So much to blog about this month. We had a really great time in Edinburgh with Ken Cloke recently. Ken kindly agreed to be our first Patron for Collaborative Scotland.  We held an event in the Scottish Parliament for leaders of civic Scotland and a number of members of the Scottish Parliament, many of whom,…

I am travelling back from a couple of days in and around Dublin, discussing an initiative on respectful political dialogue with politicians, academics and conflict resolution professionals. It was a privilege to spend time at Glencree, the centre for peace and reconciliation which was one of those places where so much was done in recent…

About twelve months ago, I reluctantly attended a seminar in a classy hotel in London. A friend had encouraged me to go. I turned up rather late, missing the networking breakfast. I got my iPad out and got on with my emails as the speaker launched into his presentation. I was fairly sure I would…

(This is a ‘letter to self’ about court ADR research sent from the American Bar Association Dispute Resolution Conference, San Francisco, April 2017.) Do Litigants Know Their Options? It’s always fascinating to come to a country where mediation is business as usual. There are some downsides to this, but the upside that immediately strikes a…

Students demonstrating cooperation

Morton Deutsch, the great social psychologist of common sense, explained the difference between competition and cooperation thus: “if you’re positively linked with another, then you sink or swim together; with negative linkage, if the other sinks, you swim, and if the other swims, you sink.”1)Cooperation and Competition. In M. Deutsch, P. T. Coleman, & E….

I am at my desk, an hour after the conclusion of a really fascinating event here in Edinburgh, in which my colleague, Charlie Woods, and I acted as mediators in a simulation of a mediated process involving 10 delegations representing different interests in the current Brexit negotiations. With over 50 participants, allocated randomly to one…

“Doubt is not a pleasant condition but certainty is an absurd one.” These words of Voltaire are as apt today as they were when he wrote them in the 18th century. I don’t know about you but this year seems to be a curious mixture where some people purport to deal in apparent certainties, which…

John and David Sturrock 1. Introduction Several years ago, while travelling back with my son David to Oxford where he was studying as an undergraduate, we discussed my work as a mediator and his study of economics, particularly the learning for us both from Game Theory. I (John) had been familiar with The Prisoners’ Dilemma…

“I often draw strength from meeting ordinary people doing extraordinary things … their lives frequently embody a truth expressed by Mother Teresa, from this year Saint Teresa of Calcutta. She once said: ‘Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love’. But even with the inspiration of…

Sometimes we have to ask probing questions. Does mediation do any good? Does it make the world a better place? Is there more or less peace in our societies because of our work? This sort of research question exercises scholars and academics, but practitioners too want to believe their work makes a difference. A related…