Global Voices Highlight: A Path to Mediation in the Middle East

Mediate.com is seeking to highlight younger mediators with unique paths in our field. Please enjoy this story of entry into the mediation field from one of our new mediators.

Most of the old generations in the Middle East witnessed arranged marriages, which escalated into disputes and conflicts afterwards due to the lack of love. The reason why I spent most of my childhood mediating between family members, friends, and neighbors so they can solve their issues, and reach collaborative solutions without knowing that this can be a profession one day. 

 I was fortunate enough to grow up in a family of Ministers, Judges, and Lawyers. I was more fortunate that my family was one of the few clean uncorrupted families in our country, that we ended up not being rich, but at the end of the day we have peaceful sleeps. My father's law firm in North Lebanon was the best regarding criminal law, which was the reason I wanted to join the Judiciary system and become the next General Prosecutor like my mother was and her uncle before her. 

I loved Criminal Law in theory (De jure), but did not love practicing it in real life (De Facto) because of its harshness. Someone is always going to end up severely unsatisfied. In addition to the fact that there's no undo button, nor can someone's condolences, or repentance help anymore. The consequences are not being grounded in your room, nor is it a time-out. It is rather bearing months or years without sleeping in your comfortable bed,  having your midnight cappuccino, or not even having your 2 hours hot bath tub. It is simply the nightmare of going to prison. Bullied, raped, humiliated, and beaten up. 

___________________

This isn't the case in the unseen spiritual life, where you can repent and start a new page. I always thought maybe we should negotiate the consequences, forgive, or find a collaborative solution. We're humans, and it is our human nature to make mistakes. The Prophet once said that  "all humankind are sinners, and the best of the sinners are the ones that repent". Acknowledging how I personally make a lot of mistakes, deep inside I didn't want to work in this field. 

One day I had a public debate in our criminal law class with our professor Judge Joseph, the President of the Criminal Supreme Court of Lebanon, and failed to convince him that preventive measures are better than sanctions or criminal penalties. He told me something that was carved inside me: "You should never be a Judge because you'll set all the criminals free". 

Continuing my family planned career I studied International Criminal Law with the Inter University Programme which combines more than 9 universities of the country, and had an internship with the International Transitional Justice Resource Center. After my success I was chosen for a study visit in The Hague for the best law Jurists in Lebanon, where I met Sasha, the Lebanese National Incharge at MediateGuru, an organization that spreads the education of settling disputes peacefully. Something the middle east desperately needs. Sasha introduced me to my dream Alternative in dispute resolution, Mediation. A method that can satisfy all parties, and can prevent collateral damages. I started attending intense workshops, lectures, and trainings with the organization. Until one day we had the chance to attend one of the greatest mediators' lectures Mrs. Susan, who was the co-chair of the dispute resolution section at the American Bar Association. Mrs. Susan invited me to join, in which I soon became a member of The mediation committee, and several other international dispute resolution Committees too.

Earlier that year my mom, along with several other state officials, was invited to attend the opening ceremony of The International Center for Dispute Resolution workshop. My mom was in Egypt and couldn't attend, the reason why she sent me to represent her since I was already in the area after judging the Oxford Monroe Price Media moot court prior one day. I met President Sayed who invited me to attend the trainings and join their organization. After a while I achieved Electronic litigation, information security and electronic arbitration, Arbitration in Maritime diplomatic disputes and General principles, and Arbitration rules Expert degree from the International Center for dispute resolution and from the Supreme Commission of Mediation and International Arbitration.

 

I've applied for the campus ambassador position at MediateGuru, but wasn't accepted, being overqualified. 

In the meantime I completed my Internship at UNESCO, International Center for Human Sciences in which our main mission was finding creative solutions and intellectuality after being recommended by Ms. Vanessa from the ITJRC.

While at UNESCO I met Judge Jad at the borders Negotiation conference, who recommended me to the National Commission for Lebanese Women, which most of its members were female mediators, and served between Lebanese Women and the Parliament. 

Before joining the NCLW I received a scholarship from the Lebanese Ministry of Social Affairs for a Specialization in Negotiation, Mediation and Conflict Resolution in France.

I was soon assigned an Honorary Position at MediateGuru as the Representative Advisor of Lebanon because of my strong Arabic and international connections, plus my high qualifications. At the organization, I trained students, mediators, and have Judged Mediation Competitions. 

___________

At the ABA, I was introduced to Judge Linda who invited me to the Human rights committee, where I was introduced to Mrs. Deena, Co-Chair of the Middle East Committee, who invited me in, and I was soon chosen as the vice chair for policy. 

After discussing issues concerning Turkey, we needed someone from the inside, so I surfed my networks until I was introduced to Dr. Vahit who was the Representative Advisor for Turkey. 

Dr. Vahit admired and appreciated my negotiating  skills, so he invited me to join Just&Fair Mediation Center which his daughter was the CEO of. Knowing that we speak 3 languages in Lebanon I was hired as an International Mediator representing the Arabic region. 

_____________________

After deeply analyzing my surroundings I came up to a conclusion that People in the Middle East have a tendency for revenge, the reason why they would prefer litigation or Arbitration over mediation. For some individuals acknowledgement, regrets, or compensation isn't enough. They would prefer hurting, destroying, and humiliating the other party. 

The reason why our mission of spreading peace in the Middle East, and the world relies now more than ever on promoting, marketing, and forcing mediation by laws for a better, safer, and more peaceful future for all. 

                        author

Mohamad Radwan Al Omar

Mohamad Radwan Al Omar is the Representative advisor of Lebanon at MediateGuru’s Global Advisory Board. Next year's Vice Chair of Policy for the Middle East Committee, International Law section of the American Bar Association.  Jurist, Lawyer, International Mediator, and member of The International Center for Dispute Resolution registered in London.  … MORE >

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