Center for Dispute Resolution and Conflict Management


Learn more about what students and alumni are saying about their experiences in the SMU Dispute Resolution program.

Kayla Hiller
Kayla Hiller
Internship in Athens, Greece

"What started as an unplanned trip to Athens, Greece would end up being a life-changing opportunity of a lifetime. I began my international dispute resolution work in the fall of 2013 with a team of mediators from Mediators Beyond Borders International (MBBI), who were continuing work on the Athens Migration Dialogue project. On my first trip with the team I observed and assisted with the dialogue and the week of facilitation trainings held for Greek lawyers and mediators, the week prior to the dialogue. The following April, I returned to Athens to serve as an intern for the MBBI team. As an intern I worked with the team to provide support and carryout trainings as well as assisting with the third dialogue that was held on the topic of violence, with a central focus on violence in schools.

Since completing my degree in October 2014, I have continued working the MBBI team as they’ve continued the Athens project and are developing plans to conduct dialogue projects in other countries. Most recently, as a part of the team I attended the 7th Annual Mediators Beyond Borders Congress in Bucharest, Romania were I had the opportunity to meet and interact with dispute resolution professionals from around the world. Through my international experiences and interactions at the MBB Congress I can say without a doubt that the SMU dispute resolution program is highly respected throughout the ADR field, has a world class reputation and does an outstanding job in preparing students and giving them the skills needed to be apart of the dispute resolution field the day they graduate."

Victoria Perez
Victoria Perez
Study Abroad Trip to Geneva, Switzerland

"The Geneva trip touched both on my intellectual and emotional side. The organizations and people who welcomed us with open arms were eager to elaborate on their process, policies and basic human needs surrounding international conflict. The trip was thought-provoking, and I wish I could attend every year."

Malcolm McGuire
Malcolm McGuire
Study Abroad Trip to Kigali, Rwanda

"My experience with the study abroad program in Kigali, Rwanda was by far the most life-changing experience I've had to date. It was incredible to be able to use the skills honed in the DRCM program in a setting that is the epitome of reconciliation and conflict management. I had the opportunity to teach Effective Communication skills to public officials and ministry staff members while there, but I learned as much from them as they did from me. I'd encourage everyone to take a study abroad trip with this program. No matter where you go you are bound to make an impact utilizing these skills and may learn a thing or two in the process!"

Jeremy Chappell
Jeremy Chappell
Internship in New York, Prague & Slovakia

"For my Internship as part of SMU’s Dispute Resolution program, I conducted market research for a European online dispute resolution company looking to break into the United States market, which culminated in a one month work engagement at their headquarters in Bratislava, Slovakia. As a part of this internship, I was also able to work as an Observer for the company at the 2015 United Nation’s Commission on International Trade Law. The experience was incredibly rewarding and yielded a huge amount of practical knowledge."

Aaron Horn
Study Abroad Trip to Croatia and Bosnia

"My single greatest takeaway from the Croatia and Bosnia study abroad trip is that at the heart of every conflict, big or small, between friends or between countries, are fundamental needs that are not being met. Even on a grand scale, such as between the different factions involved in the wars after the breakup of Yugoslavia, the conflict arose from the need of each side to have its identity acknowledged and respected. Empathy, then, is the anecdote. Empathy can build a bridge across any abyss that conflict creates.

There is no substitute for cultural immersion when it comes to intensifying a learning experience. I highly recommend that any student participate in the study abroad programs. I’m been on two, and both fundamentally changed by view of the world. Well worth the money spent, and then some."

Katherine Goodwin
Internship with Health Management Systems

"The Dispute Resolution Program at SMU is an excellent transition tool; enabling me to explore and critically assess career options moving forward. My internship with the Human Resource group at Healthcare Management Systems (HMS) gave me the opportunity to readjust to a demanding corporate environment while applying learned methods, tools and analysis skills.

The friendly, but challenging environment allowed me to fine tune the balance between practical business skills and new collaborative practices and greater emotional intelligence. Writing about the experience made me focus on the value of the learning opportunities, and made the successes sweeter. I think this internship is the capstone of the Dispute Resolution Program process - a process that has made me not only a better business person, but just a better human being."