This article considers issues of safety in mediation, with practical advice for all mediators to consider before, during, and after a mediation session to ensure participant and mediator safety.
(7/22/16)John Paul Lederach
John Paul Lederach describes discussing alternatives to violent conflict with groups who felt powerless and that violence was their only avenue of action. One method he uses is to ask them what violence has achieved historically.
(3/04/16)Aldo Civico, Bill Carmody
Every business person eventually runs into conflict. What you do next determines whether you advance forward or fall back.
(3/24/15)Benedetta Berti, Ariel Heifetz Knobel, Gary Mason
This study examines the internal process that led combatant groups in Northern Ireland, focusing on the Loyalist camp, to relinquish armed struggle as a viable strategy to accomplish their political goals. The study focuses on internal dynamics, i.e. intra-group negotiations and consensus- building mechanisms that Loyalist militant organisations employed to switch from violence to non-violence and from confrontation to engagement with their enemies.
(8/18/14)Jeff Thompson, Hugh M. McGowan, Ph.D.
Crisis and hostage incidents are known for being stressful, unpredictable, tense, anxiety-filled, and emotionally driven. Add to this volatile concoction is that these incidents often can involve violence that has been threatened or having already occurred. Amidst these chaotic incidents New York City Police Department hostage negotiators emerge to provide the antidote to the ensuing turbulence.
(12/03/13)Jeff Thompson, Lynne Kinnucan
What is destroyed most in high tension situations is trust, and without trust, things will break down very quickly. When they do, they are replaced by increased anxiety and confusion, destroying the participants’ ability to make good, long-term decisions. It is the negotiator’s presence that keeps the trust intact.
Collaborative conflict resolution requires a safe space for the conflict to exist. A hostile climate drives people underground, but curiosity, respect, and a willingness to be influenced encourage open communication.
Internal conflicts are endemic and natural to progressive political and social movements, in part because it is difficult to agree on how to define and change highly complex, volatile and evolving social problems. As a result, over time, different definitions of the problem and perceptions about the nature of those who defend and represent it result in radically different notions about what needs to be done to change it. This article helps to clarify definitions of conflict and people's goals for resolving it.
As we find ourselves satiated with the lurid details of the Boston Marathon Bombing, we notice the comic relief story: “Social Media Shows Support for Alleged Bomber’s Innocence." The temptation here is to either chuckle at Dzhokhar’s supporters’ refusal to accept the incursion of reality into their lives or express anger that there is any support at all for one who seems likely to have committed such an atrocity, and utilize this as an opportunity to allow ourselves to exclude these voices and belittle their message.
In a Washington Post article, the views of some well-regarded negotiation experts cast doubt on the quality and efficacy of the ongoing "fiscal cliff" negotiations between President Obama and Speaker Boehner, noting how much that process is at odds with the civil, rational, and principled model they purport to teach and claim is practiced in other contexts. It may, however, be their theory of negotiation that is insufficient, not only as applied to the political sphere, but in all negotiations, by failing to account for the predictable irrationality of people in decision-making.
Last Friday, mediators joined other citizens in the United States as they sat in shock and cried for the 26 people Adam Lanza killed in Sandy Hook, CT. Over the weekend, mediators hugged their children and friends, posted messages in Facebook, and called their families. On Monday, mediators commuted to work thinking, “What can we do”?
The conflict terrain of the last 30 years is an important backdrop to a complete appreciation of ADR Principles and Practice, Third Edition, by Henry Brown and Arthur Marriott, published by Sweet and Maxwell in 2011. The authors, both from the United Kingdom, demonstrate an appreciation for the vagaries of history and gritty realities of mediation, arbitration and conflict management practice garnered from many years of life and professional experience.
(3/06/11)Christopher C. Cooper
TSA screeners must have a toolbox full interpersonal conflict resolution skills. Their leader, Pistole, should lead by example. It seems to me that the best person to head the TSA is a seasoned street cop who knows the value of negotiation.
(7/05/10)Ronald S. Kraybill
I witnessed with alarm a recent ruling of the US Supreme Court regarding the U.S. PATRIOT Act. This Act makes it illegal to give support of any kind to groups listed by the US government as terrorist groups, even if the support is designed to end violence.
Should you be a private consultant or working for an NGO, e.g., Mediators Without Borders, Mercy Corps, or the Red Cross, who might dare to meet with, provide training in mediation, or suggest negotiation strategies that might encourage a nonviolent approach to any “designated” foreign “terrorist” organization, you can now be charged with the crime of “material support” in violation of the Federal Patriot Act of 2001.
(12/14/09)Luis Miguel Diaz
President Obama decided to send 30,000 troops to Afghanistan in the next six months and then begin pulling them out a year after. He overlooked negotiation and mediation as effective options to end the war. He insists on what does not function to humanly end a war: war intensification.
Few international incidents end with the successful finality and clarity as did the rescue of the Maerske ship Captain, Richard Phillips, from
the clutches of Somali pirates in mid April. Three clean kill shots
by U.S.Navy snipers settled the stand-off. Most people in the Western world felt relieved and good about the outcome. Maybe assassination was warranted. Clearly, piracy cannot be tolerated. However, the pursuit of both negotiation and assassination strategies at the same time is troublesome and may be costly in the longer term. If negotiation appears to be merely a pretext for snipers' to act, then will the trust essential for successful negotiations be lost in future negotiations?
(5/07/09)John Paul Lederach
John Paul Lederach explains that those who preach pacifism should put themselves in a context where the practice is most needed, not talk about it from a safe distance.
What is terrorism telling us? What are terrorists saying with their horrific deeds? What grievance do these voices express—justified or not?
Fighting has the edge over negotiation as the first inclination of most people when faced with conflict. Our human brain chemistry lubricates the preference for warfare and the use of force, while negotiation, by contrast, requires a willed, determined and conscious effort.
The prevalent view about negotiation with Hamas is to take a tough stance. This is an interview with former Israeli Foreign Minister Shlomo Ben-Ami who thinks otherwise. He thinks we can do business with Hamas and we can negotiate. Here are Mr. Ben-Ami's pertinent comments drawn from a debate between him and another expert on the Israeli-Palestinian history, Norman Finkelstein, sponsored by Democracy Now, and moderated by Amy Goodman on February 14, 2006.
We require improved understanding, not only of the conflict in politics, but the politics in conflict. As our world shrinks and our problems can no longer be solved except internationally, we need ways of revealing, even in seemingly ordinary, interpersonal conflicts, the larger issues that connect us across boundaries, and methods for resolving political conflicts that are sweeping, strategic, interest-based, and transformational. A clear, unambiguous reason for doing so occurred on September 11, 2001.
Bill is a source of inspiration for many and is undoubtedly one of the ‘unsung heroes’ of this profession. Bill, at 62, has spent much of his life dealing with the complexities of conflict. His courage to go into dangerous situations is found where peace and justice are absent. Bill places his words and actions where his heart lies and risks his life for his beliefs. While he may be afraid, he goes ‘on anyway’. How many people today are willing to face fear with the courage of a warrior armed with words instead of weapons?
A chilling wind is blowing. As I write it is sending shivers of fear through my body. These shivers make me profoundly aware of the terror our founding fathers had suffered, and why they held freedom of expression as bedrock for the democratic union they conceived.
(2/24/03)Joshua N. Weiss
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You can't negotiate with terrorists! You can't negotiate with rogue states
like Iraq and North Korea that would be rewarding their threatening and
bad behavior! You wouldn't negotiate with Hitler would you look what
happened to Chamberlain!