I say regularly that students make the best teachers. My students continue to prove me right. In my recent ADR program I confessed to my undergraduate students that having a conversation about culture was something that made me very anxious. I feel poorly prepared and I fear, with the best intentions, causing offence and appearing…

“The grandchildren put out a treble tongue, Law is the senses of the young” W H Auden, “Law like Love” “In a room where people unanimously maintain a conspiracy of silence, one word of truth sounds like a pistol shot.” ― Czesław Miłosz (Polish-American poet, 1911-2004) A couple of months ago, our 15-year old granddaughter,…

Mediation can be an intense experience for parties and their advisers. Often there is a lot on the line. In the substance there may be money, control, reputation, pride. In the process, there are challenges such as influencing other parties, getting the best deal possible, making well-informed judgment calls about risk, developing effective offers, and…

  Kindergarten and conflict – Pre-school leadership in conflict resolution. Becoming a devoted Grandma has been a surprising and enriching learning experience for me. The early childhood teaching and learning regime in Australia (and across the world) is truly remarkable and is revolutionising how children engage with the world. An important element of this is…

This is the first in a short series of how parties and advisers can best deploy the “assets” at their disposal in a mediation. Naturally, it is written from my perspective as a mediator, and so I recognise that it may look different when you are representing one side in a mediation, rather than in…

“I hold to the idea that civility, understood as the willingness to engage in public discourse, is the first virtue of citizens.” Mark Kingwell, The World We Want: Restoring Citizenship in a Fractured Age, [Rowman & Littlefield, 2000] A recent email from a US-based group that specialises in facilitating public dialogues in difficult cases noted…

Bloomberg (not my usual reading fodder, I confess) carried an interesting piece a couple of months ago, entitled “Meet the Real Force Behind the Brexit Talks”. Yes, it was about Brexit (yawn) but it was about an unseen side of the negotiations. Opening with the line “In every negotiation the most important work is done…

“It was impossible to get a good conversation going; everybody was talking too much. ” Yogi Berra I use the word “odd” here in two of its meanings in English: odd as in occasional or sporadic; and odd as in strange, worthy of comment. This blog is a reflection on recent conversations observed or engaged…