Sulha: Traditional Arab Dispute Resolution
by F. Peter Phillips
From the Business Conflict Blog of Peter Phillips.
Continuing with the series on models of conflict resolution that are not based on the parties’ interests, below is reproduced another chapter in a proposed book on alternatives to Western mediation methods. This one — the Arab practice of sulha – is centuries old, pre-dating even the Prophet, and its motivating considerations are an amalgam of the community’s desire for stability, aggrieved parties’ need for restored honor, and accused parties’ need for reconciliation and regaining face.
Vindicating individuals’ particular interests is nowhere to be found.
Arab Approaches to Conflict:
Where Honor and Respect Drive the Process
Western approaches to conflict contain assumptions (a) that conflict is inevitable, normal, and can lead to positive change within enterprises; (b) that conflict can be managed and resolved to the satisfaction of the disputants; (c) that the disputants’ rational assessment of interests and generation of alternatives can yield value-added outcomes; (d) that written and enforceable legal instruments are the ideal outcome of consensual conflict resolution processes; (e) that negotiation is best facilitated by a third party who is independent and neutral; (f) that the terms of the resolution are socially satisfactory if they are satisfactory to the disputants, and need not conform to the terms that a court might render; and (g) that the resolution process typically addresses the allocation of resources and risks as to which there are competing claims.
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F. Peter Phillips is a commercial arbitrator and mediator with substantial experience providing consultation on the management of business disputes to companies around the globe.
A cum laude graduate of Dartmouth College and a magna cum laude graduate of New York Law School, Mr. Phillips served for nearly ten years as Senior Vice President of the International Institute for Conflict Prevention and Resolution (CPR Institute). During that time, he earned a reputation as an author, teacher, industry liaison, and systems designer for the avoidance, management and resolution of complex and sophisticated business conflicts.
In 2008, Mr. Phillips formed Business Conflict Management LLC (BCM) in order to offer his direct services as a neutral and a consultant. Through BCM, Mr. Phillips also continues his career as a highly sought-after public speaker, facilitator and instructor.
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