I have been musing about what a mediator might say to President Putin given the opportunity. That led me to compose a letter a few weeks ago, with which I have since tinkered. This is merely a thought experiment. The letter goes something like this: “Dear President Putin I write as a mediator, a peacemaker….

One of the great joys of being part of the world-wide mediation community is the  opportunity to learn and keep learning from professionals whose practice is far from homogeneous. The generosity in sharing thoughts, ideas and even intellectual property is remarkable. Despite this, there is still a lot about the practice of mediation that is…

Lawyer making opening statement in mediation

“The world is made, not found.” (W Barnet Pearce) I had been a mediator for about 10 years before I heard parties’ initial words described as their “opening statement.” This may surprise some readers, though probably not if they began, like me, in family mediation, nor community or workplace. Other descriptions are available, as our…

  The Daily Blogpost from the Harvard Program on Negotiation (PON) is always a great way to start the day. A quick read, it often turns something that I have been processing at the back of my mind into a more solid idea I can inspect and explore. This week, a particularly relevant post about…

On the first day of this year the international mediation community lost a wonderful friend and colleague. The memorial page established by his family shows just how wide and deep the affection reaches. He provided memorable experiences to so many of us. And whilst we both certainly remember (and enjoyed) his joie de vivre, the…

At this time of year, it is good to reflect, to look back, and also to look forward. This is not always easy as we sense the clutter and complexity of life crowding in on us. I have had the uneasy experience in the past few weeks of clearing out the Core office, our administrative…

A mediation ended without amicable agreement. The parties had reached that understanding only. It had taken several sessions over several weeks, with plenty of recrimination about the past that further damaged already damaged relationships. At least there was clarity. The consequences were clear too. It was not the preferred solution. What did this do with…

Setting the scene Having participated in mediations only as a mediator, trying to be polite and respectful while appearing to be confident when actually terrified, I recently found myself participating in a mediation as a supporter of one of the parties, a friend of mine in a difficult situation. Engaging with the mediator The mediator…

Professor A.C. Grayling, an Oxford don, has recently published The Frontiers of Knowledge.[1] According to Professor Grayling, the more humankind knows, the more we realise the limits of our knowledge. Grayling identifies twelve problems confronting scientific enquiry which he says stand in the way of increased knowledge. These problems can equally apply, in their own…

Negotiators in a mediation

It’s been a while since I wrote about practical tips for mediators. Yet when I ask people what they want from training or teaching the commonest answer is… practical tips. I offer some below on working with parties who take cold feet just as resolution is approaching. I was recently asked to speak with lawyers…