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Methods & Tools

A Note on Humor and Consensus Building

Every conference I’ve ever attended in the field of conflict resolution has featured some sort of organized discussion about the role of humor in mediation. These sessions are often quite analytical and serious, but occasionally a workshop is held that’s entertaining because the facilitators are demonstrating rather than describing their approach. It always seems, though, […]

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Collaboration Practice Mediation

Peter Adler and The End of Mediation

Peter Adler has written an article of compelling interest on the core values and direction of mediation. Provocatively entitled, The End of Mediation, this ambitious essay sets out a powerful vision for the future of the process and its practitioners. His basic point is that mediation is not a “field” or “profession” but a set […]

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Collaboration Practice

Confrontation in Collaborative Meetings

Once a good friend and colleague was exchanging “war” stories with me about confrontation during the peaceful business of collaborative meetings. He assured me that he had a story that would top anything I could offer, and he was right. Here’s the brief version. I was facilitating a group that was supposed to reach agreement […]

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Collaborative Leadership

A Collaborative Mindset

When trying to assess the feasibility of a new collaborative project, I often run into a few people I’d like to get into the process who regard the whole thing as wrong-headed and doomed to failure. While there may be objective and sound reasons for the rejection of a collaborative strategy, there are times when […]

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Collaboration Practice

Martti Ahtisaari: What Is a Good Mediator?

Martti Ahtisaari, a Finnish diplomat and international mediator, won the 2008 Nobel Peace Prize for his conflict resolution work around the world. Namibia, Northern Ireland and Kosovo are three of the crisis situations where he helped to negotiate settlements. Although the world of international conflict seems remote from the collaborative public policy work at domestic […]

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Collaboration Practice

The Politics of Consensus

In many mediation contexts, consensus means one thing: 100% agreement. In commercial, domestic, consumer, neighborhood and other settings, the parties who come to the table are exactly those whose agreement is essential to resolution of a dispute relating to clearly defined issues. They can be representing themselves, or their attorneys may be negotiating for them. […]

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