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Webinar: Talking Circles: Engaging in Dialogue and Building Community
Thursday, June 08, 2023, 9:00 AM - 10:30 AM PDT
Category: Webinars

IOA Live Webinar

Talking Circles for Ombuds: Engaging in Dialogue and Building Community

Presented by: Tessa Byer & Kristine Paranica 

Talking Circles are a form of restorative practices that originate with Indigenous cultures, rooted in a harmonic worldview supporting connection and community. This webinar will discuss the origins of Talking Circles and will detail how to use these practices while respecting the time-honored tradition and avoiding appropriating indigenous spirituality. Talking Circles give organizations the opportunity to consider values, psychological safety, and group engagement as participants listen to each other.  

By engaging in Talking Circles, participants gain perspective and understanding and increase their ability to problem-solve. Circles can help transform relationships and strengthen a sense of community. Ombuds can use Talking Circles for reconciliation of interpersonal conflict, reduction of social inequality and marginalization, and to proactively build community in their organizations. In higher education, Talking Circles can be used in student conduct and student affairs to build empathy, repair harm, and create learning opportunities. In K-12 schools, circles can be used at the start of each day to foster connection and reduce bullying.

In this webinar, we will share the history and practices as we engage participants by thinking about ways to incorporate Talking Circles in their Ombuds work. Participants will observe a Talking Circle in order to witness their setup, procedures, and effectiveness.

Course Objectives:

  1. Understand the philosophy of Restorative Justice and Practices
  2. Identify the many uses of Restorative Practices for Ombuds
  3. Learn how to set up Talking Circles in a culturally appropriate manner
This course is presented in English. Captions are available in English by default. Individual participants may choose to see their captions translated into one of the following languages: Arabic, Bangla (beta), Chinese Simplified, Chinese Traditional, Czech, Danish (beta), Dutch, Estonian, Finnish, French (France), German, Hebrew (beta), Hindi (beta), Hungarian,  Italian,  Japanese, Korean, Malay, Norwegian (beta), Polish, Portuguese, Romanian (beta), Russian, Spanish, Swedish, Tamil (beta), Turkish, Ukrainian, or Vietnamese.

Instructor Bios:

Kristine Paranica, J.D., is an Ombuds with 8 years of experience, and 20 years as a conflict resolution practitioner, presenter and trainer. Kristine is a Certified Transformative Mediator and Fellow with the Institute for the Study of Conflict Transformation. She has published in law journals, a book chapter, and presented at conferences in the field of conflict resolution. She serves an IOA mentor, on the PDC, conference and programming committees, and Chair of Membership Engagement.

Tessa Byer, CO-OP©, has been the Staff Ombuds at Clemson University since August 2021.  She has been a mediator, conflict coach, trainer, restorative justice facilitator, and Ombuds consultant since 2015, and she has provided conflict resolution in many contexts, including divorce, workplace, family, religious, landlord/tenant, permanency, and harassment prevention.  After working as a mediator in Cambridge, MA, she founded The Resolved Approach, which provides affordable mediation and Ombuds services to individuals and organizations.  In 2015, she received a Master of Arts in Coexistence and Conflict from Brandeis University, where she wrote her thesis about the role of Ombuds offices in college and university settings.



Registration for this live webinar is now closed. Reminder: IOA Members have access to all recorded webinars on-demand in the Online Learning Center

Webinar Pricing:

  • IOA Members: Free + Access to the Recording 
  • Non-Members: $225 (Live Webinar Only)

This course has been submitted for 1.5 Professional Development Hours that can be used for maintaining a Candidate for CO-OP® or CO-OP® Credential pending approval. 

View the IOA Online Learning & Virtual Event Policies.