Archive for the ‘Conflict resolution’ Category

New Program Promotes Peace

October 19, 2009

A new program aimed at bringing more peace to the world is off to a strong start with representatives from Queensland Police Service, New York City Police Department (NYPD) and members of the public gathering last week at Robina Community Centre on the Gold Coast to discuss how to best promote community relations and tackle conflict in the community.

The seminar included a presentation by Jeff Thompson, Community Affairs Bureau detective from the NYPD on the innovative ways in which the organisation has used sport to bring the community together, and explored strategies that could be used here in Australia to promote peace.

It was the first in a range of activities to be held as part of the Community Peace Program – a new research project funded by the Legal Practitioners’ Interest in Trust Account Fund Grant Funding, administered by the Department of Justice and Attorney-General of Queensland and spearheaded by Professor Bee Chen Goh, from the School of Law and Justice and co-director, Centre of Peace and Social Justice at Southern Cross University which will include a series of community events and cross-cultural training designed to promote positive community relations, embrace cultural diversity and enhance social inclusiveness.

Acting senior sergeant Holly James, regional crime prevention coordinator and cultural liaison officer, Queensland Police Service said she was pleased to be involved with the program.“Although New York is a long way from the Gold Coast, we are all fundamentally the same and face the same challenges, so this seminar was a good opportunity to exchange ideas,” said sergeant James.

“The community members are our eyes and ears, so we also always welcome the chance to engage with them and hear their feedback.” Professor Goh said she was pleased with the success of the first seminar.“Before we tackle big issues like terrorism we must look at how we resolve conflicts in our own daily life,” said Professor Goh.

“The Community Peace Program focuses on understanding each other and managing conflicts in order to improve neighbourly relations.“If we can, in our own daily lives, learn to be peace keepers in a conflict-ridden world, we are making a contribution to world peace – and the Community Peace Program aims to support people to do just that.”

The Community Peace Program will continue with an interfaith forum in December, including presentations by Rabbi Nir Gurevitch of the Gold Coast Hebrew Congregation, Gold Coast Sikh priest, Mr Bhajan Singh Bains, and Dr Mohamad Abdalla, director of the Queensland branch of the National Centre of Excellence for Islamic Studies, Griffith University.It will be held on Sunday December 13, from 2pm-3.30pm (Queensland time) in the Library Meeting Room at Robina Community Centre on the Gold Coast.

To attend contact Benedict Coyne on b.coyne.11@scu.edu.au.Photo: Professor Bee Chen Goh with Community Peace Program guest Jeff Thompson, Community Affairs Bureau detective from the NYPD (high resolution image available on request)

From [here].

(pictured above: Jeff Thompson and Bee Chen Goh)

Media contact: Zuleika Henderson, media officer, Southern Cross University Gold Coast and Tweed Heads: 07 5506 9385 or 0408 644533

ADR News

May 20, 2009

Nukes & Mediation- A Role For Japan?
…It is appropriate that Japan, a non-nuclear nation and a major peaceful user of nuclear power, is serving as a mediator to eliminate distrust between nuclear-capable nations and non-nuclear states and restore trust in the NPT system.What do you think? Read the full article [here]

$68.2 Million Claim Heads to Mediation
The hope is that mediation will help build consensus and avoid further litigation that could be costly and take up more time, said Rachel C. Strickland, a New York attorney representing LandAmerica.
“I think this case is just screaming out for this kind of mediation,” Huennekens said.
In mediation, a bankruptcy judge of Huennekens’ choosing will first take on a claim that the Henrico-based LandAmerica filed against the exchange company.
The parent company gave a total of $65 million in loans to help the exchange company cover operating costs when investments in auction-rate securities became illiquid.

Full article [here]

Mediator Enters College & Union Talks
Contract negotiations between College of the Canyons and the union representing 450 part-time faculty members resume today, this time with the help of a mediator to work through issues involving pay and seniority rights.”Hopefully the mediation works out where the district sees the fairness of both issues,” said Beverly Cope, president of Part-Time Faculty United.
Full article [here]

Tamil Tigers Call For Mediation
Somewhat breaking news, the Tamil Tigers have recently admitted defeat to the Sri Lanka government and I came across this article (posted in complete due to the shortness of it):
OSLO: Sri Lanka’s Tamil Tiger rebels are willing to surrender their arms to a third party, after having conceded defeat in a 25-year civil war, former peace mediator Norway said on Sunday. “I have been in touch with the Tamil Tigers many times today,” Norway’s Development Aid Minister Erik Solheim said. “They have made it clear to us that they are ready to give up arms to the international community,” he said. reuters
From [here]

The Use of Mediation in Construction Disputes
Geoff Sharp over at Mediator Blah Blah found this 40 page, 2009 report on the above title, have a look [here]

Chad Opts For UN Mediation With Sudan
Chadian President Idriss Deby has opted for the mediation of the UN, instead of the African Union (AU), to resolve the crisis between the country and Sudan.The President announced the decision while addressing thousands of his compatriots, who were protesting last week’s rebel attack against Chad. Chad believes the rebels were sponsored by Sudan Both countries have traded accusations over alleged support for their insurgents.
Full story [here]

Positive Results From Conflict

April 8, 2009

As a follow up to the Circle of Conflict post [here], I thought I would talk a bit more about conflict and how it seems to many people, when they hear the word ‘conflict’ they automatically think of it being defined as something negative.

Of course we know conflict can be good or bad. Factors in deciding which path it goes down are the choices we make in response or reaction to the conflict at hand.

There are numerous positive things that can result from a conflict. From the United Nations training manual: Skills Development For Conflict Transformation (page 6):
􀁹 Conflict helps establish our identity and independence. Conflicts, especially at earlier stages of your life, help you assert your personal identity as separate from the aspirations, beliefs and behaviours of those around you.

􀁹 Intensity of conflict demonstrates the closeness and importance of relationships. Intimate relationships require us to express opposing feelings such as love and anger. The coexistence of these emotions in a relationship create a sharpness when conflicts arise. While the intensity of emotions can threaten the relationship, if they are dealt with constructively, they also help us measure the depth and importance of the relationship.

􀁹 Conflict can build new relationships. At times, conflict brings together people who did not have a previous relationship. During the process of conflict and its resolution, these parties may find out that they have common interests and then work to maintain an ongoing relationship.

􀁹 Conflict can create coalitions. Similar to building relationships, sometimes adversaries come together to build coalitions to achieve common goals or fend off a common threat. During the conflict, previous antagonism is suppressed to work towards these greater goals.

􀁹 Conflict serves as a safety-valve mechanism which helps to sustain relationships. Relationships which repress disagreement or conflict grow rigid over time, making them brittle. Exchanges of conflict, at times through the assistance of a third-party, allows people to vent pent-up hostility and reduce tension in a relationship.

􀁹 Conflict helps parties assess each other’s power and can work to redistribute power in a system of conflict. Because there are few ways to truly measure the power of the other party, conflicts sometimes arise to allow parties to assess one another’s strength. In cases where there is an imbalance of power, a party may seek ways to increase its internal power. This process can often change the nature of power within the conflict system.

􀁹 Conflict establishes and maintains group identities. Groups in conflict tend to create clearer boundaries which help members determine who is part of the “in-group” and who is part of the “out-group”. In this way, conflict can help individuals understand how they are part of a certain group and mobilise them to take action to defend the group’s interests.

􀁹 Conflicts enhance group cohesion through issue and belief clarification. When a group is threatened, its members pull together in solidarity. As they clarify issues and beliefs, renegades and dissenters are weeded out of the group, creating a more sharply defined ideology on which all members agree.

􀁹 Conflict creates or modifies rules, norms, laws and institutions. It is through the raising of issues that rules, norms, laws and institutions are changed or created. Problems or frustrations left unexpressed result in the maintaining of the status quo.

Lt. Cambria, Hostage Negotiation Unit

April 7, 2009
“Negotiators attempt to resolve high-conflict situations using words.”

As an advocate of using communication as a way to promote nonviolent resolutions to situations (was that a mouthful?), I often get the opportunity to serve as a bridge between two different people or groups that can help serve that purpose.

Today is one of those days where I am able to bring together Jack Cambria (pictured above), a Lieutenant and Commanding Officer of the Hostage and Negotiation Unit for the New York City Police Department (NYPD) and law students at Cardozo Law School enrolled in the Negotiation and Theory Skills.

The plan is for there to be a presentation and discussion on the negotiation principles used when negotiating in a hostage or other serious police situation and how although unique and only a few very highly trained people are involved is such situations, core negotiation principles such as BATNA, interests, credibility and among others are used. Hopefully the students will not only find the presentation interesting, but also be able to take some information learned and add it to their toolbox.

Read more about Lt. Cambria [here]

Btw, not sure if you want to read the above article? Here’s a tidbit that might change your mind:

In a highly-charged crisis situation, the first step is to slow things down, he says. “Most policing looks to resolve a situation quickly. Negotiation has a different dynamic. People have to work through their emotion.” If anyone has the proverbial nerves of steel, it’s Cambria. He estimates he has dealt with more than 1,000 negotiations, each taking about four hours on average. The longest lasted 50 hours.

Read more about the nationally ranked Kukin Program for Conflict Resolution at Cardozo Law [here]

News for 02.16.08

February 16, 2009

Fair Playing field

The Nobles County Deputies Union and the County Officials have agreed to mediation to try and solve the issue of their contract. They have been working out of contract for 18+ months.

the question of a level playing field is raised when I read this, “And during each negotiation meeting, Clarke and his co-steward Nobles County Deputy T.J. Gertsema had to take time off work to attend the negotiations, while the commissioners earned a wage for attending the meetings.
“We’re donating out time, and they get paid to be there,” he commented.”

It is also not clear who the mediator is for the case, which is scheduled for February 24th, and if he or she is being paid. If it is a County official, neutrality or lack of could be raised as well.

Read the full article [here]

LA Divorce Mediators Offer Free Services

Kudos to Diana Mercer, Founder of Peace Talks Mediation Services, for getting mentioned on MSNBC’s website.

They are offering free divorce mediation as well as fee based on a sliding scale:

“Free mediation services include up to 6 hours of [otherwise] billable time: 3 hours of mediation and 3 hours for a mediation resolution roadmap and report or deal memo.”

How about this tidbit:

“With the average Los Angeles divorce costing $100,000(5), Peace Talks’ average divorce is $8500.”

read the article [here]

Sense & Sensibility in India
VIJAY NAGASWAMI Vijay Nagaswami writes in interesting piece here on the general way Indians react (yes react, not respond) to situations. The question of tolerance, and mob type responses are questioned.

Some quotes to get you to read the opinion piece:

“We respond with irrational intolerance when we use rhetoric, whip up mob frenzy, burn effigies, attack stores selling Valentine Day cards, physically assault hapless young women who go to a pub or talk to young men and so on…”

and

“If irrationally intolerant protests are to be countered by more irrational intolerance, the only cause to be advanced would be that of tabloid journalism.”

Read it [here]

Conflict Resolution for India & Pakistan

“What better recipe can anyone prescribe for lasting peace in the subcontinent, i.e better than conflict-resolution especially the resolution of Kashmir conflict, as also demanded, of late, by President Asif Ali Zardari…

…By all standards of international relations and on the basis of all yardsticks of sovereignty, the Kashmir conflict’s resolution need not be viewed as a victory-defeat situation, whether for Pakistan or for India.”

Read all of it [here]

President Carter: Still on a Mission For Peace
Did you know the Carter Center opened back in ’81?
For more than three decades, former President Jimmy Carter has been trying to bring peace to the Middle East.
Disappointed that President Ronald Reagan showed no interest in dealing with the region’s constant conflict and that President George W. Bush “didn’t do anything” either, Carter has kept his dream alive since he left office in 1981 through the efforts of the conflict-resolving Carter Center, frequent visits to Israel and writings on the subject matter.

Full Q & A with him [here]

Community Mediation in New Zealand
There could now be a new way to sort out your differences.
Waitakere Community Law Service has launched a community mediation service, a national first.
The service will run in association with New Zealand’s leading resolution and not-for-profit organisation LEADR NZ.
LEADR NZ chairwoman Carol Powell says the service is likely to be dealing with issues that can’t be resolved by standard legal processes with the value of the disputes being $20,000 or less.

Check out LEADR’s site [here]