Archive for January, 2009

Mediation is Cool Now!

January 31, 2009

Mediation is Cool Now!
Hey, if the NBA is using mediation, I think we can finally say mediation is going mainstream now. And no, I did not have to use this particular picture, but I thought I it was funny.
The story, incase you are intersted:
DALLAS — Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban and former Mavs coach Don Nelson are headed to mediation Thursday to try and resolve their long-running dispute over the former coach’s compensation package.

“We’re going to mediation for the appeal,” Nelson, who now coaches the Golden State Warriors, said before his team played the Mavericks on Wednesday night. “That’s all I know at this point.”
Read the full story [here]
This Could Be a Handful
The central players in the Long Branch eminent domain drama continue to meet behind closed doors to hammer out an agreement allowing property owners who wish to keep their homes, as other thorny settlement details are being hashed out.
Situations that are in mediation cases like these always have the potential to derail by leaks to the media. Kudos to the mediator(s) foreseeing this by getting the parties to agree to do this:
In a joint statement, the parties noted they are continuing to work with the mediator “to attempt to resolve all issues,” they wrote. “The parties agree that additional information must be obtained and discussed. The parties shall have no further comment at this time per the instructions and requests of the mediator.”
Full story [here]
Has Prime Minister Erdogan’s Ability to Mediate Gone Cold Turkey pun intended
Not sure if anyone read about this in the news already, but its worth looking at it from the angle of his future ability to play the role of mediator in the Middle East.
The following is an expert from an opinion peice in the German site Deutsch Welle:
Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan’s stormy exit from a panel discussion on the Israeli offensive in the Gaza Strip at the Davos summit has discredited him as a mediator in the region, says Deutsche Welle’s Baha Güngör.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s performance at the World Economic Forum in Davos has destroyed any hopes that had been pinned on him to act a mediator in the Middle East conflict.
Erdogan was seated next to Israeli President Shimon Peres, UN Secretary-General Ban ki-Moon and Arab League Secretary General Amr Mussa. The topic of the panel discussion moderated by Washington Post columnist David Ignatius was the recent war in Gaza.

Full article [here]

The Conflict Pro’s are Ready!

January 30, 2009

The following is written by Diane Perlman and is an open letter to President Obama.

Have a read and let me know what you think. I highlighted a section that I think is pretty powerful.

I originally wrote up my our opinion to the letter, but instead of potentially having an affect on what you have to think, I removed it.

I would interested to hear what others have to say, maybe I’ll add my thoughts in a day or two.

Letter to President Obama from Conflict Analysis Professionals for Enduring Security

Dear President Obama,

Congratulations on your election. We look forward to working with you to heal our country in every way we can. We are interdisciplinary conflict analysis professionals including psychologists and other social scientists devoted to the study and practice of violence prevention, tension reduction, conflict transformation and reconciliation. Like you, we are deeply concerned for our friends, colleagues, relatives and all citizens of Israel and Gaza. We fear the consequences of this cyclical violence and failure to respond appropriately to the devastating damage. It will require expert intervention to heal wounds and reverse cycles of violence…..

Since the dominant public mindset believes in the use of violence to defeat enemies, it is important to educate the public about more effective, tension-reducing strategies, and a balanced rendering of historical narratives. People must be mature enough to realize that by focusing on blame, which is easy and automatic, we can always get to be right (and so can they) but we will never get to be safe.

…We appreciate your thoughtfulness and openness to new ideas, and hope we can help political leaders, the media and the American public to understand this new security paradigm that is capable of reversing cycles of violence.

Read the full letter [here]

Today’s Reading: Governator Terminates Mediation

January 29, 2009

Governator Terminates Mediation
Catchy title? May my next job will be writing headlines for the NY Post… or maybe not.

Anyways, the California Governor had this to say in regards to bringing in a mediator to get the budget negotiations moving, “I don’t think we need a professional mediator. I think maybe the Screen Actors Guild needs one more than we do,” he said.
Full story [here]

Row over ‘Ni**er’ Brown Stand ordered to mediation
*note, strong racial language used in this story*
A QUEENSLAND court has ordered an anti-racism campaigner and a sports ground operator into mediation over a claim for hurt and humiliation.Toowoomba academic Stephen Hagan has campaigned for a decade to have the E.S. “Nigger” Brown stand at the Toowoomba Sports Ground renamed.

Former Kangaroo and local councillor Edward Stanley Brown was of Anglo-Saxon descent, and it is said he was nicknamed “Nigger” because of his fair complexion or after a brand of shoe polish…The Anti-Discrimination Tribunal in Brisbane on Wednesday ordered the trust and Mr Hagan take part in mediation on February 17 over Mr Hagan’s claim of hurt and humiliation.

[read more of this interesting article]

Mediator aims to restore harmony at troubled conservatorium
THE St James Ethics Centre will act as a mediator to revitalise the strife-torn Sydney Conservatorium of Music following a review initiated by the University of Sydney.
The university senate has approved the appointment of the Ethics Centre after two inquiries into the conservatorium, riven by complaints over management style and claims of plagiarism.

Full article [here]

Momentum Gains for Mbeki to Step Down as Mediator
Strong comments from President Jimmy Carter, “Thabo Mbeki has been useless as a political mediator in the long and violent political crisis in Zimbabwe and should step down so someone else can tell dictator Robert Mugabe to give up his rule, former President Jimmy Carter said Monday.”

Read the rest of the article [here]

Good Job Folks!
Wandle Housing Association has teamed up with Wandsworth Mediation Service to train eight residents from Wandsworth, Croydon, Southwark and Merton as community mediators.
The innovative scheme is part of an ongoing programme totackle antisocial behaviour (ASB) in the eleven London Boroughs it works in.
The residents, who all volunteered for the scheme, have completed a training course that aims to help them resolve their own disputes and act as community leaders to support other residents.
Wandle hopes that the ground-breaking initiative will inspire other social landlords to work with residents to improve the communities they live in.

Read more [here]

More on Foreclosures and Mediation
COLUMBUS (AP) — The Ohio Supreme Court says a foreclosure mediation program it launched less than a year ago is now available in all 88 counties.

The high court provides step-by-step instructions to common pleas courts around the state to try to reach solutions in foreclosure cases. The local courts gather information from homeowners and lenders to reach a mutual agreement.

Community Police Partnership Grant

January 28, 2009

Community Police Partnership Grant

Over at they have announced the 2009 MetLife Foundation Community-Police Partnership Awards administered by Local Initiatives Support Corporation. LISC and MetLife Foundation will present eleven monetary awards of $15,000 and $25,000 to partnerships between community groups and police that promote neighborhood safety and revitalization. Case studies about award-winning partnerships will be disseminated throughout the community development and law enforcement industries.

Previous winners have used award money to pay for special patrols, training and equipment for officers, and community events. Information and a link to the full RFP is available at:
Application Deadline: February 27, 2009

2008 Awardees received a monetary grant ranging from $10,000 to $25,000 in the following categories:
• Neighborhood Revitalization
• Applied Technology
• Aesthetics and Greenspace Improvement
• Diversity Inclusion & Integration
• Gang Prevention & Youth Safety
• Seniors & Safety Eligible Applicants

Public agencies (including police departments and public schools) must apply in conjunction with at least one non-profit, 501(c)(3) organization that was a leading partner in the collaboration and will serve as a fiscal agent for award funds. U.S. based applications only.

This is possibly a good way for current groups, such as community mediation centers, that already have an established relationship and program to receive more funding. Good Luck!

Be Clear!

January 28, 2009

Stu’s Cartoons

Not sure if anyone has ever heard of this site or come across any of Stu’s cartoons, but he has a whole section related to negotiation. Very funny stuff.

There is a fee to use them (even for students!), have a look at the site for free [here]

The cartoons are fun, but can also be used in trainings to get points across.

Want to get the point across about being specific when putting together an agreement? Maybe the fourth one down will help (see above link).

Is That Dog Still Barking?!?

January 27, 2009

Is the Dog Still Barking?

While looking up news today, I again came across the dog barking mediation offered in Phoenix (see yesterday’s post). Today I also found some tips, courtesy of the Arizona Human Society, for people involved in these kind of issues. This might help the community center mediators out there.

Read the story [here]

For annoyed neighbors:
• Try to talk to the dog’s owners when you are not frustrated about the barking. Be calm and talk in a friendly manner.

• Inform them of the time of day or night when the dog is barking and ask if you can contact them when the barking is a problem.

For dog owners:
• Try to figure out what’s making your dog bark. It could be boredom, isolation, frustration, protective behavior or separation anxiety. Details: http://www.azhumane .org, click on “pet tips.”
• Think about the time of day that barking is a problem and remember that not everyone follows the same work schedule or may work from home.
• Take the dog for a walk instead of always leaving it in the yard alone. This will help the dog become more familiar with its surroundings.
• Don’t make a big event out of leaving or returning home; overly excited dogs are more likely to bark.
• Consider training using books and videos available at libraries or devices such as special collars and muzzles.
• Seek the services of a mediator to smooth things over with neighbors. Services will be available by Sunday at
Phoenix School of Law: or 602-262-6466. Solve-It! mediation is available for $25 at Chandler-Gilbert Community College: or 480-732-7296.
Sources: City of Phoenix,
Arizona Humane Society, the Leadership Centre

Zurich Reinstitutes Successful Alternative Dispute Resolution Program for Settling 2008 Hurricane Claims
Program modeled on successful 2005 Gulf Region effort will again be administered by former 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund overseer Kenneth Feinberg

SCHAUMBURG, Ill., Jan 26, 2009 (BUSINESS WIRE) — Leveraging the success of its 2005 efforts that helped generate the highest percentage (98.8 percent) of resolved claims for a single insurer after Hurricane Katrina, Zurich, a leading property and casualty insurance provider in North America and globally, said today that it is re-instating its Claims Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) program as part of its response to Hurricanes Ike and Gustav, for settling claims that are at an impasse and cannot be resolved through its standard catastrophe adjusting process.

Full press release [here]

Did You Know?
The American Bar Association Dispute Resolution Section is having its annual conference this year in New York City from April 15th through the 18th. See the brochure [here]

EU Asks Ahtisaari to Mediate in Slovenia-Croatia Border Dispute
Jan. 23 (Bloomberg) — The European Union asked Nobel Peace Prize laureate Martti Ahtisaari to mediate in a border dispute that has led Slovenia to stall the EU entry bid of neighboring Croatia.
Slovenia, an EU member since 2004, last month put Croatia’s bid to join on hold, alleging that Croatia claims an unfair share of the Adriatic Sea that denies Slovenian ships a direct route to international waters.

Read the article [here]

Barking Up The Right Tree

January 26, 2009

Barking Up the Right Tree

Dog noise complaints are increasing so much in Phoenix, Arizona, that the city is enlisting the Phoenix School of law to have its students run a downtown mediation clinic dealing specifically with the barking complaints.
Full story [here]
I am including a good worksheet that you might find useful in preparing yourself for a negotiation, or someone else. There are many like this out there but I feel this is one is plain, simple, and to the point… and only one page.
It is copyrighted, but they say feel free to freely use it and distribute. The copyright says though you can not change or alter it so I guess you can only print it in color 🙂
The link for the download is at the bottom of this link [here] labeled “free worksheet”.
Come to think of it, you might as well check out the entire site as they have chock full of information that could help you. Sections include: Problem Sovling, Stress Management, Practical Creativity, Communication Skills, and Information Skills among others.

There Are No Decent Mediators in Pittsburgh… or the USA!

January 26, 2009

Not For Everything & Everyone

I came across an article the other day regarding the Dalai Lama and how he feels ahimsa, or ‘doing no harm’, does not work with terrorists.

That’s right, arguably the most well known figure in the non violent path and advocate of using communication to prevent violent conflict is saying this.

How do I connect this with mediation? Well, I think it is a friendly reminder that although we are champion promoters of mediation and the ADR cause, that does not mean everyone else is, and thus mediation is not the best choice for them. It also means that not every situation can benefit with mediation being used.

This is also food for thought in considering how mediation can play a role, or if it even should, in various situations around the world (Israel-Gaza, North Korea, Iran, etc.)?

The Dalai Lama goes on to mention the best way to combat terrorism is through prevention… and he loves George Bush!

Read the full article [here]

Mediation Solves All Kinds of Conflicts
Hmmm, did you know that? This article talks about mediation in Sunbury, Pennsylvania. No, I never heard of Sunbury either but even issues regarding your neighbor’s bull grazing in your yard is good for mediation… enjoy!
Read the article [here]

There are no Good Mediators in Pittsburgh… Or the USA
Well at least a judge in Butler County, Pennsylvania thinks that, so he brought in a mediator who splits time in Ireland and New York and charges $500 an hour.

From the article- The mediator will be John T. Madden, described by county Solicitor Julie Graham as “well-known” for his ability to bring about agreements that forestall trials.

To Mr. Madden’s defense, whom I do not know, his website lists his extensive experience and credentials.

Full article [here]

Make Talk Work!

January 24, 2009

Make Talk Work!

The City University of New York Dispute Resolution Consortium at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, announces a second international competition for short videos of up to 60 seconds using any of the themes in the 24 Make Talk Work® bookmarks. This video project, which is funded by the JAMS Foundation, seeks to increase public awareness about how conflicts can be handled. Prizes available for youth and adult categories; awards range from $250 to $3,000.

For competition rules, go to Deadline for submission is April 17, 2009 at 5pm (EST).

The 60 second videos have to be based on the 24 Make Talk Work bookmarks that can be seen [here]

The bookmarks and the competition are a great, innovative way to promote ADR techniques and values. Help spread the word!

Also note, you are able to purchase the bookmarks if interested to distribute or for personal use. Depending on the amount, I believe you can get some for free.

Bang Some Heads!

January 23, 2009

Bang Some Heads!

Don’t all mediators say ‘let’s bang some heads’ in reference to trying to get a mediation moving? Well, that’s what Canadian Premier Dalton McGuinty is telling the country’s top mediator to do in order to end an 11 week strike that has left over 5,000 York University students in academic limbo.
perhaps “let’s bang some heads” could be added to your mediator toolbox?
read the full story [here]

Many Complaints, not enough Mediators
An interesting tidbit from the article:
The mediation office has 15 full-time staff members, up from six people when Rogers started with the office in 2004. The added staffing has made a difference: in 2002, mediators closed 2,438 complaints and helped recover about $414,000, less than half the 2008 amount.

Mediation Decreases Malpractice Case Load
Mandatory mediation of medical malpractice cases seems to be speeding the judicial process in Madison County, Ill.
When the mandate took effect in 2007, 65 cases were pending. During the next 15 months, 24 went to mediation. Fifteen of those cases (62%) settled.
“Frankly, I’m surprised the success rate is so high — pleasantly surprised,” says Circuit Court Judge David Hylla.

Full Story [here]

When custody disputes get dicey, a third party often mediates the split
A “did you know” from the article:
The list of approved mediators, like the local court system’s family law mediation program, is a result of an Illinois Supreme Court ruling requiring mandatory mediation in contested child custody and visitation cases.
How are child custody cases handled in your state/country?
full article [here]

Mediation Here to Stay (Tampa, Florida)
Did you know this:
Florida has the nation’s most extensive court mediation and alternative dispute resolution, or ADR, system. It began with the establishment of one the first citizen dispute settlement centers, in Dade County in 1975. The state of Florida is a leader, mostly through its mandated “mediation before trial” rules.
Also they used require all mediators to be lawyers, however that changed in 2007.
Full story [here]