>> RELATED: Catch up on the latest Daytonians of the Week
Grieve, a mediation specialist at the Dayton Mediation Center, is the new chairman of the Dayton Sister City Committee and is vice president of the Dayton Council on World Affairs.
He is also our Daytonian of the Week.
What superpower would you love to have?
Omnilingualism (which I Googled). I’m not great at learning new languages, but would love being able to speak all of them. Plus so many barriers are broken down when you’re able to clearly communicate.
What do you do and why do you do it?
I work for the Dayton Mediation Center as one of our mediation specialists, where I get to help support people in conflict through mediation, leading training, doing case management, and helping with community outreach. I also currently serve as chair of the Dayton Sister City Committee and vice president of the Dayton Council on World Affairs because I love learning about and connecting with people from around the world.
>> Q&A: What to know about Dayton’s relationship with one of Germany’s oldest cities
How did you get involved?
I guess I’ve always been drawn to trying to better understand conflict and why it happens, starting as a social studies teacher, where I would have my students engage with historical (and current) controversial issues in the classroom setting. That led me to getting my master’s degree at Wright State, where I focused on trying to understand certain dynamics of international conflicts. Then, shortly after completing that, I began volunteering at the Dayton Mediation Center, where I got to help support people in conflict at the individual level. I just fell in love with the work, so much so that when a position became available a year ago, I jumped at the opportunity and haven’t looked back. I also got involved with the Dayton Sister City Committee and went on a trip to Bosnia-Herzegovina, which was pretty life-changing.
What has it taught you?
I think one thing working at the center and volunteering with these local international organizations has taught me is that, in spite of so many real racial, ethnic, class, gender, political, and other types of differences we have, we also have so much in common that cut across these divides if we’re willing to engage with people. Conflict drives us apart, and it takes hard work, but I think connecting people intentionally is key, whether that’s internationally through organizations or at the local level sitting across from someone at a mediation table.
>> German delegation visits Dayton this week to mark 50th anniversary of the relationship
What should people not from Dayton know about this community?
I think they should know that we punch above our weight internationally. I get to see that first-hand at work and in my volunteering.
For example, many people don’t know that Dayton even has a mediation center, let alone the fact that the international think tank for our style of mediation, known as the “Transformative Approach,” is co-located here. It’s called the Institute for the Study of Conflict Transformation and it connects practitioners and researchers all over the world.
We also have some really rich international connections and programming. For example, just this year through our sister city connections we will host students from Oiso, Japan and have a summer festival celebrating our 50-year anniversary as sister cities. We'll also send other students to Augsburg, Germany, and possibly have a visiting artist from Monrovia, Liberia. We'll also have two exchange programs going on with students coming from Bosnia-Herzegovina, one of which is sponsored by the U.S. State Department. For that last one, I'm in charge of finding homestay families, so I hope people will visit www.daytonsistercitycommittee.org to sign up to host.
What is your favorite local restaurant?
There are too many great places. I can’t pick one. Lucky’s is one of our favorites, as is Thai 9. Tacqueria Mixteca, Texas Beef and Cattle Company, and Second Street Market are also toward the top.
>> These restaurants are the Best of Dayton
What is your passion?
Aside from international stuff, I love doing Brazilian Jiu Jitsu at S&G Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. I’m out with an injury right now, but I can’t wait to get back.
What do you love about life in Dayton?
Everything there is to do. My wife Amanda and I moved to Walnut Hills from Xenia almost four years ago because we came downtown so often. There are also so many awesome people that dedicate their time to putting on regular community events, like PechaKucha. I love our microbrewery scene, too, and our amazing festivals. Celtic Fest is probably my favorite, followed by World A’Fair.
>> PHOTOS: Did we spot you at the 45th annual A World A’Fair?
What would you do on a perfect date in Dayton?
Maybe it’s the weather, but right now it would probably involve kayaking in the summer from Eastwood to downtown on the Mad River, followed by drinks and dinner at Canal St. Arcade and Deli, then catching a movie at the Neon.
>> Where to paddle in Dayton, and what to know before you go
Where do you go for a great time?
That’s so hard, but I think I’m going to have to say Oregon Express though because my favorite thing to do every week is go there for Rich’s trivia night with my friends. Great pizza and the best trivia host in the tri-state area, hands down.
>> Who has the best trivia in Dayton?
What would you change about Dayton?
I wish more people utilized Dayton Mediation Center services, or knew about them in the first place. As part of the city of Dayton, we’re a free resource to anyone who lives/works/attends school in the city, and we have the capacity through our amazing volunteers to do a lot more than we’re doing now, so give us a call or invite us to your next neighborhood association meeting to help us spread the word about our services!
>> Dayton Bucket List: 100 things to do in Dayton in 2019
What is your favorite hidden Dayton Gem?
I’m admittedly biased, but my wife is the gallery director at the Dayton Society of Artists and they have some great exhibitions people should check out. It’s also a great resource for local artists.