National Coalition Building Institute


In 2011, the University of Iowa affiliated with the National Coalition Building Institute (NCBI), a nonprofit leadership training organization based in Washington, D.C. Built on over 30 years of practice and research, NCBI programs enable leaders to develop skills in areas of prejudice reduction, violence prevention, conflict resolution, and coalition building.

The work of NCBI is guided by several foundational principles:

  • Guilt is the glue that holds prejudice in place. When people feel bad about themselves they do not have the courage to make constructive changes. Similarly, blaming people for their prejudicial attitudes only increases defensiveness, making it harder for people to take an honest look at the negative attitudes they have acquired. NCBI takes a different approach. We treat every participant with respect. We have learned that when we are generous, mindful of each person’s dignity, we can effect change much more rapidly than if we employed confrontational methods.
  • Every issue counts. NCBI stresses that every individual is important. As a result, we address a wide range of diversity issues in the course of the workshop, including race, ethnicity, gender, social class, age, sexual orientation, religion, disability, job, and life circumstance. We make sure that diversity work includes everyone, and are committed to ending isolation.
  • Stories change attitudes. At the heart of the one-day workshop is the opportunity to tell and to listen to personal stories of discrimination. These stories have the power to impart a new perspective on the devastating impact of bigotry. Participants also learn new ways to become effective allies to each other.
  • Skill-training leads to empowerment. NCBI equips every participant with practical skills for taking on prejudicial behavior. For example, we teach people how they might shift the attitude of someone who has made an oppressive joke, remark, or slur.

Here at UI, we’ve built a coalition of 50 faculty, staff, and students devoted to these principles and to developing skill and resource for campus inclusion and equity. One of the team’s primary functions is to offer workshops for campus and community members (all of which may be applied for credit in the BUILD certificate program):

Leadership for Equity & Inclusion
This full-day workshop invites participants to reflect on how identity has shaped their experiences and their leadership, while working together to build skills for coalition-building and effectively interrupting hurtful comments and behaviors.

Building Effective Relationships Across Group Lines
This four hour workshop will encourage participants to explore how our identities shape our experiences and our interactions with others, as well as the dynamics that get in the way of effective relationship-building across difference.

Conflict & Controversial Issues
This four-hour process gives leaders skills to deal constructively with tough conflicts, enabling them to move disputing parties toward future cooperation. Highly interactive, leaders engage in learning by dialoguing about a real controversy that exists in the room.

NCBI workshops and principles are being used on hundreds of campuses, K-12 schools, corporations, law enforcement programs, communities, domestic and international political organizations, and even in peace negotiations.

For more information, contact or check out the International NCBI’s website.

You can currently view our 2016-2017 trainings on our website or on the University Events calendar. All sections will be open for registration through Learning and Development starting August 15th. Please contact if you have any questions or concerns.