Prejudice, Everyday Bigotry and Hate Crimes are Target of NCBI Training at USF

TAMPA, Fla. (March 26, 2008) – It takes know-how to combat everyday bigotry, hate crimes and prejudice and such skills will be taught at a three-day conference given by the University of South Florida’s National Coalition Building Institute (NCBI) chapter March 27 – 29 at the Tampa campus. The conference, “Welcoming Diversity and Conflict Resolution: Training the Trainer,” is made up of workshops and group exercises that give participants a range of skills for providing influential leadership to end discrimination, reduce intergroup conflict and build multi-group coalitions, according to Samuel L. Wright, director of Multicultural Affairs. A group of 40 faculty, staff and students have signed up for the conference.

“One powerful impact of this training is that it spotlights thoughts and behaviors we tend to take for granted and that we don’t notice until they’re pointed out,” said Wright. “The training goes several steps further in that it provides an understanding of the impact of discrimination as well as the tools to handle bigoted comments and behavior with diplomacy and take principled and courageous stands when necessary. This conference confronts the misinformation that leads to bigotry, replaces it with the truth and helps build the inner strength to say no to it.”

NCBI is an international, non-profit, leadership training organization based in Washington, DC, USA. According to its Web site, the organization “has worked to eliminate racism and all other forms of prejudice and discrimination throughout the world" since 1984. There are 50 community-based NCBI teams and 56 campus teams in the U.S. and abroad including Canada, England, Switzerland, Germany, Bosnia, Kosovo, Austria, Israel and South Africa. The USF chapter, housed in the Office of Multicultural Affairs, is a member of NCBI International.

Those trained during the conference will be qualified to train others as they learn how to lead the NCBI Prejudice Reduction Workshop in partnership with the local NCBI team. All new NCBI trainers are required to co-lead workshops with other senior NCBI trainers and continue to fully develop their leadership skills and understanding of the NCBI models and processes.

“This is a movement,” said NCBI Coordinator Christopher Chell. “Because the primary goal of NCBI is to establish communities of leaders, we meet regularly to practice our leadership skills, continue our own personal healing from the impacts of discrimination and mistreatment and to build beloved community. We also encourage new trainers to implement the principles of NCBI into any course curriculum.”

NCBI provides diversity consulting and training programs for organizations and individuals. The local USF chapter has trained over 1800 students, faculty and staff during the academic year.

“We celebrate group identity as well as differences and similarities,” said Chell. “It is possible to live in peace in a world with people who think, act and are different from ourselves. Those who have difficulty with this notion just need to learn how.”

The University of South Florida is among the nation's top 63 public research universities and one of 39 community engaged public universities as designated by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. It is one of Florida's top three research universities. USF was awarded more than $300 million in research contracts and grants last year. The University offers 219 degree programs at the undergraduate, graduate, specialist and doctoral levels, including the doctor of medicine. The University has a $1.8 billion annual budget, an annual economic impact of $3.2 billion, and serves more than 45,000 students on campuses in Tampa, St. Petersburg, Sarasota-Manatee and Lakeland. USF is a member of the Big East Athletic Conference.

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