Dee Knapp is the President of Accord and Collaboration, a mediation organization focusing on workplace dispute resolution. After attending the 2017 MBBI Congress in The Hague, Dee joined MBBI following her lifelong passion for mediation. Currently, she serves as an active member of the United Nations Multilateral Working Group (UNMWG) and as a Co-Chair of the UNMWG Sustainable Development Goals Action Group (SDGAG).
Through its participation at the High-Level Political Forum (HLPF), MBBI highlights the importance of SDG 16 – Peace, Justice, and Strong Institutions – as it “aims to promote peaceful and inclusive societies and provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable, and inclusive institutions at all levels.” In July 2019, the UNMWG will again send MBBI members to the UN to engage in discussions around this specific goal.
Finding New Ways to Resolve Disputes
Dee originally entered the field of dispute resolution through law. A trained attorney with years of experience as a public defender and later as counsel at a federal agency, she enjoyed resolving conflicts through the use of law but was eager to hear about mediation as a new way to resolve disputes. Alongside her practice, Dee took mediation courses and began regularly volunteering as a mediator. She advocates for collaborative dispute resolution processes such as mediation where both sides are able to win instead of adversarial dispute resolution processes such as law where only one side wins.
This push into mediation led Dee to the creation of her business Accord and Collaboration. Based in Seattle, her organization specializes in workplace disputes although she also mediates foreclosure disputes between homeowners and banks, special education disputes between parents and school districts and occasionally family disputes due to divorce or problems with a family business. Dee also offers team facilitation and trainings to resolve problems a larger group may have.
Empowering and Amplifying Voices
The concept of peace has always been a persistent interest of Dee’s. Previously involved in the anti-nuclear movement during her university studies, she continues to advocate for peace. Her stance towards peace is encapsulated in the thought that “it is necessary to empower people to use their own wisdom to find a solution to their individual, community, and societal problems.” This mantra parallels MBBI’s, which is the main spark that encouraged Dee to join the international network.
Dee has learned new mediation tactics from her international travels and network, thanks to MBBI. She is a firm believer of the importance of cross-cultural exchange and learning other culture’s competencies is a phenomenal way to gain insights on unique and effective strategies. She directly participated in this process at the Conference on the Status of Women (CSW63) in March 2019 during which she co-led a workshop on Women In Mediation. Dee greatly enjoyed meeting thousands of fellow peacebuilders dedicated to ameliorating the life of global woman populations through people-driven processes including mediation. She is looking forward to the HLPF in July 2019 where she will co-lead another workshop on mediation.
Moving forward, Dee is looking into the power of restorative circles as a mediation strategy. From small morale issues within the workplace up to large traumatic experiences, restorative circles can be powerful and effective tools. She is interested in incorporating these tactics into her organization, as each mediation session is uniquely tailored to the specific situation.
Dee’s vibrant career in both the adversarial and cooperative dispute resolution processes has been framed with this mantra:
Lead from the heart. Peacebuilding is about empathy, authenticity, humility, and sincerity. When people let you into the intimate parts of their lives, respect that with an open heart.
Article by Ben Lutz, MBBI Writer.