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Dukes wins conflict resolution award

Architecture Prof. Frank Dukes, the director of the University’s Institute for Environmental Negotiation, has been awarded the 2012 Sharon M. Pickett Award from the Association for Conflict Resolution to acknowledge his work in promoting environmental protection through conflict resolution.

The association is a professional organization that promotes the practice and understanding of conflict resolution, according to its website, and has presented the Pickett award annually since 2008.

Through his work with the Institute for Environmental Negotiation Dukes aims to train others to nurture Virginia’s sustainable future.

Dukes has also worked on local, state and federal projects dealing with the environment and land use, community development, health and education. Most recently, he has been involved in working with communities to help determine the productive re-use of contaminated sites in various states.

In addition to his University position, Dukes is also the author of “Reaching for Higher Ground and Resolving Public Conflict: Transforming Community and Governance” and has led consensus-building efforts mediating disputes between the tobacco industry and public health organizations, according to a University press release published Monday.

“This is the only award of its kind,” Dukes said. “It reflects well on the [Institute for Environmental Negotiation], on the work we’ve been doing for a couple decades now and it also reflects well on the University.”

Dukes hopes the award and recognition will spark interest in conflict resolution at the University, as he said many people are not aware of the developing field of study. “Our field isn’t very big — there are only about four thousand members and of those only a small proportion actually work within the field,” he said.

The award was presented by Lou Gieszl, the immediate past president of the association.

“[Dukes is] at the realm of spiritual and personal transformation,” Giezl said in the University press release. “He’s done extraordinary work in the area of reconciliation and righting unrightable wrongs.”