Elissa Tivona

Elissa Tivona, board member

Elissa Tivona took an extended sabbatical from an established career as a multimedia producer/writer in Biomedical Communications following the Columbine shooting. At the time, this senseless tragedy touched too close to heart and home, as she was working and raising two young children less than 25 miles from Littleton, Colorado.

Elissa left her comfort zone and two decades of media production and set a new course for applying her public relations and journalistic skills: She coordinated the international conference, Perspectives on Peacemaking in 2002 in Boulder Colorado, worked as a diversity trainer and facilitator of dialogue groups in Fort Collins Colorado and eventually returned for a third tour of duty in academia. Her goal included pursuing the art and discipline of building sustainable peace and security and acquiring foundational skills for conflict resolution and reconciliation.

Since completing her doctorate in 2008, Elissa continues to bring a deep and unshakable conviction to Colorado State University and dual appointments with the Department of Journalism and Technical Communications and the Office of International Programs. To create sustainable and peaceful futures for coming generations, Elissa believes that professionals across disciplines must craft new messages that deliver the peaceable spectrum of human enterprises. Toward this end, she helped establish the Peace and Reconciliation minor at Colorado State University, and wrote curricula and syllabi for two peace-centered courses: Education for Global Peace and Journalism, War and Peace.

Other concurrent pursuits include teaching Specialized Technical Writing for the JTC department and writing regularly as a freelancer on assignment for multiple publications and blogs, both in academic and the popular media.

Elissa has joined the growing ranks of world-class peace journalists like Jake Lynch, former BBC reporter and Director of the Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies (CPACS) at the University of Sydney, and Robert Koehler, 30-year veteran of the Chicago Tribune and writer of the peace focused blog and column, Common Wonders.

Elissa is an active community volunteer in areas related to her academic interests and research. She is the former President of the United Nations Association, Northern Colorado Chapter and currently serve as Vice President. She also collaborates closely with the Director of Tiyospaye Winyan Maka, an NGO building sustainable homesteads and right livelihoods with the Lakota people. Their annual building projects are currently located in Wounded Knee on the Pine Ridge reservation. Elissa serves as convener of a small collective of Abrahamic Activists, who work closely with peace initiatives across the green line (presumed border) between Israel and Palestine.


Ph.D. Colorado State University, Interdisciplinary Studies


  • More than twenty recent articles in Northern Colorado Medical and Wellness and Lydia’s Style Magazine, including “Envirofit Combines Business And Benefit” and “Telestroke robots: neurologists on wheels”
  • The Wicosani Community Project: Peacebuilding Among the Lakota Sioux in North America, People Building Peace 2.0. (Peace Portal: 2012)
  • Globalization of Compassion: Women’s Narratives as Model for Peace Journalism. Chapter in Expanding Peace Journalism, January 13, 2012, University of Sydney Press
  • Hope at the End of a String, Proteus Magazine, A Journal of Ideas (2006) Vol 23, Issue 2:62-64
  • Computer Platforms: Mac vs. Windows, New Mobility Magazine (1997)       Co-author with Dr. David Young.       New Mobility Vol. 8, Issue 49:51-54
  • An Educator’s Point of View chapter CD-ROMS: Breakthrough in Information Storage (1988) Frederick Holtz, Ed. Blue Ridge Summit, PA: TAB Books Inc.

Colorado State University Courses

LB 300 Specialized Technical Writing

Specialized Technical Writing primarily for journalism majors. Emphasizes specialized writing skills used in professional letters, resumes, manuals, critiques complaints, and interest-specific research projects.

IE 472 Education for Global Peace

Peacekeeping, peacemaking and peace-building on micro and macro levels, and education’s role in them, as key components for sustaining global peace.

JTC 490 Journalism, War and Peace

— Can we reframe NEWS stories to expand possibilities for peace and reconciliation? — Can we reduce media’s complicity in popularizing accounts of sensational violence and terror? This concept course explores the shifting role of the news media locally, domestically and internationally. You are invited to engage with other stakeholders in this growing conversation among reporters, editors, publishers, academics and activists from Africa to the Antipodes. With the tragic execution of journalist James Foley, and the deliberate use of this violence to frighten media consumers, what role can journalists play as creators of these messages and what responsibility do we have for change?

LB 492 Senior Capstone

Integration and reflection for liberal arts majors with an emphasis on core competencies and academic, professional and/or career transitions.


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