2021 Pre-conference events

We will be offering two different pre-conference sessions to occur FRIDAY, October 8, 2021 from 9:00-12:00pm. Both will occur simultaneously, so you may only attend one.

  • Session #1: Trauma Responsive Community Change Workshop
  • Session #2: System Change Workshop

Additional information on the sessions and presenters will be posted soon!

Questions? Email us!

Session #1: Trauma Responsive Community Change Pre-Conference Workshop

Experiences of trauma, particularly interpersonal and historical types, can corrupt everyday life and undermine community peace. Trauma-informed and responsive practices are therefore becoming pillars of peacebuilding work. These practices help individuals, families, and communities address common drivers of unresolved conflict and recurrent violence. This pre-conference workshop will explore trauma frameworks that can inform community change work. Transformative practices such as mindfulness and community building, storytelling and story listening, and evidence- and trauma-informed policy advocacy will be explored. Workshop facilitators will animate the material with illustrative examples. Interactive exercises will also help to familiarize participants with trauma-responsive community change frameworks and strategies while robust discussion will enable all of us to learn from one another.



James “Dimitri” Topitzes, Ph.D., LCSW, is a Professor of Social Work at the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee (UWM) and Director of Clinical Services for the Institute for Child and Family Well-Being. He conducts applied research, partnering with community-based agencies to implement and test innovative trauma-responsive programming. He created the Trauma-Informed Care Graduate Certificate at UWM and currently teaches master’s courses in trauma counseling. He also co-teaches the course Mindfulness and Community Building and is a long-time Vipassana meditator and Community Building facilitator.


Deborah Ann Davis, MA, LPC, has devoted much of her life to political art, social activism, and teaching public high school students. Relatively recently, she changed careers after earning her master’s degree in counseling psychology. Currently, she serves as a licensed professional counselor with Sebastian Family Psychological Practice, and has been providing mental health services to Milwaukee-area refugee and immigrant communities, families, and individuals for the past five years. She also teaches the Mindfulness and Community Building course at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and is a long-time Vipassana meditator and Community Building facilitator.


Session #2: System Change Workshop


Information Forthcoming