This article was originally posted during October of 2006.
That was a time when the Bush administration absolutely refused to talk with Iran. This outraged many Americans, including many mediators. Now, with the U.S. and Iran seriously talking, if not agreeing, it is appropriate and timely to wonder whether this example of “mediator activism,” now 9 years ago, may have played a small part in encouraging the negotiations that have come to take place.
Here is the original article:
There comes a time when even mediators will speak up. Mediators are conflict resolvers who help others to resolve conflict in a voluntary and constructive way. Mediators are normally quiet, priding themselves on their impartiality and neutrality. Now, however, over 75 of the world’s leading mediators have “had enough” according to Mediate.com CEO Jim Melamed, and have signed a statement urging that community, national and global leaders engage effective negotiation and mediation approaches.
Here is the text of the Mediators’ Statement developed at the recent Senior Mediators Conference in Keystone, Colorado:
Given that the world is confronted with real and perceived threats from several international arenas we, the undersigned, urge that citizens of our nations insist their elected and appointed government officials immediately engage in honest, direct and unconditional negotiations with all authorities and powers who can resolve these pending crises in ways that are equitable and practical for all concerned without sacrifice to national sovereignty or security. As citizens of the world and as professional negotiators and mediators we urge that proven conflict resolution processes be employed now.
Along with Mediate.com’s release of the Keystone Conference Mediators’ Statement, William Lincoln stated, “The Mediators’ Statement is crisp, non-accusatory and non-political — it’s just an honest statement asking for direct negotiations and mediated negotiations in every sector.” Lincoln added that, “Permitting ‘the spirit of compromise’ to be the motivating force for coming to the table is the wrong impetus. Converting real and potential conflict into mutual challenges is the correct and most productive mindset. A constructive negotiation attitude is more important than tricks and tactics and certainly a better approach than war.”
Adapted from an address to the annual conference of the Arbitrators and Mediators Institute of New Zealand in July 2015. A revised version of a keynote address given to the...By John Sturrock