“The ground is so wet; it wasn’t like this in the past. We can’t get started on this year’s soil preparation.” In a recent mediation involving farmers, this was the response to my early inquiry about how things were going, generally. These days, I find that the topic of climate change and its effects arises,…

Two days ago I attended a birthday party – one of Germany’s most active consumer conciliation bodies celebrated its ten-year anniversary. There was an interesting panel discussion on the role of consumer conciliation in Germany and in Europe, particularly given that the European Union has attempted to promote this service through its DIRECTIVE 2013/11/EU on…

  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…

One of the most enjoyable aspects of the festive season is receiving and reading books that one might not have come across otherwise. This year, I have been enjoying two quite contrasting works of literature. The first is a Manual for Spectrum Agents (Haynes Publishing) providing “detailed information about the Spectrum organisation”, based on the…

If the natural resources of the planet and its capacity to cope with our waste are finite, is it reasonable for mediators to be encouraging people to search for positive sum solutions which can benefit all parties to a negotiation? If you can achieve a win-win in one case could it, on a global scale,…

Mediators should speak up confidently for mediation. In this post I will consider some reasons why this might be difficult, and others why it is so necessary. It is not only that mediation is not sufficiently known. It can also be intimidating, and it is our job to explain it. Shortly after I had finished…

Brings you down to buy a paper If you read between the lines No one seems to have the answer To living in these troubled times Still you try and you try And you do what you must do “Living in these troubled times” R. Cook, S. Hogin, P. Donnelly; sung by Maura O’Connell (amongst…

A couple of weeks ago I came across a poem by the Native American writer Joy Harjo, entitled “Conflict Resolution for Holy Beings.” The title made me curious, as might be expected for a mediator. You can find the whole poem online on the Poetry Foundation website, or you can buy the book of poems…

Values drive practice

(I first wrote about mediation’s values 12 years ago at the tail end of a Masters in Conflict Resolution and Mediation Studies.(1) Two years of study had convinced me that it is our values, rather than the techniques we learn, that tell us what to do and say when when mediating. The intervening years haven’t…

“For nobody would understand, And you kill what you fear, And you fear what you don’t understand.” Powerful words. As a progressive rock music aficionado, these lyrics taken from the song “Duke’s Travels” by my favourite band, Genesis, have often brought me up short as I listen to the album from which they come, 1980’s…