Navigating Difficult Conversations: An Introduction to Conflict Literacy - ICL

About this workshop

Everyone faces difficult conversations and conflict as part of life, but what if you had more tools to navigate these tough moments? And, what if moments of conflict became welcome opportunities for growth rather than fearsome ordeals to be avoided or "won"?

This workshop combines Conflict Theatre elements with insightful strategies and tools, vivid examples and practical experience to help you reframe the next conflict or difficult conversation and open up potential for new paths of positive action. Through a combination of games, exercises, participatory drama and facilitated discussion, participants will be introduced to the fundamentals of "conflict literacy".

The unique blend of activities will allow for deep, reflective engagement in a playful and welcoming atmosphere.

Learning Outcomes

  • understand principles and frameworks for addressing conflict
  • be familiar with UBC's current mechanisms and resources for addressing conflict, and best practices
  • try on different perspectives on conflict, including curiosity, and viewing conflict as an opportunity rather than something to be feared
  • apply communication skills for effectively engaging in difficult conversations, including active listening, clarity and descriptive language
  • explore empathy and comfort with difference and ambiguity
  • transcend positions and surface interests (needs, values, feelings), and understand why this matters for effectively engaging in difficult conversations
  • practice communicating boundaries with clarity and respect


This session is designed for all UBC employees who want more tools and confidence for successfully navigating difficult conversations and conflict situations.

Professional Development

Workshop Registration & Payment Guidelines

For Professional Development Workshop Registration and Payment Guidelines, please click here

You will need your Campus Wide Login (CWL) to complete your registration.

About the facilitator

Dr. Aftab Erfan is Director of Dialogue and Conflict Engagement at the UBC Equity and Inclusion Office and teaches at the School of Community and Regional Planning. Developing the capacity of the UBC community to engage skillfully with conflict is a large part of her mandate.

Isabel Budke OD Consultant with UBC HR, brings extensive training and experience in facilitation, coaching and conflict management. She has designed and delivered post-secondary conflict management curriculum and a range of workshops on coaching and communication skills, including Difficult Conversations. A certified leadership coach, she also brings five years of experience facilitating treaty negotiations across BC and a Certificate in Leadership and Conflict Resolution.

Tom Scholte is a Professor in the Department of Theatre and Film as well as Faculty Lead of Conflict Theatre @ UBC. His research and practice in the realm of conflict involves the application of systems theory to modes of experiential learning based in the Theatre of the Oppressed.

Professional Development Funding Opportunities

Depending on which UBC employee group you belong to, you may be eligible to access one of several professional development funding programs for this workshop. For information about the UBC PD funding programs, including guidelines and application procedures, click here

For more information, please email