The former British politician (and leadership contender when the Conservative Party was choosing Boris Johnson), Rory Stewart, is making a mark as an even more independent thinker than he was in the British Parliament. Recently, he hosted a three-part series on BBC Radio 4 entitled A Long History of Argument. It is worth listening to…

Below was a conversation between two Chinese philosophers, namely, Huizi (“Hui”) and Zhuangzi (“Zhuang”) on the Joy of Fish when they were strolling on a bridge over River Hao more than two thousand two hundred years ago.   Zhuang :    That minnow swims leisurely and it must be joyful. Hui        :   You…

To what extent do we have control over our future? There is a lively debate among philosophers, neuroscientists and others (summarised in an article by Oliver Burkman) about the degree to which free will exists, or whether what happens to us is predetermined by what has gone before. Burkman concludes his article with the reminder that:…

What mediators do with words

‘The world is made, not found’ (W. Barnett Pearce) (1) I just spent an intensive weekend on Zoom with my students, helping them navigate their early steps into mediation practice. So much has changed. I have never met most of them face to face; we sit at home on our screens; there are no coffee…

Forced into quarantine due to COVID-19, thousands of miles away from home; I have struggled with silence, but eventually made peace with it, thanks to my Jesuit upbringing. Over a decade ago, as a Jesuit novice, I ventured on a reflective journey called the ‘Spiritual Exercises’ – a month-long retreat that is the hallmark of…

I was first introduced to Kluwer Mediation Blog by Professor Joel Lee of the National University of Singapore when he shared “A Mediator’s Prayer” in his July 2014 blog entry. Joel is no stranger here. He is not only a prominent mediator but also a Chinese martial arts master. Joel practises and teaches Wing Chun –…

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…

I had planned, indeed had partly written, the usual form of blog for this month. It was to be a further comment on access to dispute resolution and justice, picking up on Zbynek Loebl’s recent blog on developments in ODR, and my own recent participation in a Forum on digital inclusion, hosted by the Department…

At a certain point, when another offer was denied, one of the managers showed a real disappointment with the hard negotiation approach presented by the other party: “You know what?! I lost my patience. I will not sit here any further… I will ask my lawyer to finish the formalities and let’s see each other…

“What’s the point?” asked the preacher, rhetorically. “Vanity of vanities, all is vanity” was his text, taken from Ecclesiastes, an Old Testament book apparently attributed to Solomon, whose wisdom we have all heard about over the years. The child and two women each laying claim to being the mother – and all that. What profit…