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The Future of ADR: Professionalization, Spirituality, and the Internet

by Geoff Sharp

From the blog mediator blah...blah...

Geoff Sharp

In this summer's ABA Dispute Resolution Magazine just out, mediation visionary David Hoffman takes the long view of our collective future in an article titled The Future of ADR: Professionalization, Spirituality, and the Internet.

His conclusion?

'The challenges – both the problems and the opportunities – that lie ahead are formidable and exhilarating. Are these challenges related? I think they are. The computer operating systems that have become a dominant feature of our lives and an increasingly important component of our work are dramatically expanding the horizons of our outreach to others, and will enable dispute resolvers to work on a global scale. Meanwhile, advances in neuroscience are deepening our understanding of the finest calibrations of our internal operating systems, and will enhance our ability to connect with the parties that we work with. The accelerating pace of change – both outward directed and inner directed -- could make it that much harder, but all the more necessary, to develop, from pockets of increasingly specialized ADR expertise, a methodology for identifying best practices and creating a true profession'[read more]

And at the risk of tooting this blog's horn, David's article footnotes a blah...blah post on spirituality in mediation and a typically erudite comment by Diane Levin that starts off 'As an atheist, I personally have little use for or interest in getting in touch with the so-called spiritual aspect of conflict'

Want to know more about David Hoffman? Read New England ACR's recent profile 10 Questions for David Hoffman.

Also see Hoffman's 2008 article Colliding Worlds of Dispute Resolution: Towards a Unified Field Theory of ADR published in the Journal of Dispute Resolution.


Geoff Sharp is a Commercial Mediator from Wellington, New Zealand. Geoff works in the Asia Pacific region, including New Zealand, Malaysia, Thailand and Pacific Islands. He is a mediator resolving business problems. He is a fellow of the International Academy of Mediators and mediates complex and hotly debated litigation covering a wide range of subject matter from insurance disputes to historic sexual abuse claims.

Geoff is author of the award winning blog mediator blah...blah... a mediation blog experiment in reflective practice and the Mediation vBlog Project, a kind of mediation genome project by video blog.

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Additional articles by Geoff Sharp