Our theme for Mediate 2018 was Widening The Scope. Looking back on the day and the array of contributors there was a great sense of the impact of the use of mediation skills and mediation itself as a process.
Our first speakers were from the Traveller Mediation Service in Ireland. Chris and Aileen gave a great over view of their work and its impact. What struck me was the way in which mediation was being used in disputes around the criminal justice system and how mediators were working with the courts, the Garda and other agencies. Their impact was to generate a better understanding, allowing resolution that involved a wider community and helping to develop better relationships. The work in prisons with the peer mediation scheme is also delivering positive outcomes. It was interesting to hear that like efforts to establish peer mediation in Scottish schools, the key issues are also around sustainability and ongoing support.
In the afternoon our session with Jo Berry and Patrick Magee was rightly acclaimed by those attending for delivering an intensely thought-provoking session. You could hear a pin drop during the session and the care with which people asked questions and made contributions was striking. The session demonstrated the power of empathy in allowing a conversation to develop and gave a rare glimpse of light and hope. John Sturrock tweeted two great quotes which are worth repeating. Jo said that ‘There is no other, just a struggling human being trying his or her best’ Patrick added, ‘Openness is a shield against conflict; violence stems from weakness/fear.’
Throughout the day workshops covered areas such a Peer Mediation in Schools, the use of mediation as a way of reducing violence in communities, how mediators can take care of themselves, Housing mediation, disability mediation, mental health mediation, the influence of lawyers in mediation and using mediation to promote respectful dialogue in across groups with opposing and extreme views.
The rich diversity of the topics discussed and the enthusiasm that delegates gave to the discussions around the future of mediation in Scotland, a proposed Year of Mediation in 2020 and a Mediation Charter underlined the determination to do more and the opportunity to develop mediation further.
Graham Boyack, Director, Scottish Mediation
Engaging Positively with Conflict
Scottish Charity Number SC034921 Company Registered in Scotland SC258173
Registered Office: 18 York Place, Edinburgh, EH1 3EP