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<xTITLE>Time for a National Mediation Policy Act!</xTITLE>

Time for a National Mediation Policy Act!

by Jim Melamed
April 2019 Jim Melamed
Please join Mediate.com in our efforts to set America on a healing and optimizing path by promoting the "National Mediation Policy Act." This Act declares a national policy favoring capable mediation over disputes being litigated or remaining unresolved.

Here is the key draft policy text:

“It is the policy of the United States that, when two or more individuals or entities are in protracted dispute, it is preferable that such disputants actively take part in solution-seeking mediation, rather than allowing the dispute to remain unresolved or result in unnecessary and costly litigation, continued conflict, and elevated risk of violence.”
Mediate.com is leading this charge in 3 ways:

1. Seeking Co-Sponsoring National, State and Local Organizations for the National Mediation Policy Act;

2. Asking All 2020 Presidential Candidates whether they support the National Mediation Policy Act (and for comments); and

3. Seeking individual support for the Act through this Petition In Support of National Mediation Act.


Article: Time for a National Mediation Policy Act!

by Jim Melamed, CEO Mediate.com

Whether it is the current polarized American political discourse challenging environmental and economic challenges or issues within our own personal lives, one wonders what is “the answer?” How can we capably move forward when it seems that every issue is presented and considered in a polarized, cynical debate? What are our options here? What might be the most capable way of our society addressing the ever-increasing number of complex challenges that face our society and each of us individually as we move forward?

One answer is a National Mediation Policy Act. This Act would not require anyone to do anything. That is one of the great qualities about mediation, it is always voluntary (also confidential)! What the National Mediation Policy Act would do, as a part of all of our ongoing efforts to "create a more perfect union", is express a national policy preference that people in dispute should have the opportunity to be assisted by quality mediation to most capably, economically and efficiently resolve disputes. The National Mediation Policy Act says that it is better that disputants be assisted by an impartial mediator than to have a dispute result in expensive and burdensome litigation or the dispute remain unresolved.

This concept of "bringing mediation to the masses" is ever more realistic and vital. Despite the current political climate, mediation has been growing in America and globally for decades. Organizations such as Mediate.com, the National Association for Community Mediation (NAFCM), the Association for Conflict Resolution (ACR), and the Academy of Professional Family Mediators (APFM) have been leading the way in making mediation a part of everyday life in America. It is now time to recognize this societal shift in how we best resolve disputes and embrace mediation as a national policy preference. Importantly, the increasing use of online mediation is now providing access to valuable online mediation services. A mediator is now available to each of us simply by reaching into our pocket or purse and grabbing our "phone."

Most capable conflict resolution and problem-solving conversations do not happen on their own. What too often happens is grandstanding, vitriolic accusations between “us” and “them,” and a continued fraying of our social fabric. Our current social and political contentiousness, including “hate of others,” will not cure itself, particularly when our political leaders are perhaps most guilty of riling up the masses for selfish perceived political gain.

What we as a society need is a new kind of leadership, one that recognizes that the one and only way we can most capably resolve the many daunting issues facing our society, the world and us as individuals is an agreed-upon process that supports all sides most effectively “saying our piece” and, critically, also “listening to the other side.” When these twin abilities of both most capably expressing our own view and also most capably listening to the other side are combined in a safe and respectful environment, true progress can and will be made, whether the issues are within our immediate family, our workplace, or our greater national and international communities.

And thus, while we all know that, “Rome was not built in a day,” it is also true that “the longest journey begins with but a single step.” Hence, set against the polarized and challenging social context that we currently face, our answer for the future has never been more clear: We as a society need to recommit to the value of most capable conversations. It is only through most capable conversations that we and our planet have a chance of surviving and thriving.

Unfortunately, these needed most capable conversations will not happen on their own in the current polarized political and social climate. These conversations, if they are to happen, require new leadership to ensure that all involved have a full chance to speak, to listen and to resolve. Decades of mediation work have shown that It is only when each side has the experience of being fully heard that an openness to new solutions and new, better relations can emerge.

It is thus on these bases that Mediate.com and the broader mediation and conflict resolution communities are calling for each 2020 Presidential candidate to declare their support for a “National Mediation Policy Act.” The Act can be very simple. It is suggested that a first National Mediation Policy Act might be a simple and elegant policy statement along the lines of the following:

“It is the policy of the United States that, when two or more individuals or entities are in protracted dispute, it is preferable that such disputants actively take part in solution-seeking mediation, rather than allowing the dispute to remain unresolved or result in unnecessary and costly litigation, continued conflict, and elevated risk of violence.”
And so, paradoxically, it is out of our darkest politics that there can now emerge a critical recognition of the opportunity for our country and for the world to “see the light” and now embrace most capable mediated conflict resolution and problem-solving discussions for our personal, national and global survival.

Please now join Mediate.com in recognizing the importance of mediation and of promoting a National Mediation Policy Act by completing this form asking each 2020 Presidential candidate to support a National Mediation Policy Act. We will then be in touch with suggested next steps for our making a 2020 National Mediation Policy Act a reality. This is the shift in social and civic consciousness, American exceptionalism, and American leadership that we and the world now need. Please join us!

Biography


Jim Melamed co-founded Mediate.com in 1996 and has served as CEO of Mediate.com ever since.  Mediate.com received the American Bar Association's 2010 Institutional Problem Solver Award.

Before Mediate.com, Jim founded The Mediation Center in Eugene, Oregon in 1983 and served as Executive Director of the Academy of Family Mediators (AFM) from 1987 to 1993. Jim was also the first President and Executive Director of the Oregon Mediation Association (1985-86).

Jim's undergraduate degree is in in psychology from Stanford University and his law degree is from the University of Oregon.

Jim has received the following awards: The Oregon Mediation Association's 2003 Award for Excellence; The Oregon State Bar's 2006 Sidney Lezak Award of Excellence; The Association for Conflict Resolution (ACR) 2007 John Haynes Distinguished Mediator Award; The 2012 Academy of Professional Family Mediators (APFM) "Getting To Yes" Award; and The APFM's first APFM Outstanding Mediator Award (2018).



Additional articles by Jim Melamed