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Mediation: The Greeks Have a Word for It

by Katherine Triantafillou
March 2014 Katherine Triantafillou

Mediators are fond of pointing out the transformative effects of successful mediation in the world of peacebuilding and so it is with the formation of a new center providing services to working class communities in Greece.  In fact, the group of facilitators bringing the center to life call themselves “Team Metaplasis,” meaning “transformation” in Greek.

Following an extensive training by a team of trainers from Mediators Beyond Borders International (MBBI) Team Metaplasis has begun to create a multi-space Community Dialogue and Conflict Resolution Center in a Greek working-class neighborhood. The goal of the Center is to help relieve the ever increasing tensions brought about by the current economic and social conditions of Greece.  The Metaplasis facilitators envision a physical space where community members feel safe to peacefully discuss their conflicts and to collaborate to solve community problems.

“Greece,” says team leader Mrs. Dimitra Gavriil, “is at a tipping point, and we must act to achieve synergy with our community to move forward together. We will begin in Athens and work our way into every community throughout Greece.”

In addition to establishing a permanent presence in Athens, Team Metaplasis will offer seminars, forums and training in conflict resolution, restorative justice and public dialogues geared toward community problem solving. It is the hope of founding team members that these programs will help transform community frustration and despair into positive relationships among neighbors, immigrants community organizations, local officials and businesses.

            The project has enormous potential to help revitalize a distressed community and serve as a model civil society institution for all of Greece.  MBBI team members, with extensive experience working with and conducting training for community mediation centers, are partnering with Team Metaplasis as they move forward to create their Center.  

“We are excited to be working with Team Metaplasis,” said Kenneth Cloke, JD, LLM, PhD, President Emeritus of Mediators Beyond Borders and lead dialogue trainer for the Athens Migration Dialogue Project, the program from which Metaplasis sprang. “Regeneration of community requires the creation of a new culture based on collaboration, compassion and respect for differences” continued Cloke, “and the Community Dialogue and Conflict Resolution Center will be at the forefront of these efforts to transform Greece.”

Mediators Beyond Borders International is a non-profit organization based in Arlington, Virginia. The organization is comprised of volunteers throughout the world dedicated to building a more “peace-able” world. In addition to the Athens Dialogue Project, the organization currently has mediation programs in Columbia, Ecuador, Israel, Kenya, Liberia, Nepal and Sierra-Leone.

Biography


Katherine Triantafillou is a lawyer/mediator in Boston and Edgartown, Massachusetts, diversity trainer and volunteer with Mediators Beyond Borders International Dialogue Process Project.



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