In this post I want to talk about an important thread that is emerging in the science of the twenty-first century. It is the finding that we are all interconnected, that we are porous beings with the ability to influence not only ourselves but one another in ways not previously contemplated. What we previously knew…

This week the 5th World Summit on Elder Mediation is taking place in Glasgow: see http://www.eldermediation.ca/styled-2/index.html. It is an inspiring gathering, bringing together mediators from Canada, Ireland, Spain, Switzerland, England and Scotland, all committed to helping older people deal with conflict in a way that is humane and just. The range of issues is daunting…

I have in previous posts referred to the distinction between direct and indirect forms of communication. Mediators will certainly have encountered these forms of communication before. Without seeking to offer a comprehensive or technical definition of what direct and indirect communication is, I would like to share some thoughts on this topic. First, it is…

It is often said that listening is one of a mediator’s core skills. At the same time the parties’ ability to listen to each other is equally important. Where parties’ communication has broken down to such an extent that they are unable to really hear what each other is saying, mediators can step in and…

For students of South-East Asian political struggles (come on, you know you are out there!) last month marked an important landmark. The Government of the Republic of the Philippines and the Moro National Liberation Front signed an historic peace agreement intended to bring an end to 25 years of violent conflict. Of course, this is…

I was recently given an extraordinary birthday present: a day at the Nick Nairn Cook School (www.nicknairncookschool.com). Nick Nairn is one of Scotland’s most famous celebrity chefs, known for his respect for traditional Scottish fare, and as something of a foody I couldn’t think of a better way to spend a Saturday. I wasn’t disappointed….

I recently came across a new word – new to me, at least, which was irritating because I pride myself on having a pretty good vocabulary. The word is “Chaordic”. To quote Wikipedia, “The portmanteau chaordic refers to a system of governance that blends characteristics of chaos and order”. The term was apparently coined in…

In mediation, the art of the mediator is to lead the mediation participants to the best possible solution of their conflict, based on their underlying interests. It is the art of seduction to shift the focus from their points of view and desired outcomes to interests, and also from the escalation-driven wish to “win” and…