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Biography of Virginia Swain

Since 1991, Virginia Swain has developed a body of knowledge in reflection, study and practice, to educate a cross-sectoral group of Reconciliation Leaders. She has been aware of the crisis in leadership in her own country, USA, since she had been in the Peace Corps teaching in Liberia (1964-66) while the Vietnam war raged on. At twenty years old, reading the international edition of Time Magazine, it seemed as if her country of origin had gone mad. She was rather isolated in a small village, to be sure, but it was clear to her that the ideals of her country were not being lived.

Virginia Swain, Director, the Institute for Global Leadership, is an organization development consultant, mediator, ombudsperson, certified professional holistic counselor, mentor and facilitator, with recognition in Who's Who of American Women, Who's Who in America, and Who's Who in the World. The Institute for Global Leadership provides consultation and training for leaders in a post-September 11th world. Her personal mission is to engender a cross-sectoral approach to partnering for the common good — bringing people from business, society, philanthropists, and politics together by strategizing outreaches for social and economic development in local and international settings.

Virginia is dedicated to developing and supporting emerging and seasoned leaders and teams commited to providing resources for right action in institutional, community and global settings.

Drawing on her 25 years as a human relations professional and business consultant, Virginia Swain created and introduced a unique process called the Peacebuilding Process of Reconciliation to Develop Political Will™ at the United Nations in 1992. The Institute provides Reconciliation Leadership™ to guide its delivery. The mastery of this concept has been described as timely as well as having the potential to lead to the maturation of humankind into a genuine planetary family. It has been praised by diplomats, policy makers, business people, peace activists, theologians and scholars.

Reconciliation Leadership™ is an interdisciplinary approach to sustainable peacebuilding — which includes components of mediation, counseling, community-building, intercultural and multiethnic conflict management, human rights and international relations education. The Peacebuilding Process of Reconciliation™ began with Virginia's Master's Thesis Project at the United Nations, Celebration of the Children of the World™. Other projects of the Peacebuilding Process of Reconciliation, developed over fourteen years, are posted in the section, Dispute Resolution Serivces. The work has evolved to address the crisis in leadership in the United States, for post-conflict peacebuilding at the United Nations in mediation and reconciliation, and to provide an intercultural, multiethnic and interdisciplinary approach to global challenges.

The Reconciliation Leadership™ Certificate Programs and the Peacebuilding Process of Reconciliation™ are multi-faceted procesess. They are an "exponent of the new language of international collaboration” (Collins). Since 1989, in collaboration with many diverse individuals and groups on five continents, Swain has developed, taught, and/or facilitated various aspects and applications of the Reconciliation Leadership™ and Peacebuilding Process of Reconciliation™.

  • Working as a consultant to organizations (Organization Transformation Network, International Business Task Force, Coalition for a Strong United Nations, Values Caucus of the United Nations, Pacem in Terris Society at the United Nations, Global Education Associates, Burncoat Senior High School).

  • Teaching (Adjunct Faculty at the Clark University Masters Program of Professional Communication, Lesley University Independent Study Masters Program, the Lesley School of Management, the Salve Regina University Holistic Counseling Masters Program, and Andover Newton Theological Schools Institutde on Spirituality and Business). Virginia taught Managing in a Global Economy and Negotiation and Mediation in Global and Organizational Settings from her holistic perspective and experience as adjunct faculty at Lesley University School of Management, Leadership for the United Nations and the Harmonization of Nations and Designing and Implementing Interventions for Global Change at Salve Regina University in Newport, RI, and Change Management, Cross-Cultural Conflict Resolution and Leadership at Clark University in Worcester, MA.

  • Lecturing and presenting (for International Educators for Peace, Norwich, Vermont, 1995, Business for Social Responsibility 1996, International Symposium on Spirituality and Business, Boston, 1998, 1999; Hague Appeal for Peace, Netherlands, 1999; State of the World Forum, San Francisco, 1999.; The Enterprise Forum at the State of the World Forum, 2000, and many more)

  • Organizing reconciling environments and celebrations at various events (e.g. Celebration of the Children of the World at the United Nations in New York, The United Nations Conferences: Environment and Development, UN Conference on Economic and Social Development, Copenhagen 1996, Commission of Sustainable Development Co-Chair, Financing Agenda 21 Task Force, New York, 1993; International Rio de Janeiro, 1992; A Global Liturgy, Parliament of the Worlds Religions, Chicago, 1993)

  • Utilizing the Peacebuilding Process of Reconciliation to Develop Political Will™ with individuals and groups suffering from abuse of human rights (e.g. in collaboration with others to establish collaborative relationships to end violence in the inner city (Buffalo, 1995), consultation with refugees from the former Yugoslavia (Boston, 1999 and ongoing), consultation with Rwandan genocide survivors (New York, 1998, Boston, 1999) and training now being implemented in Rwanda by Rev. Erisa Mutabaazi.

  • Consulting and training since 1986, Swain has worked with over 250 large and small businesses, non-profits, groups, and religious organizations, promoting community building, communication, leadership and spiritual renewal. She was an active participant in the International Organizing Committee of the State of the World Forum Millennium 2000, Global Education Associates, and CIVICUS; World Alliance of Citizen Participation and is a member of many other organizations related to education, vocational and life planning, community building, organizational development and world peace.

  • Learning: true to her belief that one must constantly balance teaching and learning, Swain continues to expand and deepen her own education even as she devotes herself to teaching others the visionary, historic and pragmatic aspects of Reconciliation Leadership™. Some recent experiences as a student have included Skills for the Religious Peacebuilder, Conflict Transformation, Ethnic Identity Training at Eastern Mennonite University (Harrisonburg, VA, 1999); Restorative Justice Training Conference (Boston, 1999); and training with the Quaker United Nations office (Pendle Hill 2000); Work, Purpose, Place and Peace, Reconciliation of Polarities and Expressive Arts Training (CRRC Counseling Center LLC 2003-present).

  • Virginia brings a background in facilitating workshops at the Global Forum, the parallel conference for the UN Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in 1992, the UN Social Development Summit in Copenhagen conference in 1995, The World Social Summit. Additionally, Virginia has served as a United Nations NGO representative and citizen diplomat since 1991 and she co-convened an NGO working group on financing Agenda 21 at the Commission of Sustainable Development follow up to the Earth Summit in 1993. Virginia also works globally for women's issues and has been a member of the UN Women's Caucus since 1992. Virginia has been an NGO delegate to the Commission on the Status of Women (UN) and the last preparation conference for the 1996 Beijing Women's Conference. She was a delegate to the NGO Millennium Forum (2000) and the State of the World Forum (1999-2000).

  • As a former executive committee member of the Boston-based Coalition for a Strong United Nations since its founding in 1993, which offers public education through 12 conferences to Greater Boston citizens in partnership with the John F. Kennedy Library, Virginia offered leadership to deliver nine conferences and co-chaired the International Business Task Force. In 1996, Virginia co-facilitated a working group through the former UN Secretary-Generals Office on industry-specific codes of conduct for business practices in 1996. Virginia is listed in Who's Who in American Women, Who's Who in America, Who’s Who of American Educators and Who's Who in the World.

  • Writing: A book: A Mantle of Roses:A Woman's Journey Home to Peace (XLibris, 2004). Her articles include Reconciliation Leaders in a Global Economy, "A Vision for a 21st Century Leadership" (Breakthrough Magazine, Global Education Associates (1998), "The United Nations, Servant Leadership and a Peacebuilding Institute" (Abolishing War, 1998), "Re-Imagining the Urban Environment: Strengthening Collaborative Relationships in the Inner City, 1997), "The Interrelationship of Individual and State Cooperation for Peacebuilding. The International Institute for Peace Agenda for Peace and NGOs Conference, Vienna (1994), "International Cooperation: Its Roots in Individual Responsibility" at the Comparative and International Education Society Conference (1995), Global Ascendancy: Local and Global Challenges in Education and Development with Dr. Joseph Baratta (1995).

  • As wife and mother: Virginia is married to Dr. Joseph Baratta, Associate Professor of History, Worcester State College and mother to Thomas E. Cone, III, Assistant Professor of Economics, State College of New York, Brockport. Tad and Karen Cone, also a Professor and Researcher in Health and Immunology at University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, were married in May 2000.

Virginia Swain, MA
Director
The Institute for Global Leadership
32 Hill Top Circle
Worcester, MA 01609
phone: 508-753-4172 ext. 3
mobile: 508-245-6843
fax: 508-753-1004
vswain@global-leader.org


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