New York Peace Institute is committed to promoting peace in our communities. Whether a dispute involves two people, dozens of people, or several groups, we can help.
We work in three areas:
For more information on New York Peace Institute you can email us any time at firstname.lastname@example.org or contact us at one of our Mediation Center locations
Manhattan Mediation Center
111 John Street, Suite 600, New York, NY 10038
Hours: Monday 12:00 pm – 8:00 pm,
Tuesday-Friday 9:00 am – 5:00 pm
Brooklyn Mediation Center
210 Joralemon St., Suite 618 Brooklyn, NY 11201
Hours: Monday-Wednesday 12:00 pm – 8:00 pm,
Thursday and Friday 9:00 am – 5:00 pm
Manhattan Mediation Center
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Brooklyn Mediation Center
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New York Peace Institute envisions a world in which all people have the resources to creatively and constructively resolve their differences.
People disagree and arguments escalate. As experts in conflict response, New York Peace Institute empowers people to find creative and durable solutions to their disputes. We teach vital conflict resolution skills to communities and organizations, and we advance the field by training and certifying professional mediators.
Everything we do comes out of the core belief that active peacemaking requires direct, respectful, and creative communication. We’re here to get in the middle when people or communities have disputes, and our work is driven by these six values:
We see every conflict as an opportunity for better understanding. Mediation is a valuable tool, so we strive to make it more accessible to everyone.
We encourage openness—from ourselves and from people in disputes—because direct communication is the best way to find solutions.
We don’t simply remain neutral—we strive to understand and honor the different points of view of the individuals, parties, or communities in conflict.
We create a private, collaborative environment to help individuals and communities find practical solutions to their disputes. We also help them gain the tools to handle future conflicts.
We demand nothing but the best from ourselves on behalf of the people we work with—whether in mediation, in trainings, or during any other discussions.
We think differently—and we encourage the people we work with to think differently—to find innovative, and perhaps unexpected, solutions to make New York City a more peaceful place.
Brad Heckman, Chief Executive Officer
Brad has championed mediation and peacebuilding in more than 25 countries. Before becoming New York Peace Institute’s founding CEO, he served as Vice President of Safe Horizon and International Director of Partners for Democratic Change. He’s also an Adjunct Professor at New York University’s Center for Global Affairs.
Read Brad’s blog here!
Michele Kirschbaum, Director of Programs
Michele was formerly the Director of the Safe Horizon Brooklyn Mediation Center, providing court-based and specialized programs to the Brooklyn community. She is expressly recognized for her leadership in the field of Special Education Mediation as a recipient of the Lawrence Cooke Peace Innovator Award.
Koren Gaines, Chief Operations Officer
Koren has over 20 years of non-profit management experience with local, national and international non-profits; focusing on operations, finance, human resources, technology, fundraising and communications. Most recently, she was the Operations Director for the Maysles Documentary Center.
Will Nassau, Training Director
Will has over 10 years of experience in the fields of cultural exchange, human rights and non-profit organization management. Will oversaw capacity building and service-learning programs at American Jewish World Service for six years where he designed and ran trainings for international grantees and volunteers. He holds an MA with Distinction in International Studies from the University of Exeter and a BA in Politics from Ithaca College.
Kailani Capote, Restorative Justice Coordinator for Urban Assembly School for Global Commerce
Kailani comes to us having experience with BronxWorks as a mediator in an elementary school in the Bronx as well as a Senior Resident Assistant in college. She earned her B.S. in Psychology from Delaware State University and holds a M.A. in Psychology from CUNY Hunter College. As a Restorative Justice Coordinator with the New York Peace Institute, she assists the Urban Assembly School for Global Commerce in their quest to becoming more restorative and less punitive when it comes to discipline, by conducting mediations and harm circles when conflict arises in the school community.
Christina Dizon, Training & Operations Associate
Christina has previous experience fundraising for nonprofit organizations, focusing on individual giving, grant writing, and event planning. She is excited to promote mediation and conflict resolution as practical life skills, and hopes to see forgiveness and reconciliation result from our services. She graduated from Binghamton University.
Rusa Fischer, Case Manager, Manhattan
Rusa is our Case Manager for the Manhattan Mediation Center. She also enjoys mentoring and coaching new mediators, is a founding member of the Restorative Justice League and is our resident film geek. One of her favorites is 12 Angry Men.
Meredith Gray, Restorative Justice Coordinator
Meredith oversees the Criminal Court Mediation Program for Kings and New York counties. Her restorative justice skills and experience are enriched by INCITE! Women of Color Against Violence, the Creative Interventions Toolkit, The Revolution Starts at Home, Baltimore’s Community Conferencing Center, Kay Pranis, and New York Peace Institute. In addition to her work with NYPI, Meredith is an educator focusing on the intersections of community, identity, spirituality, and anti-oppression practice. She brings a background in social justice movement-building to this work.
Carol Lieb Himes, Special Education Mediation Coordinator
Carol Lieb Himes is the Coordinator of the Special Education, Early Intervention, and ACCES-VR Mediation Programs. These programs provide mediations to resolve disputes between individuals with disabilities, parents of children with disabilities, and service-providing agencies, including the NYC DOE and Department of Health. She enjoys mentoring new Special Education and Early Intervention mediators. In the past, Carol practiced law in several areas and is very happy to have found her work in mediation. Carol is a member of the New York State bar.
Anne Marie McFadyen, Restorative Justice Manager – Schools and Community Conferencing
Anne Marie has been working in the conflict arena as a mediator, conflict coach, community conference facilitator and trainer for the past ten years. She works collaboratively with schools and within communities and organizations where she designs conflict management programs and supports the implementation of restorative practices. Her goal is to support individuals and organizations use the experience of harm and hurt to create more conflict resilient cultures.
Annie Noula, Program Manager, Civil Court and Parent Pledge
Annie was practicing commercial/corporate law in Athens-Greece for more than 10 years when she decided to change her career path and enter into the “alternative” dispute resolution world. Subsequently, she moved to New York where she completed an LL.M. degree in Dispute Resolution at Cardozo Law School and she has never stopped practicing her dispute resolution skills ever since! Following her LL.M., she completed a fellowship at Cardozo Law School’s acclaimed Kukin Program for Conflict Resolution. Annie is knowledgeable of several languages, ancient and modern, but she is more intrigued in learning how to interpret people’s body language during mediation.
Skye Roper-Moses, Restorative Justice Coordinator for Rachel Carson High School for Coastal Studies
Skye has 12 years experience working with families as a case manager for the City of New York department of Social Services. Skye began as a volunteer mediator in 2010 with Safe Horizon as she was completing her Master’s degree at Columbia University Conflict Resolution and Negotiation Program. Skye is drawn to mediating family cases and conflict coaching.
Emily Sernaker, Development & Outreach Officer
Emily Sernaker brings over 10 years of development and communications experience to the New York Peace Institute. Her previous work has been in support of vulnerable women and children with specific attention to displaced populations and survivors of human trafficking. Emily is a Rotary International Ambassadorial Scholar. She holds a BA in Creative Writing and Social Justice and MSc in Equality Studies.
Caitlin Strawder, Case Manager, Brooklyn
Caitlin graduated from Florida State University in 2013 with degrees in Political Science, emphasis in Leadership Studies, and Social Science, emphasis in Human Rights. Caitlin has worked in various immigrant and refugee social and legal services programs and researched social justice movements in El Salvador. She completed two consecutive Fulbright English Teaching grants in Colombia, where she volunteered with social rehabilitation programs, indigenous displacement, and studied conflict resolution and the ongoing Colombian peace process. Caitlin is thrilled to continue working with conflict resolution at a community level.
Lindsay Szper, Case Manager, Brooklyn
Lindsay comes to this organization with experience in the NYC criminal courts, where she interned for a summer screening calls from correctional facilities and interpreting meetings between ADAs and Spanish-speaking witnesses. Working briefly within the legal system exposed some of the major challenges this system faces, and Lindsay is thrilled to be working in ADR and learning more about community-and-common-sense-based approaches to dispute resolution. In addition to her time in the DA’s office, Lindsay has worked as a receptionist in a small, French hotel and as coordinator of the after-school Spanish program in a Minnesota elementary school. She holds a B.A. in Spanish, French, and Cross-Cultural studies from Carleton College and speaks a handful of languages other than English—five and counting!
Martha Vargas, Program Manager, Civil Court
Martha administers the New York Peace Institute (formerly Safe Horizon Mediation) mediation programs in Civil, Small Claims, Housing, and Supreme Courts custody/visitation cases for Kings Court and two new Civil and Small Claims Court Diversion mediation initiatives. She also coordinates the Lemon Law program for the Borough of Brooklyn. Martha is a certified mediator with New York Peace Institute, where she has worked and mediated for the almost two decades in various positions.
Tony Yost, Program Manager: Mediation & Conflict Coaching
Hailing from Maryland, Tony previously worked and volunteered with the Bosserman Center for Conflict Resolution and the Conflict Analysis and Dispute Resolution (CADR) department at Salisbury University where he spent several years honing his skills in mediation, research, and dispute systems design. He has also researched, written and presented on a wide variety of conflict resolution issues. Tony earned his MA and BA in Conflict Analysis and Dispute Resolution from Salisbury University in Salisbury, Maryland.
Michael H. Williams, Chair
Greg Thonsen, Treasurer
Tanya Goldfarb, Secretary
Jennifer Glueck Bezoza
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New York Peace Institute
111 John Street, Suite 600
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