University of Vermont

Champlain, UVM to offer 'EcoDiplomacy Academy'

Program hopes to find common ground in environmental disputes

Contact: Stephen Mease, Public Information & News Director

802-865-6432 /           


Champlain, UVM to Offer ‘EcoDiplomacy Academy’  

Program hopes to find common ground in environmental disputes  



            BURLINGTON, Vt., — Champlain College and the University of Vermont have joined forces to offer a new course entitled, “EcoDiplomacy Academy: Strategies for Environmental Diplomacy and Security” to help resolve environmental and resource-based conflicts locally and around the world.


Champlain College Provost Robin Abramson and UVM Provost Jane Knodell met recently to sign a letter of agreement allowing the two higher education institutions to work together through the UVM Institute for Environmental Diplomacy and Security (IEDS) at UVM’s Jeffords Center for Policy Research and Champlain College’s Master’s in Mediation and Applied Conflict Studies (MACS) Program. The first course will run July 11-12, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. with instructors Saleem H. Ali, director of IEDS, and Julian Portilla, director of MACS.


The two-day, one-credit course will cover a broad range of topics, from international environmental law to mediation and conflict resolution skills. The course is designed for corporate, government and community leaders/activists who are seeking processes to address the difficult decisions posed by resource-based conflicts. Policy makers, mediators, educators, community planners, public administrators, lawyers and others interested in the connections among environment, business, health, community development, land use planning and public policy are encouraged to attend.


According to Saleem Ali, one of the distinguishing features of the institute is its ability to study and operate at multiple scales of small-scale community conflicts—for which Vermont is fertile ground--while also engaging in the study of and intervention into larger international conflicts.


Among the possible areas of proposed study - the Akwasasne, St. Regis Mohawk community in New York and environmental conflicts in the border region between the tribal community and the industrial plants on the US/Canadian border. The IEDS also plans to develop a case study related to the prospective conflict over the power line planned across Lake Champlain involving the lands of the Abenaki community near Swanton, Vt.


From a mediation viewpoint, the program will work to familiarize students with emerging international diplomatic processes around environmental concerns, and the means by which agreements can be reached when dealing with a complex set of values and stakeholders, Portilla explained.


For more information or to register for the July training program at UVM, contact IEDS, Bittersweet House, 153 S. Prospect St, Burlington, (800) 639-3210 or online at On campus housing is available.