Joseph Folger is a Professor of Adult and Organizational Development at Temple University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He is co-founder and current Board President of The Institute for the Study of Conflict Transformation. His work at the Institute has included assisting with the design and delivery of the United States Postal Service REDRESS mediation program, as well as conducting assessment and benchmarking research for numerous organizations and mediation agencies. He has worked extensively as a third party intervener in organizational, community, court and small group disputes. He is also the co-founder of Temple University’s Conflict Education Resource Team – a peer mediation program for Temple University students.
Dr. Folger has been an advisory board member for the National Conference on Peacemaking and Conflict Resolution and was the Program Chair for the conference. He has delivered keynote addresses at conferences held by the Academy of Family Mediators, Mediation UK, Mediator’s Institute of Ireland, National Mediation Conference of Australia, Universal Forum of Cultures - Barcelona Spain, Congreso Mundial de Mediación and the Congreso International de Mediación, the Rakmo Institute of Slovenia, and IMAB in Sao Paulo Brazil. He won the Peacebuilder of the Year award from the New York State Dispute Resolution Association in 2006.
Professor Folger has published extensively in the areas of communication, conflict, mediation, and third party intervention processes. His books include the award winning volumes, Working Through Conflict: Strategies for Relationships, Groups and Organizations (7th edition, with M.S. Poole and R.K. Stutman) and The Promise of Mediation (with R. Bush, 1st and 2nd editions). He edited (with R.Bush) Designing Mediation: Approaches to Training and Practice within the Transformative Framework and most recently he edited (with R. Bush and D. DellaNoce) Transformative Mediation: A Sourcebook -- Resources for Conflict Intervention Practitioners and Programs.
Contact Joseph P. Folger
Interview with Joe Folger
This is the complete interview by Robert Benjamin with Professor Joe Folger, co-author of "The Promise of Mediation" and one of the leaders of "transformational mediation," filmed as part of Mediate.com's 'Views from the Eye of the Storm' Series.
Pioneer Series: Transformative Mediation for all Cases? - Video
Joe Folger believes that the purpose of mediation is to give people voice and choice and moments of recognition are powerful and just as important as getting settlement.
Place Self-Determination at the Center
“We are asking our mediation friends and colleagues to redeem the pledge to place self-determination at the center of this unique and precious process. Mediation could be a jewel in democratic cultures that reject elitist pretensions and instead maintain that the common ordinary citizen is not common at all, but truly extraordinary, capable of both great strength and great compassion, powers that surface from within and need not be supplied from without. Mediation expresses that democratic ethic perfectly.” Read Joe's and Robert's article here.
Reclaiming Mediation’s Future: Getting Over the Intoxication of Expertise, Re-Focusing on Party Self-Determination
For us and the colleagues we’ve worked with for many years, our first premise has always been that self-determination, or what we call empowerment, is the central and supreme value of mediation – a premise probably shared by many in the field. This is what we were struck by when we began, and believed was uniquely served by mediation. We believe in the value of upholding party choice, and we also believe that increasing understanding, reaching sustainable resolution, and other goals all rest on the foundation of genuine party self-determination. At this point in the evolution of mediation, the question in our view is, what has happened to the mediator’s mission of supporting self-determination?
Joe Folger: Ideas for Mediation Training - Video
Joe Folger feels that an important aspect of mediation training is to impress upon the participants that as mediators they will have influence on the disputants and to make conscious choices about what kind of influence they want to have and to be clear about their ideological principles behind these choices.
Joe Folger: Conflict in the Field - Video
The most widely used mediation model places an emphasis on helping people find common ground. His model is different. Transformative mediation is about supporting people in their differences if that is what people want. This has created an ideological clash in the field.
Joe Folger: Mediation is Not Ideologically Free - Video
Joseph Folger talks about how most mediators do not examine the underlying assumptions of their practices to inquire about why they are using certain techniques, or the values and beliefs that are the root of their practice. He argues that mediation is not ideologically free.
Joe Folger: Background in Communication - Video
Joseph Folger describes his early experiences in the field of mediation.
Joe Folger: Why People Use Mediation - Video
From his perspective, Joe Folger says that the purpose of mediation is to facilitate the transformation of the quality of the communication so that people can make the decisions that they need to make.
Joe Folger: Perspectives on the Purpose of Mediation - Video
Joseph Folger talks about the differing perspectives on the purpose of mediation within the field and the roots of these different ideological orientations.
Joseph Folger: Empowering Parties to Make Choices - Video
Joseph Folger discusses how the purpose of mediation is to come to new understanding, not necessarily agreement. The focus should be to empower people through facilitated communication to get clear about their choices.
Diverse Organizations and the Evolution of the Mediation Field
Five years ago I was a founder of an organization that illustrates how I see the mediation field evolving. The Institute for the Study of Conflict Transformation was created in 1999 to provide resources and assistance for those using the transformative approach to conflict intervention. It emerged from the network of practitioners and researchers who expressed interest in developing the transformative framework shortly after the publication of The Promise of Mediation.