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UAlbany-NCBI Constituent Retreat for Jewish Leaders Changes Attitudes

Contact: Catherine Herman (518) 437-4980

ALBANY, N.Y. (March 18, 2005) - A unique retreat designed to build unity among members of the Capital Region Jewish community will be offered at the University at Albany March 22-24.

The program - which UAlbany Disabled Student Services Director Nancy Belowich-Negron describes as “the first all-Jewish ‘Train the Trainers’ workshop ever delivered in the world” - will be held at Chapel House on the uptown campus. Designed to unify Jewish UAlbany faculty and students with one another and with other Jews throughout the wider community, the session will also focus on dealing with anti-Semitism. International trainers Cherie Brown and Felice Markowicz will teach the program, which is expected to attract 60 to 70 participants. The event is one of two sessions this year supported by a $50,000 grant from the United Jewish Federation of New York’s Commission on Jewish Identity & Renewal Terrorism Response Fund.

As a National Coalition Building Institute (NCBI) affiliate, the University teaches a special set of skills useful in helping people of divergent opinions or backgrounds to work out their differences. UAlbany has participated in the institute since the early 1990s, when black and Jewish students who took part in an NCBI workshop were finally able to overlook their perceptions and reach out to one another in friendship and understanding, according to Belowich-Negron, who oversees UAlbany’s NCBI training program. “Without touching hearts,” she explains, “you can’t really change attitudes.”

In the past 11 years, UAlbany has trained more than 300 leaders. Annually, the University offers several three-day skills-building workshops that train 40 to 60 students, faculty, and staff.

NCBI, a non-profit leadership training organization based in Washington, D.C., offers programs that prepare faculty, staff, and students to overcome racial prejudice. However, the skills acquired at NCBI workshops have been applied to a wide variety of circumstances where conflict, controversy, or differing belief systems are at issue, including Nelson Mandela’s rise to power in South Africa and attempts to further peace negotiations in the Middle East.

For more information about the March program or the program in August, please contact Belowich-Negron at (518) 442-5490


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