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Ashford Joins Creighton’s Werner Institute

Ashford Joins Creighton’s Werner Institute

State Sen. Brad Ashford of Omaha has joined the Werner Institute for Negotiation and Dispute Resolution as a senior fellow and chair of the newly organized Public Issues Collaboration Initiative (PIC), Creighton law professor and Werner Institute Director Arthur Pearlstein announced today.

PIC delivers facilitation, mediation, and consulting services to public institutions, corporations, nonprofits, and other stakeholders in public-policy processes. It is the mission of PIC to foster effective collaboration for superior decision making that leads to outstanding results. The program also helps parties avert costly, prolonged, and unproductive disputes in the public arena.

Pearlstein said Ashford is uniquely qualified to head PIC. “Brad has focused on policies to help resolve conflict by finding common ground on difficult issues,” Pearlstein said.

Ashford, who is in his third term in the Nebraska Legislature, served as a founding board member of the Metropolitan Entertainment and Convention Authority (MECA), and as executive director of the Omaha Housing Authority. He is a graduate of Colgate University and Creighton University School of Law and is a member of the Omaha law firm of Bradford & Coenen, LLC.

Ashford has extensive training and experience in mediation and conflict resolution. As a state senator, he has sponsored legislation related to mediation that has become law in Nebraska in connection with various fields of endeavor.

“I was drawn to the mission of the Werner Institute by the efforts of its director, Arthur Pearlstein, to mediate the dispute between Omaha Public Schools and the State of Nebraska regarding state aid to schools. Those efforts bore fruit and helped set the stage for legislation to settle differences that had gone on for years,” Ashford said. “It has been my experience in the public arena that the parties to disputes become so locked into positions that resolution becomes extremely difficult. The Werner Institute has formed a team of experts in the area of conflict resolution and collaborative practice, and I am honored to be a part of the effort.”

Pearlstein called Ashford “a giant of creative thinking and collaborative approaches who builds bridges between individuals and groups with widely divergent agendas.” Describing him as a “major asset to the Institute and its role in the development of the region,” Pearlstein said Ashford “has already brought a number of major entities into contact with the Institute seeking to benefit from the new PIC initiative.”

“Even though it preceded the formal launch of PIC,” Pearlstein said, “I consider the successful facilitation of the state-aid-to-schools dispute a major demonstration of what we can achieve through this initiative. Through Brad Ashford, we were able to bring key players to the table at the Institute and help bring about a resolution to millions of dollars in litigation with even greater, incalculable benefits to Nebraska.”

The Werner Institute for Negotiation and Dispute Resolution at the Creighton University School of Law was founded in 2005 thanks to a generous gift from the C.L. Werner family of Omaha. The Werner Institute is a national leader in advancing the field of conflict resolution and collaborative practice. Its focus is on developing the next generation of practitioners and scholars who are responsive to the needs of society to help resolve and prevent complex conflict and realize gains through collaboration.