Mediate.com has published a series of peer reviewed articles under the collective title Seven Keys to Unlock Mediation’s Golden Age. The objective of the Seven Keys is to encourage discussion among all stakeholders on navigating mediation’s best future. Here is the Table of Contents. For social media, please use: #7KeysMediate
The seven keys are: Leadership, Data, Education, Profession, Technology, Government and Usage. Each key has between two and four articles, each no more than 1,200 words in length, contributed by some 40 leading authors around the world.
Below, Professors Nadja Alexander and Lela P. Love introduce the series with “Imagine.”
The Seven Keys articles portray a variety of images and understandings of mediation. All recognize mediation’s extraordinary versatility. Some focus on resolving disputes; some on deal making; some on managing interpersonal disputes in families, communities, schools and the workplace with more of a relational focus; others are about peace-making between groups and nations and public policy decision-making. Some of these articles apply to all sectors of mediation practice while others focus on particular fields with a view to inspiring new adaptations and approaches in other areas. Each key is a jigsaw piece. Connected together, they form a vibrant, exciting vision of how the field can dramatically improve and prosper.
The 40 women and men from the mediation sphere around the world who have contributed to this work reflect many different backgrounds, experiences and cultures. We owe our gratitude to each contributor for succinctly sharing their proposals for how mediation can achieve its Golden Age. Each article has been peer reviewed by other contributors. We are also grateful to the extraordinary thought leaders who prepared the Introduction and Conclusion for their strong encouragement, deep perception and clear vision.
We pay tribute to all the contributors for agreeing that this work may be freely republished, either as individual articles or as a complete book, under the terms of the Creative Commons License below. As Seneca said over 2,000 years ago: the best ideas are common property.
by Nadja Alexander and Lela P. Love
“In order to change an existing imagined order,
we must first believe in an alternative imagined order”
Yuval Noah Harari Sapiens
A Brief History of Humankind (Ch. 6)
This work is not about best practice. It is about next practice.
Imagine corporate, political and community leaders empowering others with their mediative style and collaborative stance.
Imagine governments embracing mediation principles to frame their approach to domestic and international problem-solving and dealing making.
Imagine mediation being a necessary step before any form of civil litigation and arbitration —worldwide.
Imagine mediation being a cross-disciplinary, core education component at kindergartens, schools, universities and professional bodies, and mediating being perceived as a widely respected independent profession.
Imagine mediating with an earpiece that translates not what parties are saying but what they are actually feeling.
Imagine being stuck in a negotiation and with the click of a button being able to get practical and evidence-based information about how to get yourself out of deadlock.
Imagine epistemological worlds of dispute resolution, deal making, peacemaking, international relations, brain science and psychology deepening their capacities by engaging with one another on a scientific basis, rather than self-isolating or colliding.
Imagine adequate funding for and acceptance of collaboration as an approach to human problem solving.
All these imaginings and more are contained in the pages that follow – a collection of over 20 eclectic yet compellingly succinct and coherent essays, carefully curated to offer us Seven Keys to Unlock Mediation’s Golden Age.
Currently mediation finds itself in a fragmented age. Diverse disciplines make a claim to mediation; they include business, psychology, counselling, management, human resources, social sciences, political science and law, among others. As with all disciplines, they have their own theories, systems, literature, models, jargon, processes and practices and many mediation scholars remain within their own academic silos, resulting in a fragmentation of the field. More than that, the way mediation is practised draws boundaries around specific areas of practice, for example, family, commercial, investor-state, environmental, and peace mediation. Co-option of mediation into the legal or court space also ultimately leads to fragmentation, and to debates about what mediation is and isn’t and who can call themselves a mediator and who can’t. Fragmentation diminishes the value and power of mediation. It confuses users and inhibits cross-disciplinary collaboration and innovation. In an age of fragmentation, this work offers a path for integration and growth. Seven Keys to Unlock Mediation’s Golden Age introduces new innovation into mediation by seeking to develop understandings of the field that connect people, professions and perspectives. It pulls together disparate fragments from diverse mediation worlds and shapes them in new and holistic ways. In Seven Keys, the value of the whole is greater than the sum of its parts as it maps out a future not just for mediation but also for humanity.
Enjoy this work which comes to us thanks to the collaboration of some 40 leading voices from around the world. It can be read from cover to cover or by dipping in and out of its vast yet compact contents. Seven Keys is optimistic, grounded and most timely.
In the words of Irish poet and philosopher, John O’ Donohue, “Our trust in the future has lost its innocence. We know now that anything can happen from one minute to the next. Politics, religion, economics, and the institutions of family and community all have become abruptly unsure.” The 2020 Coronavirus pandemic reveals what huge challenges lie around each corner calling for our imagination and world-wide collaboration.
The worlds of mediation, peace-making, coaching and empathetic listening have an opportunity to offer leadership to navigate these unchartered waters. If ever there was a moment in time when the multi-disciplinary talents of mediation professionals and the needs of the world meet, it is now. What we do – or don’t do – now, matters. Imagine how you will use these keys to unlock the potential of mediation.
by Nadja Alexander and Lela P. Love
J’ai seulement fait ici un amas de fleurs e´trange`res;
n’y ayant fourni du mien que le filet a` les lier
I have merely gathered a posy of other people’s flowers;
only the thread that binds them is my own
Michel de Montaigne 1588 (Essais, Book III)
Comprising 23 essays, each no more than 1,111 words in length, this work is a kaleidoscope of concepts and propositions. They intersect to ignite the prospect of real positive change in mediation, a field still poorly understood, still undervalued, still searching for its Golden Age.
The essays that will follow over the next few weeks portray a variety of images and understandings of mediation. All recognize mediation’s extraordinary versatility. Some focus on resolving disputes; some on deal making; some on managing interpersonal disputes in families, communities, schools and the workplace with more of a relational focus; Others are about peace-making between groups and nations and public policy decision-making. Some of these essays apply to all sectors of mediation practice while others focus on particular fields with a view to inspiring new adaptations and approaches in other areas. Each essay is a jigsaw piece. Connected together, they form a vibrant, exciting vision of how the field can dramatically improve and prosper. It just needs the common will and energy to fit it all together.
The 40 women and men from the mediation sphere around the world who have contributed to this work reflect many different backgrounds, experiences and cultures. We owe our gratitude to every contributor for succinctly sharing their proposals for how mediation can achieve its Golden Age. Each essay has been peer reviewed by other contributors and changes made to reflect comments received. We are also grateful to the extraordinary thought leaders who prepared the Introduction and Conclusion for their strong encouragement, deep perception and clear vision.
And to Mediate.com for perceiving the need to convene the field’s stakeholders to figure out collaboratively how to grow mediation over the next decade, and their online conference Mediation 20/20: Navigating Mediation’s Best Future on September 30-October 2, 2020. We should also pay tribute to Mediate and to all the contributors for agreeing that this work may be freely republished, either as individual articles or as a complete book, under the terms of the preceding Creative Commons Licence. As Seneca pointed out more than 2,000 years ago: the best ideas are common property.
Michael Leathes, May 2020
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