MBBI-LA and Rotary are partnering on a two-day training event which kicked off on September 23rd. Qualified MBBLA dialogue faciliators are training Rotarians on how to facilitate difficult conversations within their clubs. The sessions (pictured below) are lead by MBBI member and peace fellow Scott Martin. [Read more…]
Louise Phipps Senft, Esq. founder and CEO of Baltimore Mediation, was interviewed by Nurulayn Noor, MBBI Writer, on June 30th, 2017
Honored as a top CEO by SmartCEO Magazine for her leadership of Baltimore Mediation, the first transformative mediation company in the US, which she founded 24 years ago, Louise Phipps Senft is a recognized pioneer in the field, and a renowned mediation advocate, trainer, entrepreneur and public figure across the US and Europe.
Louise began her journey in mediation when she was dissatisfied by working as a litigator in a corporate law firm. She found that litigation worsened conflicts, whereas mediation attempted to resolve them, therefore, she searched for ways to regain a human connection with cases and began inviting opposing sides in litigation to engage in face-to-face dialogues. Eventually, she began internally mediating within her law firm for clients before they became litigation clients—while this resulted in fruitful outcomes, it did not fit the culture of the large firm, and Louise realized then there was an unfulfilled need for lawyers (and others) to fill. By engaging in mediation with clients, she helped people in a different way—which was also deeply satisfying to Louise as it felt more aligned with her beliefs about people and the world. [Read more…]
This is the fourth article in Mediators Beyond Borders’ six-part series answering, “What would your company/industry/field, and region, look like if adversarial decision-making systems were replaced by collaborative ones?” This article explores the mediation field in the European Union region, with a specific focus on Romania and Italy.
In response to what the field of mediation in Romania, Italy and the European Union (EU), would look like if adversarial decision-making systems were replaced by collaborative ones, one might begin by saying the question appears ironic. This is given the fact that the field of mediation is collaborative par excellence – and that mediators walk their talk and are experts on collaboration. Yet, upon closer inspection, at least in Romania and Italy, if not in other EU countries as well, adversarial decision-making systems exist and the question is worthwhile.
The European Parliament’s Committee on Legal Affairs, on 5 July 2011, adopted a Motion for a European Parliament Resolution on the implementation of the directive on mediation in Member States—its impact on mediation, and its use by the courts (2011/2026(INI)). According to point nine of the Motion, “[…] Member States whose national legislation goes beyond the core requirements of the Mediation Directive seem to have achieved important results in promoting the non-judicial treatment of disputes in civil and commercial matters; [the Commission] observes that the results achieved in particular in Italy, Bulgaria and Romania prove that mediation can bring about a cost-effective and quick extrajudicial resolution of disputes through processes tailored to the needs of the parties”. [Read more…]
This is the third article in Mediators Beyond Borders’ six-part series answering, “What would your company/industry/field, and region, look like if adversarial decision-making systems were replaced by collaborative ones?”
As law school professors, it is an interesting endeavor to examine conflict and collaboration on our home turf. Universities are prime breeding grounds for conflict because of their hierarchies and other structural elements, including funding and redress policies. Conflicts can occur on both a horizontal level (i.e. amongst peers and colleagues) and a vertical one (i.e. between students and faculty). Students, faculty and staff can be pitted against each other to compete for resources and status—while at the same time being encouraged to collaborate .
Adversarial decision-making and conflict in the Academic Setting
Academic settings are, by nature, adversarial. Barsky conducted a study of conflict in university settings and found that: competition, hierarchy, a stressful work environment and bureaucratic limitations were the most prevalent sources of conflict . Morgan also explains that competition for status, resources and career- advancement fuel conflict in an academic setting . The conflict is problematic, and can negatively impact mental health.
More recently, however, the solitary learning model, where students work mainly alone, and the competitive fight for resources, which fueled adversarial tendencies, has have been modified to encourage teamwork and collaboration. These examples offer a window to examine what an academic institution could look like if adversarial processes were replaced with collaborative ones. [Read more…]
Elahe Amani (EA), Director of IT- Student Technology Services at California State University, Fullerton, was interviewed by Emma Bohman-Bryant (EBB), MBBI Writer, on 25 August 2017. Responses have been edited for brevity.
EBB: How did you first get involved in peacebuilding?
EA: I was born and raised in a family of educators in Iran who encouraged me to always question inequality and injustice. I was engaged in the social justice movement at Tehran University, the hub of student activism, and continued to be involved when I moved to the US to pursue further education.
However, it was after the revolution in Iran – when the rights held by women were taken away and women were pushed from the public to the private sphere – that I became more conscious of gender relations, the division of labour and the public/private dichotomy. This led me from my days of student activism to a lifelong interest in gender issues. Visiting Iran during the heat of revolution also embedded my interest in peacemaking. I saw that the different opposition groups were in such an unhealthy relationship with one-another and began to consider why dialogue does not resolve conflict and why these unhealthy relationships sometimes lead to violence. I began to ask how we could reach a stage in social and political transformation that would allow us to reach our goals through non-violence, civility and dialogue.
EBB: When did you originally become involved with MBBI and what drew you to the organization?
EA: After I returned from Iran to the US, I began working at California State University at Long Beach. Through this, I completed a certificate program at CSU Fullerton— where I currently work on managing a multi-cultural workforce. One segment of this course was on conflict resolution, and I engaged in a role-playing exercise where I took on the role of mediator. Afterwards, an individual who was in the group called and asked if I was a trained mediator. Though I knew of the concept of mediation, I did not know that one could go through training. In retrospect, I realized that I was exposed to mediation from an early age, without realizing it. Growing up, many of the conflicts in the community – ranging from relationship troubles to money issues – would come to our home and my father would act as an informal mediator. As a curious individual from an early age, I would watch and learn from this, giving me my first exposure to informal mediation.
Inspired by this experience, I completed my mediation training at Pepperdine University, and joined the LA Mediation Association. After, I was always eager to participate in further seminars and attended a one-day course on mediation in the arts and entertainment industry. Dorit Cypis, one of the original founders of MBBI, was leading the seminar and she subsequently invited me to a meeting of the LA chapter of MBBI. [Read more…]