Dr. Catherine Barnes has worked for conflict transformation and social change for more than thirty years. She is an affiliate faculty member of the Center for Justice and Peacebuilding at Eastern Mennonite University and a freelance practitioner and researcher. Catherine has extensive experience facilitating conversations on challenging topics, in locations ranging from the UN General Assembly Hall to village gathering places. She is increasingly focused on designing whole-of-system deliberative dialogue processes and training other practitioners in these skills.
Examples of recent processes she has helped to design and facilitate range from the Mennonite Church USA’s Future Church Summit, a workshop for the Afghan High Peace Council, a faculty retreat day, and a community dialogue on Honor and Heritage in her home town. She finds that underlying process design principles can span these widely divergent contexts.
As teacher, trainer, researcher, policy advocate, and consultant, she has worked with civil society activists, diplomats and politicians, and armed groups to build their capacities for preventing violence and using conflict as an opportunity for addressing the underlying systems giving rise to grievance. She has worked with numerous peacebuilding and human rights organizations, including Conciliation Resources and Minority Rights Group International. She has written widely on peace processes, civil society roles in peacebuilding, and on issues related to statebuilding, conflict prevention, genocide and minority rights.
Catherine holds a doctorate in Conflict Analysis and Resolution from George Mason University. She has worked in more than 30 countries and, for the past eight years, has been working in support of transitional processes in Burma / Myanmar. She now lives in Staunton Virginia with her husband and son, with whom she loves to garden, to cook and to retreat into the wilds.