To prepare students, alumni, staff, faculty, and community members to fulfill President McKay’s prophecy.


The David O. McKay Center for Intercultural Understanding helps BYUH students,faculty, staff and alumni fulfill that prophecy by functioning as a cross-cultural peacebuilding laboratory that:

1. Educates BYUH students, faculty, staff and alumni with the theoretical and practical tools they need to be leaders and peacebuilders

2. Sponsors practical community building and cross cultural leadership opportunities in the university, community and the world

The McKay Center is engaged in a number of projects at the University, in the community and internationally in its efforts to further intercultural understanding.They include:

Intercultural Peacebuilding Certificate

Anatomy of Peace Workshops
Peace in the Home Workshops
Kawaihiola (Edible School Yard)
BYU-Hawaii Peer Mediation Program
Community Service Projects
Forums and Special Events
Peer Mentoring Program
Student Internships

On February 12, 1955, David O. McKay, President and Prophet of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints stood in the middle of a sugar cane field in the tiny village of Laie, on the north shore of Oahu. With a shovel in his hand, he broke ground on what was then called The Church College of Hawaii – a culmination of a vision he had in 1921 when visiting the island of Hawaii as an apostle. In the dedicatory remarks, McKay invoked a grand vision for the school and this tiny village…

“This is the beginning of the realization of a vision I saw 34 years ago when one morning President Hugh J. Cannon, President E. Wesley Smith, others and I witnessed a flag raising ceremony by students of the Church school here in Hawaii in Laie. In that little group of students were Hawaiians, what do you call them—Haoles, Chinese, Japanese, Portuguese, and Filipinos. We listened to each one, a representative from each of these groups, pay tribute to the stars and stripes as the flag was pulled up there on the flagpole and all vowed allegiance. That ceremony brought tears to my eyes… You mark that word, and from this school, I’ll tell you, will go men and women whose influence will be felt for good towards the establishment of peace internationally.”

In 2005,the David O. McKay Center for Intercultural Understanding was founded as way of helping BYUH students gain the knowledge and practical tools necessary to be those influences for peace that President McKay foresaw.

Since those humble beginnings, the Center has grown rapidly. We now have over 150 students participating in our innovative Intercultural Peacebuilding Certificate program. Hundreds more participate in dozens of peacebuilding projects on campus, in the community and internationally. Every year we are graduating more and more students determined to establish peace in their homes, their communities and in the world.


Chad Ford

Director: David O. McKay Center for Intercultural Understanding


Contact Information: MCK 206 

  • COMM 110H: Intercultural Communication
  •  COMM 252: Groups, Leadership & Conflict
  • COMM 454: Culture & Conflict
  •  IPB 300: Intercualtural Peacebuilding
  • IPB 400: Cultural Mediation & Facilitation
  •  IPB 450: Advanced Cultural Mediation & Facilitation

J.D.: International Law, Georgetown University 2000. 
M.S.: Conflict Analysis & Resolution, George Mason 2000. 
B.A.: History & Political Science, Brigham Young Univeristy Hawaii 1995.


Research Interests:

 Sustainable peacebuilding between ethnic & religious groups; Worldview Conflicts; Indigenous Conflict Resolution Methods in the Pacific; Sports, Nationalism & Conflict

Chad Ford is an associate professor of International Cultural Studies and Director of the McKay Center for Intercultural Understanding at BYU-Hawaii.  His emphasis has been in intercultural peacebuilding and mediation.   He has led peacebuilding workshops and mediations around the world, including in the Middle East, Africa, Northern Ireland, Cyprus, Australia, New Zealand and the United States.
As the Director of the McKay Center, Chad leads a team of alumni and students dedicated to fulfilling President McKay’s prophecy that “from this school … will go men and women whose influence will be felt for good towards the establishment of peace internationally.”  Those projects include community reconcilliation projects, peer mediation, Anatomy of Peace workshops and various other projects in conjunction with partners around the world.  He also teaches a number of peacebuilding classes in the program including “Intecultural Peacebuilding”, “Culture and Conflict” and “Advanced Intercultural Mediation and Facilitation"
Chad also works on several projects outside the center. Currently he's working on a major project in the Middle East with the Arbinger Institute and PeacePlayers International to create sustainable peace among Israeli and Palestinian communities and beginning a project in the United States to bridge divides between police officers and inner city communities.
Chad has a bachelor's degree in History from BYU-Hawaii, a master's degree from the Institute for Conflict Analysis and Resolution at George Mason University in Conflict Analysis and Resolution and a Juris Doctorate from Georgetown University Law School.  He also was the co-founder and former CEO of, a highly successful internet start-up that was purchased by ESPN in 2001. Chad spent several years as a senior editor and writer at ESPN before leaving his full-time position in 2005 for his current posts with the McKay Center.  
Chad is the author of a number of articles about peacebuilding in both academic journals and the popular press and continues to write for ESPN on the NBA Draft.
He enjoys running in the mountains in his spare time.