BRDGES Academy values excellence. In order to ensure our students quality education and innovative courses using best practices, we reach across the globe to engage experienced and highly-qualified conflict resolution practitioners and mediators as our faculty.

Trip Barthel


Trip has his M.A. in Conflict Resolution and has been teaching and practicing mediation and facilitation around the world since 1997 and working full time in China, Indi and southeast Asia for the past seven years. He has taught at the National Judicial College and the University of Nevada (Reno). Trip has trained over 3,000 people around the world  in courses ranging from 2-40 hours. Trip’s last several years have been spent in China working with and training in conciliation and mediation.

Michelle Brenner


Michelle Brenner was one of the first students to graduate in Conflict Resolution from an Australian University. She was one of the first to have a full time job as a mediator in Australia, working for an inner city local government, setting up and operating Conflict Resolution Services. Michelle has worked as a consultant providing mediation support and training across a broad spectrum of contexts including schools, hospitals, nursing homes, community groups, the Department of Immigration, body corporate groups and the New South Wales Police Force. Michelle also works with Family Dispute Resolution Services.

Ursula Caser


Born in Oberstdorf, Germany, now living in Portugal, Ursula holds a European Master’s Degree in Mediation. For many years, she has been working as a trainer and coach in the EU, specializing in intercultural dimensions and communications and has been leading institutional, organizational and individual trainings and intercultural awareness coaching programs.

Lynn H. Cole | President BRDGES Academy


Lynn is the President of BRDGES Academy and has been a force for mediation over the past  several decades. In the early 1990s as Chair of the Civil Justice Reform Act Commission, she commended to the Federal Judges in the Middle District of Florida to promote the use of mediation in their civil case management process.

Since then, that model and the use of mediation has been followed by other federal districts and appellate courts in the United States.  During that same time she worked with the (now called) Florida Supreme Court Dispute Resolution Center to setup the first state court related mediation program in the United States.  Working in developing rule of law countries, Bulgaria, Jordan and Kosovo, she utilized the Florida state model to assist in developing court-related mediation system design.

She is a full time mediator and mediation trainer who is Harvard-trained and mediation certified in Florida; she also is internationally by the International Mediation Institute (“IMI”) in The Hague.

Sarah Daitch


Sarah is a mediator, facilitator and trainer, specializing in public dispute resolution and natural resource issues – she is the founder and principal of Daitch & Associates. Sarah has six years professional experience in consensus building for public disputes in Canada, the US and Europe, as well as supporting dispute resolution initiatives in Latin America, Asia and Africa. Sarah works with governments, non-profits and companies on collaborative problem solving for public policy and natural resource challenges. Sarah is a qualified mediator with the Alternative Dispute Resolution Institute of Canada, and holds an MA in Dispute Resolution and a BA in International Relations. She was raised in Inuit, Dene and Metis communities in the Northwest Territories and Nunavut, and was a 2013-2014 Action Canada Fellow.

Mary Jo Harwood, MSW, LSW


Mary Jo is a community mediator as well as trauma and conflict management specialist with over 30 years of experience working with trauma and building conflict-competent communities. She is the owner of Resilience Resource, LLC

Dave Joseph


An experienced trainer in mediation and dialogue, Mr. Joseph brings 20 years of mediation experience and 10 years of international work, primarily in Africa and his experience as Senior V.P. of Programs for the Public Conversations Project to the virtual classroom.

Prabha Sankaranarayan


Prabha is a Conflict Management Consultant with over 25 years of experience in NGO management and program development. She is actively involved in regional, national, and international civic activities focused on civil liberties, sexual violence prevention, conflict mitigation & mediation as well as the recovery & rehabilitation of trauma survivors. She also is the CEO and President of Mediators beyond Borders (MBB).

Rachel Wohl


Rachel Wohl, Esq. is an attorney, mediator, facilitator and meditation teacher who co-created an awareness tool called “Taking STOCK” to help dispute resolvers and others to continually integrate mindfulness into their work and lives. Rachel has been teaching “Mindfulness for Dispute Resolvers: Judges, Lawyers, Mediators, Arbitrators and Managers,” twice a year for the past 10 years, in a 2.5-day format, at Pepperdine University Law School’s Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution. She recently co-authored an article, with Professor Leonard Riskin called “Mindfulness in the Heat of Conflict: Taking STOCK” and published in the Harvard Negotiation Law Review Vol. 20-121.


In today’s global world, it is imperative that all practitioners of conflict resolution  have an intelligible understanding of others’ cultural nuances and behaviors – flexibility, humility, openness to differences, and effective adaptation strategies can make the mediation table a place where different cultures can meet to create a new culture conducive to building accord and amity.

The BRDGES Academy Assessor has a special role at BRDGES Academy. They view and judge online mediation simulations and make written evaluations of the mediator’s role-play required for the IMI  General or Intercultural Certification. All of BRDGE’s Academy Assessors are committed to transparency and educational best practices. Assessors take part in initial start up training at BRDGES to understand their duties and responsibilities and how to make the best us of e-learning techniques.

Advisory Board

We are recruiting an elite Advisory Board to ensure that we are working for you using all best educational practices. At our request, these men and women will meet with us periodically to review our evaluation standards for each course and for the Final Mediation Role-play required for the IMI  General or Intercultural Certification.

Dr. Maling Ebrahimpour

Dr. Ebrahimpour is the immediate past Dean of the USF  St. Petersburg College of Business, which, during his tenure, he brought the school within the top 100 business schools in the United States.

Alan E. Gross, Ph.D.

Alan Gross has mediated, arbitrated, facilitated, and trained for over 20 years around the world. Gross holds MBA and Ph.D. degrees from Stanford University and was formerly Psychology Professor and Department Chair at the University of Maryland

Srdan Šimac, Ph.D.

Srdan Šimac, Ph.D. is a judge and former President of the High Commercial Court of the Republic of Croatia, and chair of its Mediation Service. He is mediation pioneer in Croatia and among the founders of court annexed mediation.

Anna Spain

Anna Spain is an Associate Professor (with tenure) at the University of Colorado Law School where she designs and teaches courses on international law, international dispute resolution, international human rights and humanitarian law, mediation and legal ethics.

Support Team

We will work hard to make your participation in our classes as easy as possible.  We work hard to schedule courses in such a way as to include as many participants from around the world as possible.  Sometimes that isn’t always possible to include everyone and if you have a question or suggestion, just contact us. We will work on scheduling special classes in a region for 8 or more  participants. We want you to fully enjoy this unique experience!

Mohamad Cheikhali


Mohamad Cheikhali is a law student at Stetson University College of Law in St. Petersburg, Florida, set to receive his J.D in early 2016. During his law studies, he has focused on international law, immigration, mediation, negotiation, and arbitration. On the corporate level, Mohamad has written several papers arguing for and against large mergers and acquisitions. His interest in investigative legal work led him to varied fellowships that put him at the forefront of criminal white collar cases.   He is a founder of an online startup and has managed a sales team for a million dollar company. Mohamad is a pending certified mediator with experience in interviewing, counseling, and negotiation. He has served as a board member for a national Political Action Committee where he often met with elected officials as an advocate for minority communities. Mohamad also works part time as a strategic consultant, offering an improved understanding of the political and economic climate in countries around the world.

Simone A. Heuer


Simone graduated from law school at Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität (LMU) in Munich, Germany. She then completed a German-French dual degree in international management (MSc) at ESCP Paris, a French Grande Ecole, and is currently studying political science and sociology at Fernuniversität Hagen on a part-time basis. She also works as an EMT with the Order of Malta for humanitarian aid. During her law studies she focused on International Law, ADR and negotiation. After representing her law school at international negotiation and mediation competitions, she underwent mediation training, got certified as a business mediator and then participated in advanced mediation courses. Since her goal has always been an international career, she decided to study international business and management in Paris, Madrid and Berlin. Her focus lies on project management, organizational behavior and marketing. She wrote her master thesis on the underrepresentation of women in top management positions. Simone is also working with Mediators beyond Borders (MBB) as the coordinator of the International Training Institute for women in peace-building functions. Moreover, she is part of the organizing committee of the World Mediation Summit, an annual international mediation conference in Madrid.

Simone is tri-lingual German/English/French and also speaks Spanish and Italian. She also is a travel photographer (www.phototastic.world).