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Mediation center at local college appoints first coordinator

Pictured above: CSM Charles County Mediation Center Coordinator Julie E. Walton

La Plata, MD - The College of Southern Maryland has named Julie A. Walton as coordinator of the Charles County Mediation Center at the College of Southern Maryland. As the center’s first coordinator, Walton brings 20 years of experience as a practitioner, trainer and mentor of conflict management encompassing mediation, negotiation, facilitation, consensus building and community dialogue.

The Charles County Mediation Center was created to address a need to educate people in the community about mediation and conflict resolution services and provide direct grassroots education and outreach to individual community members. Previously, Charles County was the only Maryland county not served by a mediation center. Because of broad community support, Charles County's Mediation Center has begun offering services and has scheduled the first training sessions to build its pool of volunteer mediators beginning in February. The Center will fall under the supervision of the CSM’s Diversity Institute.

“By shifting people’s attitudes about conflict and conflict transformation possibilities, we can make our community stronger and a more harmonious place to live,” said CSM President Dr. Brad Gottfried, who led the effort to create the mediation center.
Walton is seeking to identify community members who reflect Charles County’s diversity with regard to age, race, gender, ethnicity, income and education to serve as volunteer mediators. These volunteers will be trained through a rigorous education and apprenticeship process, said Walton.

The first step in basic mediation training includes a two-hour orientation, Jan. 2 or 14. Following orientation, the certification program includes 55 hours of high-quality interactive skills based training in the Inclusive Mediation Framework, followed by two observations and two co-mediations with an experienced mediator. The 55-hour course training sessions are held: Feb. 5-7; Feb. 12-14; Feb. 21 and July 16.
Walton works simultaneously as a contractor for several organizations in addition to CSM. She is on the roster for the U.S. Institute of Peace in Washington, D.C. training United Nations Peacekeepers in Africa and for the Key Bridge Foundation Center for Conflict Resolution in Maryland, she facilitates community conferences with at-risk youth.

Having spent the first 23 years of her career working in information technology, Walton took a two-year break to return to college full time to pursue a degree in international relations from Florida International University where she graduated with honors in 2010 and she also became a Certified County Mediator by the Florida Supreme Court.

Since 2010, Walton has attended extensive training in mediation practices, restorative justice practices, conflict analytics, world religion, intercultural communication, facilitation, trauma awareness and undoing racism. In 2015, she became a Certified Mediator through Community Mediation Maryland's performance based evaluation process.

Walton was Community Mediation Baltimore City Volunteer of the Year in 2015 for her work addressing conflict within the community referred from community organizations, faith-based institutions, community members and government agencies.

Previously, she has earned the U.S. Department of State Meritorious Honor Award for CSO Belize Engagement Team where she collaboratively assessed, designed and led efforts to build a sustainable Belize City Mediation Program for gang and at-risk youth intervention. 

“I recently expanded my range of tools with restorative justice practices such as facilitation of community conferencing, restorative circles and re-entry circles empowering community and I am excited to share what I know with the Charles County community,” said Walton.

For information on the Charles County Mediation Center, contact Walton at jawalton1@csmd.edu, 301-539-4683.

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