Citizen Mediators brings together mediators, dialogue facilitators, restorative justice practitioners and other conflict resolution professionals who, persuaded that in addition to and beyond our regular professional practice, feel compelled that now is the time to leverage our unique tools, skills and sensibilities to strengthen our democratic societies and bridge the divide created by our political institutions. Citizen Mediators is the first of CitizenDEMOS‘ voluntary initiatives created to strengthen the values of open, free, and self governing societies—what democracies were meant to be. In time, CitizenDemos will be able to form other groups that are similarly committed like Citizen Teachers, Citizen Researchers, Citizen Elders, Citizen Homemakers, and Citizen Students.
Started at the initiative of Meta-Culture, and with the support of Mediators Beyond Borders International (MBBI), the International Mediators Community of Practice (IMCP) and the Association for Conflict Resolution (ACR), this initiative seeks to call on all citizen mediators to help strengthen our democratic processes. By building a national movement of peacebuilders able to tackle today’s most pressing questions challenging our democracy, CitizenDEMOS seeks to promote collaboration across differences through the following activities:
- DIALOGUE: for example bridge-building activities including dialogue, restorative justice circles, mediation to bring bi-partisan responses to policy issues and bringing diverse community together to impact the police-making process
- ADVOCACY: for example articles, Op-eds, podcasts and videos, and community organizing demonstrating the value of collaboration
- EDUCATION: for example civic education curriculum design, modelling effective cultures of democracy, artistic activities seeking to educate people about the democratic process
Today’s political environment demands an unprecedented and long-term transformative response to nurture deep democratic competencies, behaviors and sensibilities in this society and abroad. This movement seeks to restore constructive dialogue and a functional democracy to the US.
Contact Ashok Panikkar (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you would like to join the CitizenDEMOS Google Group. The working group discussion forum:
- Continues to build this movement by broadening partnerships and penetrating other fields;
- Re-educates individuals on the meaning and role of being a “citizen” in the US; and
- Understands the problems that drive conflict in democratic processes and identifies entry points for conflict resolution practitioners
Since early 2017, pilot trainings and Citizen Cafés have taken place in Boston and New York. Additional Citizen Cafés are planned for the rest of the year.