dispute Resolution Association (NYSDRA). She served as a steering committee member of the Dutchess County Coalition of Non-Profits, a member of the Dutchess County Office for the Aging Advisory Board and a board member for the Coalition on Sexual and Domestic Abuse (CASADA).

Jody is an adjunct professor of mediation at the Maurice A. Deane School of Law at Hofstra University and is a Fellow of the Institute for the Study of Conflict Transformation. She trains volunteers and professional mediators and develops conflict resolution and communication training for public and private organizations. She is a certified trainer through the New York State Unified Court System’s Office of Alternative Dispute Resolution and Court Improvement Programs (ADRCI) and in July 2013, earned Part 146 (court rule) approval for Initial mediation training. She is the author of the chapter, “Choosing to Change: Transitioning to the Transformative Model in a Community Mediation Center,” in the publication, Transformative Mediation:  A Sourcebook: Resources for Conflict Intervention Practitioners and Programs, Association for Conflict Resolution/Institute for the Study of Conflict Transformation, 2010 as well as the recent article, “Mediating Commercial Cases in U. S. Municipal Courts: A Case for Transformative Mediation,” Opinio Juris in Comparatione (Studies in Comparative and National Law), August 6, 2012. Lider-Lab, Scuole Superiore Sant’Anna, Pisa, Italy. The article was re-published in the ACResolution, Winter, 2015. With the Institute for the Study of Conflict Transformation, she created a video of a transformative commercial mediation that includes parties who are represented by their attorneys. She has been a presenter at conferences throughout the United States, as well as in Italy and China.

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