Steve Wessler is a human rights educator, trainer and advocate specializing in conflict resolution. He works with schools, colleges, non-profit organizations, healthcare institutions, law enforcement agencies, work places and communities to prevent bias, harassment, discrimination and violence.

Since 1992 he has presented 100s of workshops, keynote addresses, presentations and conflict resolution dialogues across the United States, in Europe and in the Middle East.
Steve created the Civil Rights Unit in the Maine Attorney General’s office. The office enforced a law empowering the AG to go to court to obtain restraining orders against people who engaged in violence, property damage and threats because of bias. In seven years his unit obtained scores of protective orders. The defendants, with only a few exceptions, obeyed the terms of the injunctions.

In 1999 he founded the Center for Preventing Hate and was its director for 12 years until it’s closing in fall 2011. He is the author of The Respectful School and a number of articles, reports, book chapters and other publications focusing on hate crimes and prevention. Since 2000 he has taught university courses, both for undergrads and graduate students, on hate crimes, religious intolerance, preventing bullying in schools and on conflict resolution. Steve is a graduate of Harvard College and Boston University Law School.

Steve’s Work:

Conflict Resolution

Steve has facilitated conflict in a variety of settings, including:

• In schools where racial and religious tension has escalated, sometimes to violence – in the USA and in Northern Ireland
• Between long time Americans and immigrants
• Between ethnic Albanians and ethnic Serbians in Kosovo
• In work places in the United States and in Europe

Reducing Bullying and Harassment in Schools

• Facilitating workshops with faculty and staff
• Facilitating workshops with students
• Facilitating workshops for high school girls and boys to reduce sexual harassment in schools and sexual assault outside of school.

Increasing Trust Between Police Officers and Community Members

Police and Youth

Steve facilitates dialogues between officers and youth of color. He has done similar work in Northern Ireland between police and Catholic youth and also with Protestant youth.

• Counter Terrorism Police

Steve developed and implemented a curriculum for European counter terrorism officers to increase trust & effectiveness within communities while at the same time complying with human rights standards. He conducted a multi-day training  to prepare counter terrorism officers and human rights activists  to co-lead workshops for police across Europe.

Police Working with Roma Communities

Steve developed and implemented a curriculum for European police who work  in Roma Communities. The curriculum provides officers with strategies for working effectively with Roma people and at the same time complying with human rights standards. Steve conducted a multi-day training to prepare officers and human rights advocates to co-lead workshops for police across Europe.

Training of Trainers Multi-Day Programs

Steve believes it is important to provide schools, police departments, non-profit organizations and communities with the capacity to continue prevention strategies. Steve prepares people to lead workshops to reduce bias, harassment and bullying and also to facilitate conflict resolution dialogues.


In all of his work Steve begins by assessing the level of conflict, tension and bias in schools, workplaces and communities through focus groups. Steve’s experience is that each community, workplace and school has its own distinct issues. Participants in workshops and dialogues hear examples of issues in their own schools, workplaces and communities.

Steve’s TEDx Talks: