Richard Barbieri

Senior Facilitator

Country of origin: USA

Date started with Soliya: 2017

Education and field of work: My academic fields of study were literature and philosophy. My first career of 40 years was as a teacher and school administrator, working at every level from preschool through university. I have been head of several elementary and secondary schools, from Maine to Florida, Washington D.C. to New Mexico. I have participated in conferences, or assisted schools in most of the U.S. states and also in Puerto Rico, Peru, Germany, the Netherlands, Bulgaria, Israel and the West Bank, and Vietnam. After retirement I took a master’s degree in mediation and conflict resolution, and learned about Soliya from a course in facilitation.

One accomplishment you're proud of: During my first career I founded a summer program to help rural and urban students from the state of Massachusetts be better prepared for university, by offering them advanced coursework, a living-away-from-home experience, and college and career guidance. Students were admitted without regard to their ability to pay. Over 14 years the program supported nearly 2,500 students, all of whom went on to university.

What about Soliya inspires/motivates you to be involved? I particularly prize Soliya’s moments of discovery, when students understand the realities of life in other parts of the world, or share a mutual insight into how they can change the future. While I find that students from around the world know a great deal about the U.S., Soliya helps American students learn about everything from food preferences to the costs of education around the world. This is as true for me as for the participants.

What can you be found doing when not working/facilitating/training? I am on the Board of Directors of the Association for Conflict Resolution and edit its journal, ACResolution, which has featured Soliya in an issue on civil discourse. I also write for several educational, religious, and mediation publications. Music, nature, travel, and time with my dog take up much of my leisure.

Favorite food: I enjoy the foods of many cultures, but especially those from the Italian side of my own ancestry (pizza, pasta, risotto, etc.) I also have an insatiable sweet tooth.