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UCC Launches Alternative Dispute Resolution Programme to Build a More Peaceful, Just Society


The University of the Commonwealth Caribbean has launched an alternative dispute resolution programme in a bid to help Jamaican communities build and create a more peaceful and just society. Launched on Tuesday March 21, 2023, at the university’s Worthington Ave. Campus, the Quelling Disputes Igniting Solutions (QDIS) Programme is designed to provide effective solutions to the problem of unmanaged conflicts in Jamaica.

The launch was one of a series of events during “ UCC Inauguration Week” leading to the installation of the university’s third President, Dr Haldane  Davies on March 27, 2023.
The programme combines teaching and practical activities and simulations to create an interactive and engaging environment and provides a unique opportunity for the UCC to bring together staff, students, corporations and community members to gain knowledge on the importance of alternative dispute resolution and its positive impact on society.
QDIS will promote awareness and education on the principles and practices of alternative dispute resolution with the aim of helping individuals and groups to develop an understanding of the underlying causes of conflict and to garner skills to effectively manage and resolve them. On a practical level, QDIS will also train participants/ QDIS Ambassadors in alternative dispute resolution techniques, skills and strategies for use in communities, connect the Ambassadors to communities to facilitate understanding and build relationships and promote peace and constructive collaborations.



Speaking at the launch, President Davies noted that “issues of conflict have been with us from the beginning of time. Even the Bible references conflict.  As individuals, we all have a different genetic make up - we may see things differently at times, have disagreements, but there is no reason why this should result in violence. At the UCC we believe in resolving issues in an amicable way and we are sharing our knowledge and research through QDIS with communities, schools and corporations so that we can all have the tools to resolve issues, peacefully.

Marcella Reid, UCC Social Work student, Records Officer, Child Protection and Family Services, said that while conflict management strategies in Jamaica must include strengthening the rule of law “it must also begin wherever citizens live, work, raise families and do business and the UCC through QDIS, is embracing its role in the community”.

She noted further that “A large number of our people have limited access to basic education, healthcare and employment and this creates Inequalities which often lead to frustration, resentment, and competition for limited resources and can eventually lead to conflict. The ability to manage such conflicts is essential in order to ensure a peaceful and prosperous society. Conflict management helps reduce the severity of disputes, helps parties find common ground and promotes social and economic development”.



In her address to the launch guests which included students of various High Schools, Kerri - Anne Freckleton, Psychologist, Researcher and UCC Faculty member noted “we have conflict around us everyday, it can be two meetings scheduled for the same time and we resolve that by shifting one or asking someone else to fill in for us. Similarly, a conflict due to a difference of opinion does not have to lead to a fight. Our negotiating skills are key in conflict resolution, as is actively listening to another person’s point of view, respecting each other.

QDIS will be an effective tool in helping our students understand the value of building relationships and using their language skills and knowledge to prevent and reduce heated arguments and violence”. 

The QDIS launch was also addressed by Guest Presenter Cleon Williams, Game Developer, Animator and Voice Over Coach, Ricardo Richards, UCC BSC. Applied Psychology Student, and Gary McKenzie, Acting Assistant Director, Department of Student Services, UCC, who shared Conflict Resolution Techniques with the audience.

Date Published: March 23, 2023