In 1933 Alfred Korzybski wrote: “A map is not the territory it represents, but, if correct, it has a similar structure to the territory, which accounts for its usefulness.” More recently (2006), James Robertson wrote (to reference him once again, this time from ‘The Testament of Gideon Mack’): “We trust in maps because when we…

While I am watching hailstones the size of peas fall in the West of Ireland, a good number of my colleagues are celebrating the culmination of the ICC’s Mediation Competition in Paris, where in excess of 60 teams of mediators and negotiators compete to resolve disputes through mediation. The relevance of this to today’s blog…

More than 1,400 years ago, Japan codified Confucian and Buddhist approaches to governing in Prince Shotoku’s Constitution, whose first article provides that “[h]armony should be valued, and quarrels should be avoided.” The underlying principle, wa (harmony), was promoted and reflected in the fabric of Japanese society and may have contributed to a persistent preference for…

This post is based on the research of two professional communities – mediators and dialogue facilitators – in Ukraine (see the research article) and poses a few preliminary questions that require deeper thinking and more research. Although the fieldwork for my article was done in Ukraine, I was told that similar developments are also noticeable…

At the start of another year, it can be useful to conduct a bit of a personal stock-take. What holds us back from achieving all we could this year? How many of us suffer from silent self-doubt? How many of us would admit to feelings of inadequacy, anxiety and uncertainty about what we do? Far…

Mediation existed in the Middle East hundreds of years ago. In fact, the notion of deferring to a neutral and objective third-party for a decision towards the resolution of a dispute is well steeped in Arabic/Islamic traditions. For example, one of the most famous stories of Prophet Muhammad’s early life is that of him being…

For many student mediators across the globe, the start of the new year will bring the final stages of their preparation for two mediation competitions. Next week, the Lex Infinitum competition will be held at V. M. Salgaocar College of Law, Goa, followed, in February, by the ICC Mediation Week in Paris. Now in its…

Over the Christmas break, I had the pleasure of reading Ken Newell’s memoirs, “Captured by a Vision”. Ken was (until his retirement some years ago) a Presbyterian Church minister in Northern Ireland who, out of deeply held conviction arising out of his Christian faith, played a central role in bringing together representatives of both sides…

It was a comment made a few months ago and it has stayed with me: “But Anna, mediators are all tree-huggers.” There have been many variants of this type in response to my answer to the very English question: “So, what do you do?” These comments continue to irk me. Finally, as this year draws…

As the year comes to an end, I am expanding upon a story to which I referred in a previous blog, in the hope that it may provide a couple of useful reminders of what we do as mediators. I had eaten a chicken curry rather hastily at the hotel where I had been mediating…