Readers of the Kluwer Mediation Blog may notice that the first batch of blog entries of Kluwer Mediation Blog (KMB) were posted by Michael Mcllwrath, Michael Leathes, Geoff Sharp, Ales Zalar with Eleanor Taylor writing a welcome note on behalf of Kluwer Law International and the Introductory Post from the Co-Editors (Introductory Post) by Bill Marsh and Nadja Alexander on 1 September 2011. With the passage of time, KMB turned 10 last month.
This blog entry has three parts. The first part contains my observations on some of the interesting facts about KMB. The second part is my journey from a reader to a contributor. I end this blog entry with some closing remarks.
Up to 1 October 2021, a total number of 1,193 blog entries have been posted by 157 authors (some in the capacity as co-authors). Some of these authors are KMB contributors while others are guest authors. Out of the 157 authors, 97 had posted 1 blog entry, 37 posted 2-10 blog entries, 14 posted 11-50 blog entries. Only 9 authors who are also contributors have published more than 50 posts. Readers may be pleased to note that Joel Lee is the champion author as he has so far contributed the highest number of posts – 82 posts.
At present, KMB has 26 contributors (including the editorial team members) with 3 based in Americas, 5 based in Asia, 7 based in Europe, 5 based in Oceania and 6 based in the United Kingdom. The division may not be entirely accurate as some of them are international mediators and they travel all over the world to provide mediation services from time to time.
My journey from a reader to a contributor
Although I shall be celebrating my pearl anniversary of my legal practice later this month, I only started to practise as a professional mediator in April 2010, about a year and a half before the birth of KMB.
In the early 2010s, mediation was less popular not only in Hong Kong but also in other parts of the world. Mediation trainers, though being helpful, had to fly to different cities to teach. Given their tight schedules, junior mediation practitioners found it hard to get hold of them to discuss mediation issues. As pointed out by Jeremy Gormly in his 5 September 2011 KMB blog entry “It must be rare for a mediator to be able to manage the obvious confidentiality issues and ring one another for advice during the mediation. I have not heard of that happening.”, authors of KMB were then my informal mentors and their posts were sources of inspiration for my practice.
My relationship with KMB came slightly closer when Joel Lee featured “A Mediator’s Prayer” on 14 July 2014 and Nadja Alexander featured “SETTLEMNT – A Mediator’s Prayer” on 12 October 2014. When I wrote the prayers, I was in fact going through a process of organising my thoughts and internalising my skills in preparation of my professional mediation sessions. I did not expect my very generous mediation friends would share the prayers on KMB. The idea of sharing my humble mediation thoughts and experiences on KMB came to my mind after reading their blog entries relating to my prayers.
My first blog entry was published on 12 September 2017. Between 2018 and 2019, 5 of my blog entries had been published. I am indebted to Anna Howard, who was then KMB’s associate editor. With great patience and kindness, Anna read each of my blog entries and shared her learned comments with me. I am particularly grateful to Anna for her generosity amid her busy schedule as she was then working on her PhD thesis and her book.
With the permission of the editorial team, I started to be a KMB contributor on 2 September 2020. I am supposed to come up with 6 blog entries a year at the interval of two months. KMB has provided me with a platform to share topics which I think are of interest to the others. As a contributor, I am conscious to understand mediation and related issues deeper so that I may share such issues on KMB. The platform has also provided me with opportunities to meet mediation giants or policymakers in Hong Kong through the various interviews. Apart from the gain, there are occasions of pain especially when my brain suffers from “temporary constipation” or when I am snowed under with work. I start to feel quite stressed out when the deadline is getting closer and closer.
It is my dream that one day, some of the KMB blog entries will be translated into Chinese or other languages so that non-English speaking mediation practitioners will benefit from the posts.
By drawing readers’ attention of the 10th anniversary of KMB, I have also shared with readers how I started, like most of you, as a reader and have subsequently joined the league of contributors.
Practising mediation and blog writing may be perceived as two separate and unrelated activities. To me, they are related. The commitment to write makes a mediator more conscious of the various issues of mediation practice. It also prompts a mediator to read more on subjects such as neuroscience, psychology, international law, etc., which are related to mediation practice. It is my belief that practising mediators should be encouraged to write and the writing journey is an excellent opportunity of self-reflection which will have positive impact on the mediators themselves. From my experience, although the process is mixed with pain and joy, it is certainly one worth going through.
Kudos to the veteran contributors who keep on writing to promote mediation and share with the fellow practitioners unselfishly and the editorial team. Everyone has been doing this for the higher goal of collective benefits.
As Bill Marsh shared on his Introductory Post that “One of the great satisfactions and challenges of the mediation field is its variety” and KMB is about “exchanging a rich variety of views on all mediation issues”. He ended the Introductory Post by saying that “Whether you are a full-time or first-time mediator, a regular or reluctant client, a policy-maker, lawyer, judge, trainer, academic, or just vaguely interested, we hope you will join in the debate.”
Please continue to support KMB no matter whether you are readers, guest authors or contributors.
Looking forward to a big party when KMB reaches 18.