The Center has come a long way since its inception in 1992 when its main mission was to teach peace to local school children. In 1997 the center was spun off from Salisbury University to become an internal 501(c)3 nonprofit with the intention of allowing it to pursue grants and contracts to fulfill an evolving mission. In 2000 the center, in conjunction with Salisbury University, led the development of the undergraduate Bachelor of Arts degree program located in the Department of Sociology.

Also in 2000 the center, in an effort to more fully enhance student learning opportunities, launched a three pronged program modeled after a teaching hospital that includes a teaching/training team, a research team and a practice team. Each supports the mission of providing students with unique extracurricular opportunities to gain much needed experience in all facets of conflict intervention activities. The purpose is to more fully prepare students for employment as well as a more competitive stance when applying to graduate school and law school.

In 2006-2008 the center received a grant that allowed us to conduct research that led to the design and launch of the Masters of Arts degree program in 2009. The program was then reconfigured into the Department of Conflict Analysis and Dispute Resolution which now has six full time faculty and several adjunct professors. Department faculty, adjuncts faculty and faculty form other university departments are an integral part of each of the center teams.

Our History

houseFounded by Dr. Phil Bosserman in 1992, the Center for Teaching Peace was the Center for Conflict Resolution’s precursor. It was designed to support the 1992 launch of the Peace Studies minor in Salisbury State’s Sociology Department. As the Peace Studies minor grew in popularity and the need for mediation and other conflict resolution services in the local community became apparent, the Center slowly started to grow. In 1995 under Dr. Bosserman’s continuous leadership, the Center for Teaching Peace was renamed the Center for Conflict Resolution and relocated to a large old house directly across the street from Salisbury University’s Holloway Hall.

The Center for Conflict Resolution became incorporated as a nonprofit organization in 1997 and experienced even more growth and success in the late 1990’s. In 2000, Dr. Brian Polkinghorn took over as Executive Director of the Center from Dr. Bosserman and in the same year the Center started operating under its own budget separately from the university through grant and contracts. In 2001 through collaborative and joint efforts with the university, the Center was reconstructed along with the development of one of the first conflict analysis and dispute resolution majors at a public university in the United States.

In 2008, the Center had grown to a staff of eight and the Department of Conflict Analysis and Dispute Resolution was created as a separate entity from the Sociology department where it was previously housed. The Department for Conflict Analysis and Dispute Resolution welcomed its first cohort into the newly formed Master of Arts degree program in 2009.

The Center’s reach and programs were expanded further in 2010 with 14 staff members and 12 professional affiliates making it one of the largest academic, practice, and research based centers in the United States. The Center’s work continues through major grant research, ongoing graduate and undergraduate education, and innovative and impactful training at the local, national, and international levels. In 2012, the Center for Conflict Resolution changed its name to The Bosserman Center for Conflict Resolution in recognition of our founder’s lifelong dedication towards building a more peaceful world.

Featured Pages

Conflict Resolution Club

Mission & History: The Conflict Resolution Club (CRC) officially began in the Fall of 2001 and is the official student group for the Conflict Analysis Dispute Resolution major. The CRC is an SGA recognized student organization funded in part through the Student Appropriations Board and our own fundraising efforts.  The CRC is open to any Salisbury University student regardless of major. The CRC has a number […]


The Center’s Practice Team is dedicated to the active involvement of students in as many aspects of the pre-intervention, intervention and post intervention work of the center. Our “pracademic” philosophy is based on two complimentary ideas. The first is to create a “teaching hospital” model whereby we strive to have students take an active role in our casework management from intake to exit, evaluation and […]


The center is fortunate to be associated with so many researchers that come from many academic disciplines and areas of practice.  Our research agenda is wide and diverse.  Some examples of current research include an examination of the use of arbitration in labor disputes in rural China, the development of state wide cross institutionally based conflict management programs in Ukraine, an examination of the impact […]

Lecture Series

“One Person Can Make a Difference” Lecture Series Beginning in the fall of 2001, the “One Person Can Make a Difference” lecture series provides the campus community with the opportunity to be exposed to pioneering individuals in the field of conflict resolution. It not only provides students exposure to these prominent figures but it also provides them with a forum to discuss a variety of current issues […]

Latest Posts

Reverend Desmond Tutu with a Special Message…

Reverend Desmond Tutu with a Special Message…

Reverend Desmond Tutu send a video message to his daughter, Reverend Mpho A. Tutu when she spoke to our students at Salisbury University for our Lecture Series on February 15, 2011.

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His Excellency Dr. Jose Ramos-Horta to Speak in September 2016

His Excellency Dr. Jose Ramos-Horta to Speak in September 2016

Speaker: His Excellency Dr. Jose Ramos-Horta Former Prime Minister and President of Timor-Leste Co-Recipient of the 1996 Nobel Peace Prize United Nations’ Special Representative and Head of the United Nations Integrated Peace Building Office in Guinea-Bissau Title:  “The USA and Us:  A View from a Remote Village in Southeast Asia” Event Page Description: Dr. Jose Ramos Horta, human rights champion, former Prime Minister and President […]

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Graduation Spring 2016

Graduation Spring 2016

On May 18, 2016, some 201 students received their master’s degrees from Salisbury University as part of the largest class in its 90-year history. Among them were our Conflict Analysis and Dispute Resolution graduate students Xiwen Jin (China), Melissa Aristizabal (Colombia) and Alexandra Ginta Martin (Romania). For the past two years they have been actively involved in several research projects at the Bosserman Center, as […]

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salisburyuhollowayIn the fall of 2001, with cooperation and guidance from the Center for Conflict Resolution, Salisbury University began offering one of the first undergraduate degree programs in the field of conflict resolution at a public institution. This program expands on the previously established undergraduate minor in Conflict Analysis Dispute Resolution that was created in the early 90’s through the efforts of Dr. Phillip Bosserman. In 2009, Salisbury University began offering a Master of Arts degree in addition to its undergraduate offerings which will assure Salisbury University a place in the burgeoning field of dispute resolution, and further expands the Center’s contribution to social changes.

These academic programs are just one way that the Center, in partnership with Salisbury University, is attempting to challenge students to explore conflict in a whole new light. The ultimate goal of these programs are to devalue adversarial and violent modes of resolving conflict. In doing this we place an emphasis on nonviolent, collaborative processes and techniques of conflict resolution. Therein providing tangible ways for individuals and groups to communicate constructively, thoughtfully, and compassionately. By teaching peace you lay the foundation for others to one day live the dream of peace.

Today more than ever our world needs motivated individuals who believe that change can only come with hard work and dedication. If you are one of those people or if you are merely someone who is tried of a world dominated by conflict and strife please check out our CADR educational program.

Go to our Education Page for Salisbury University CADR Programs

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