The Yeworkwha Belachew Center for Dialogue

Exterior view of Wilder Hall in spring.
Photo credit: Arisa Williams ’06

The Yeworkwha Belachew Center for Dialogue at Oberlin College (YBCD) promotes social change through conflict transformation, mediation, community building, and dialogue. The Office of the Ombudsperson coordinates and manages the activities of the center.

A design team consisting of students, faculty, and staff conceived and developed the center during a five-month period beginning in December 2000. In fall 2001, the Oberlin College Dialogue Center (OCDC) opened expanding the capacity of the ombudsperson to provide mediation and dialogue facilitation services to the campus.

All affiliated mediators and facilitators are trained in the social justice model of mediation. To honor Oberlin’s first ombudsperson, college leaders renamed the center the Yeworkwha Belachew Center for Dialogue (YBCD) in fall 2015, during a dedication ceremony .

YBCD continues the legacy of Belachew. The proactive resources of the center include voluntary mediation, facilitated group dialogues, educational workshops, an annual Social Justice Institute, and training for students, faculty, and staff to serve as volunteer mediators throughout campus.