Susan Carpenter

Looking back over the past four decades of my professional life, I realize how my experiences at CIE, in both in its formal education offerings and CIE’s modeling of collaborative processes, gave me a solid foundation for my future work.


Although I am supposedly semi-retired, during 2019 I completed my 19th year of teaching international students at Berkeley’s Environmental Leadership Program and working with their Master’s degree of Development Practice.  I also continued my work on a variety of initiatives with the Divided Communities Project at Ohio State University Law School, dealing with civic unrest and opioid impacted communities. In addition, I continued my long service on the Board of directors of the Consensus Building Institute in Boston. [1-20]


I have spent my career as a mediator, facilitator, and trainer developing and managing programs to reach consensus and resolve controversies at the local, state, and national level.  I was the founding director of the Program for Community Problem Solving in Washington, D.C.  Prior to that I spent ten years as the associate director of ACCORD Associates in Boulder, Colorado mediating complex public disputes and training others to handle conflict productively. I was the first Visiting Fellow at the Program on Negotiation at the Harvard Law School.   I have authored numerous materials including the book I co-authored called, Managing Public Disputes: A Practical Guide to Handling Conflict and Reaching Agreements.


I have also enjoyed opportunities to train and work oversees.  I was part of the first team of conflict resolution specialists to be invited to Russia after the fall of the Soviet Union in 1990 and continued to work on projects in Russia as well as conduct training programs in Eastern Europe, Europe, China, Thailand and Vietnam.


After marriage I moved to California where we raised our two daughters and I worked as a private consultant where I mediated mostly environmental conflicts, designed and facilitated large-scale collaborative problem solving processes, conducted strategic planning efforts for organizations and communities, and trained others to manage conflict productively and to become collaborative leaders.


For nearly two decades I have taught the collaborative leadership component in the Environmental Leadership Program at the College of Natural Resources at the University of California, Berkeley where most of the participants come from Africa, Asia, and Latin America.  I currently serve on the Board of Directors of the Consensus Building Institute based in Cambridge, Massachusetts and on the Advisory Board of the Divided Communities Project at Ohio State University.   I continue to work with a Vietnamese colleague to provide training in collaborative leadership to environmental leaders who work in Vietnam’s national parks and protected areas.  


I am in regular contact with Suzanne Kindervatter, Valerie Miller, and Pat Guild.




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CIE Graduate