Mel Stanford Martin is an author, speaker, and conflict transformation specialist.
AUTHOR Mel’s book The Impasse Project: Transforming Conflict and Building Resilient Relationships will be released in 2020 by Fortress Press. She is also the creator of the Impasse Challenge, a skill-building conversation exercise that helps people practice difficult conversations.
CONFLICT TRANSFORMATION SPECIALIST Mel holds a Masters of Divinity with a concentration in social ethics from Boston University School of Theology (BUSTH). She is a graduate of the Religion and Conflict Transformation Program at BUSTH, and during her tenure, co-founded an annual academic conference on rhetorics of violence and healing.
COMMUNICATIONS EXPERT Mel is the Founder & CEO of Cambridge Creative Group, a design and marketing strategy agency where she has spent over ten years helping humanitarian organizations tell their stories.
PODCAST HOST For over two years and 100+ episodes, Mel was a founding co-host of the show Irenicast: Conversations on Faith and Culture. She worked under the pseudonym “Mona.” The show was featured on iTunes New and Noteworthy and has been downloaded in over 50 countries around the world.
— APPROACH —
In her work, Mel draws from both academic training as well as personal experience with conflict. Working on a strong belief that everyone deserves to be well-trained in the skills of conflict transformation, Mel holds a high commitment to “real talk,” making her work accessible to all ages and all levels of education.
Drawing from leading sources in restorative justice, communication, psychology, and ethics, Mel’s passion is creating spaces where people can practice courageous dialogue, grow together in resilience, and co-create individual and communal relationships that can handle the weight of conflict.
Mel’s conflict transformation approach is especially pertinent in situations of impasse where resolution or agreement is unlikely. Her framework is based on resisting “cheap peace”, animosity, and othering. Instead, she teaches audiences to internalize core values that are summarized by the idea of “engaging impasse”. Through embracing the paradox of non-resolution, and by learning to appreciate our fundamental need for healthy disagreement, we unlock important opportunities:
“Something powerful happens when we treat every disagreement and every conflict as if it is an impasse—when our approach is to deeply understand, to deeply relate, instead of trying to change someone’s mind. When we take the time first, before anything else, to truly see others, we will learn some vitally important things about their world. Even if we can’t find resolution, we will gain chances to truly connect and dispel myths and fear. We will build trust, empathy, and collaboration.”
— An excerpt from The Impasse Project by Mel Stanford Martin (Fortress Press, forthcoming 2020)