Archive for the ‘international news’ Category

America, Land of the International Mediator?

April 13, 2009

UN’s mediation capacity must be bolstered: Ban Ki-moon
United Nations (PTI): Describing United Nations’ role in peaceful settlement of disputes as its primary mission, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has said the world body’s mediation capacity must be bolstered.
“Too often in the past, mediators have been dispatched without the full benefit of specialised training and background information, giving United Nations efforts an ad hoc quality too dependent on trial and error,” Ban wrote in a report to the Security Council made public on Thursday.

Full (short) article [here]

America, Land of the International Mediators?
The following article refers to President Obama and his administrations shift in foreign policy compared to his predecessor.
“…This is not a major new policy – but it does seem like another small shift toward repositioning the U.S. as a credible mediator seeking to work simultaneously for the rights and best interests of both Israelis and Palestinians. Rarely has a U.S. president spoken so clearly about both Israelis and Palestinians needing to change their ways to achieve peace.”
Full article [here]

Australian Family Mediation Saves Government $
Forcing feuding parents to undergo mediation before entering the court system has saved the federal government millions of dollars, a new report reveals.Under changes to the Family Law Act introduced from mid-2007, mothers and fathers who want a parenting order from the court must first attend family dispute resolution meetings.
Full article [here]

Blair: Skepticism about peace after Netanyahu win
JERUSALEM (AP) — International mediator Tony Blair says there’s skepticism about the prospects for peace because of Israel’s new government.
Blair spoke Monday after meeting with Israel’s new prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu. Blair said he believes Netanyahu understands that the only formula for peace is a Palestinian state next to Israel.
Netanyahu has pointedly not endorsed creation of a Palestinian state. Blair thought Netanyahu would come around “if the right context can be created for peace.”
Blair noted skepticism over Netanyahu’s election and said there must be time for the new governments in Israel and the U.S. to “settle down.”
Blair said “the only solution that will ever work” is two states living side by side in peace.


UN To Review Mediation Role in Fiji
Update: 3:08PM THE United Nations will review its decision to mediate the proposed President’s Political Dialogue Forum which was to chart a way forward for a return to parliamentary democracy.
Full brief article [here]

Parishes ask Vatican for mediation over closings
BOSTON (AP) — Worshippers in eight dioceses around the country have banded together in a last-ditch effort to ask the Vatican to instruct bishops to negotiate with them over the closures of their parishes and to stop them from “wrecking the Catholic Church in America.”
Full article [here]
Advertisements

Highschool Musical & Mediation!

April 9, 2009

Highschool Musical Part IV: Mediation Time!


Trying to get your kids to think mediation is cool?
Can’t convince them the better choice is communication- not violence?

Well, tell them Venessa Hudgens of Disney’s Highschool Musical uses mediation.


Read the pointless article [here]





Parishioners from eight dioceses seek mediation for parish closings
WASHINGTON – Parishioners from 31 groups in eight U.S. dioceses have joined forces to ask the Vatican to suspend parish closings and to instruct bishops to negotiate the closures with local Catholics…
Peter Borre, co-chairman of the Boston-based Council of Parishes, formed in 2004 to oppose parish closings, said the effort is meant to offer a “third way” for the Catholic Church to respond to changing demographics, financial concerns and the declining number of priests nationwide. Full article [here]

Hospital, Town set for Mediation
Trinity Medical Center and the city of Irondale will use mediation in an effort to resolve a multimillion-dollar dispute over the hospital’s decision to switch its relocation to U.S. 280.
The hospital and government officials will meet May 27 in an attempt to settle out of court an argument over the city’s investment to prepare a site off Grants Mill Road for Trinity to build a $316 million, 424-bed hospital.

Full article [here]

Ambulance Group In Mediation

A member of the Sauk Prairie Ambulance Association’s oversight commission hopes to avoid what could become a heated public confrontation between the two organizations over the fate of Rikky Schiller, the ambulance association’s embattled president…

…Wenzel, who is married to Schiller’s husband’s sister, will mediate the meeting.
“My main goal is to get them to communicate,” Wenzel said. “There has been no communication between those three. This is not the time to go back and bring up old grudges. If they can communicate maybe they can work this thing out before it goes to a total fracas at a public meeting.”

Full article [here]

Somililand and Conflict Resolution

(Somalilandpress) – Traditionally, disputes and conflicts in Somali society are resolved through recourse to an unwritten code of conduct or social contract called xeer: traditional law agreed upon by the clans in each area, and dependent on the deliberations of elders who gather to resolve specific problems within a clan or between clans…

…New xeer rules are developed to address unforeseen occurrences, so the system is a dynamic and evolving one. Aggrieved parties may negotiate under the auspices of a Guurti or else a group of mediators known as ergo may be despatched to attempt to mediate between the parties without becoming overly engaged in the subject-matter of the dispute. If a settlement is not agreed at this stage, a xeerbeegti or jury, may be appointed to pass judgement on a given case with each party being expected to accept the verdict.

Full article [here]

Was A Terror Suspect, Now a Mediator [plus more news]

March 30, 2009

Was a Terror Suspect, Now A Mediator

Pakistan is using ex-terror suspect Hyarbyar Marri as a mediator between the terror outfit which kidnapped UN official John Solecki and the government to get the American citizen released.
Marri, recently acquitted of terrorism charges in the UK, was approached by Pakistan’s Interior Ministry to use his influence with the kidnappers, Dawn reports. Full story [
here]


Mediation and Arbitration Helps in Construction Disputes
When it comes to profitability, a lot can be said for the way a company manages information. That’s been the overall theme of the Construction Specification Institute’s three-part webinar series, “Maintaining Profitability in Your Construction Business,” which concluded this afternoon. Bill Dexter, a risk-management consultant and trainer, Mary Jones, a California attorney specializing in alternate dispute resolution and Marge Mellody, a mediator specializing in real estate-related disputes, continued that focus when they discussed dispute resolutions during today’s session.

Full story [here]


Mediation Fails

For those that think mediations are always resolved successfully:

NEWARK — Mediation has failed in a civil suit between a local contractor, the Board of Education for the Licking County Joint Vocational School District and others, but another avenue to avoid a lengthy trial still might be available.

Attorneys for all sides met with a mediator Friday, but because no settlement was reached, the prospect of a month-long jury trial beginning April 28 looks increasingly likely.
The case will have spent three years on Common Pleas Judge Thomas Marcelain’s docket by then.

Full story [here]

Internet Mediation- Cybersquatting Hits Record

The number of cybersquatting complaints reached a record in 2008, the World Intellectual Property Association reported Monday.
Geneva-based WIPO, which is charged with resolving such disputes, said there were
2,329 complaints filed with the WIPO Administration and Mediation Center last year. That’s an 8 percent increase from the year prior.

And the numbers are likely to skyrocket as the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers is expected to launch new top-domain spaces by year’s end.

Full article [here]


SafeKiwi- Promoting Mediation in New Zealand

“LEADR NZ is pleased to be involved in the new SafeKiwi™ internet-based ‘escrow’ financial service, launched yesterday by Christchurch businessman Mike Pero. An escrow account, like SafeKiwi™, is a legal arrangement in which one party deposits funds under the supervision of a neutral third party, until the terms of an agreement have been met and the funds can be released. SafeKiwi™ (www.safekiwi.co.nz) is marketing the service to companies, corporates, individuals and government departments and, in particular, expects the service to be popular with small businesses and sub-contractors.

SafeKiwi™ will use the Public Trust as its custodian. Carol Powell, chair of LEADR NZ, says she is delighted that SafeKiwi™ is promoting mediation as the first option for resolving disputes that may arise between parties to the service.

Full article [here]

Mediation & ADR News

March 9, 2009

Mediators Flourishing in Tough Economy
A weak economy and dwindling personal finances have impacted when and how married couples get a divorce in the Charlottesville area.
Local mediation groups and lawyers have reported changes in how often couples seek mediation to draft a separation agreement and how long they’ll wait before filing for divorce.
The Mediation Center of Charlottesville has seen an increase in the number of couples wanting to use mediation to draft a separation agreement. Mediation is significantly cheaper than taking a divorce case to court.
Between July and Dec-ember 2008, the nonprofit center handled 2.1 self-referred mediations per month for couples who wanted to split. Since the start of 2009, the center is averaging five self-referred mediations a month.

Full article [here]

Turkey Would Consider Mediating US-Iran Talks
Note the italicized section- no one has asked them yet.
ISTANBUL (Reuters) – Turkey would consider serving as mediator between Iran and the United States, Foreign Minister Ali Babacan said on Sunday after meeting U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and shortly before leaving for Tehran.
Turkey would weigh any requests by the two sides to serve as a mediator and current efforts to open a dialogue are “an important opportunity,” Babacan told reporters before leaving for Tehran for an Economic Cooperation Organization meeting chaired by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Full article [here]

25 Years of Community Mediation
The Mediation Center of Dutchess County has been around for 25 years. Happy anniversary to the many volunteer mediators who have made it work. They help reasonable people work out their differences…
…Between 1,100 and 1,300 cases a year are referred to the center with anywhere from a third to a half reaching mediation. The majority come from the courts – 12 town, village and city courts, Family Court and occasional Supreme Court referrals. Attorneys frequently refer cases or work in collaboration with the center. Referrals also come from schools. There are usually about 100 open cases in various stages of development.
Full article [here]

20 Group Negotiation Down to 18
WASHINGTON — Two labor unions have pulled out of a broad coalition seeking agreement on major changes in the health care system.
…The action, by the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees and the Service Employees International Union, shows the seeds of discord behind the optimistic talk at a White House conference on health care this week.
…Peter S. Adler, president of the Keystone Center, a nonprofit group facilitating the discussions, said the dialogue started with 20 participating organizations and now had 18.
Mr. Adler, a professional mediator with 30 years of experience, said the coalition had been meeting since September. It tentatively plans to issue recommendations later this month on how to rein in health costs and help achieve the goal of universal coverage. Congress is grappling with the same issues and is struggling to find bipartisan consensus.
Full article [here]

Are You Involved in International Patent Mediation/ Negotiation?
If yes, there is a suvery going on [here].
The Alternative Patent Dispute Resolution Project (”APDRP”) at Thomas Jefferson School of Law (”TJSL”) in San Diego, California is conducting an on-line survey of lawyers, judges, clerks and scholars such as you to gauge the industry’s perception of some fairly recent proposals to improve the current Federal patent adjudicative process in the United States and to encourage the use of alternatives thereto such as mediation and arbitration.
Copies of the results, when completed, will be made available as well as being published by the APDRP in a law review article.
Read the article and learn more [here]

Mediation & ADR News 03.02.2009

March 2, 2009

Commercial Mediation to Double This Year in Ireland
…The respondents said the key advantages of mediation were cost (saving up to 70 per cent on litigation), speed, control of the process and the preservation of business relationships. The survey found that mediation was most widely used in family businesses and construction disputes, followed by partnership conflicts, property issues and business terminations.
Full article [here]

Political tensions start to subside as mediators step in
is that not a great title to an article? i mean, as a ADR practitioner, don’t you feel required to read such a wonderful statement? The article refers to the political going-ons in the Pakistani Parliament.
“Lahore: Despite tall claims from both sides regarding the election of a new Punjab chief minister, the simmering tension between the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and the Pakistan Muslim League (PML-N) has started to subside as political mediators and foreign diplomats stepped in.”
Full article [here]

Interested In Construction Mediation?
If yes, this might interest you or scare you away:
“The 441-page document is the result of more than three months of mediation between the town and TLT Construction Corp. It was agreed to by all parties, including selectmen and TLT’s bonding firm, last Friday but was released only yesterday after the Times filed a public records request. Although the document is a public record, it contains a clause that does not allow town officials to release it without notifying TLT.”
Full article [here]

Broker Wronged You? You Have Options
Your money is gone. You’re ticked off. You want to sue.Even if your adviser wasn’t Bernard Madoff, you might be wondering what action you can take after watching your savings take a clobbering this past year. You aren’t alone.
Last year, the number of cases filed with the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority bolted 54 percent, to 4,982. The non-governmental agency regulates U.S. securities firms, including online brokerages, and handles arbitration with clients.
…Before proceeding to arbitration, you and the other party can seek a settlement through a FINRA-appointed mediator. You and your broker would work out how to split the fees, which can range from $50 to $300 for clients and $150 to $500 for brokers.
Full article [here]
For those interested, FINRA is seeking mediators in various locations throughout the U.S.
Their site is [here]

African President Assassinated

March 2, 2009

African President Assassinated

In a set back to peace and stability not only in the tiny West African nation of Guinea-Bissau but to the continent as a whole, President Joao Bernardo Vieira was assassinated in his palace hours after a bomb blast killed his rival.

Currently it is unknown who is in charge of the nation. The United Nations and the African Union have yet to make a comment or response.

Note this is breaking news, so the links and stories provided below might not be as accurate when reading (updated 0800, New York City, USA time).

AP BISSAU, Guinea-Bissau – Renegade soldiers assassinated the president of Guinea-Bissau in his palace Monday, hours after a bomb blast killed his rival, but the military said that no coup was in progress in the fragile West African nation.
The military statement broadcast on state radio attributed President Joao Bernardo Vieira’s death to an “isolated” group of unidentified soldiers whom the military said it was now hunting down.

Full Story [here]

A brief history of the problems in Guinea-Bissau [here]

The International Herald Tribune’s article is [here]

“Guinea-Bissau is a former Portuguese colony in West Africa that is known as a transit point for South American cocaine shipments bound for Europe.”

Background information on Guinea-Bissau from the Guardian [here]

The tiny west African state of Guinea-Bissau won its independence from Portugal in 1974 after a guerrilla liberation campaign that was led by the charismatic Amilcar Cabral and supported by Cuba.
With a population of 1.6 million, it has had a post-colonial history of coups and military unrest, and now has a reputation as a staging post for Latin American cocaine shipments to Europe.

Is Civil War Better than Negotiation?

March 1, 2009

Is Civil War Better Than Negotiating?
Read the article [here]

“For history demonstrates that civil wars, particularly ethnic civil wars, end more durably when there is a decisive military victory.”

A nice sensational style way to start today’s blog, eh? Well, this quote is from the International Herald Tribune’s Bennett Ramberg. His piece is titled “Fight to the End” and it refers to how over history, in civil wars, actual fighting which results in one side clearly defeating the other is more sustaining that negotiating a truce.

Mr. Ramberg adds that the alternative to actual violence and fighting- “negotiated power sharing, ethnic autonomy or federalism – generally offer more hope than stability, as former combatants eventually become disenchanted with the new order and return to the gun.”

That is an interesting statement that grabbed my interest, but unfortunately the example then given I feel falls a bit flat since he then refers to a civil war from almost 200 years ago- our own American Civil War! Other examples are added, including Tibet and Chechnya. By the way, not to create an entirely seperate discussion but what happend in Tibet over 50 years ago I would not call a Civil War but more of an invasion.

For those of you who are statistical junkies, this one’s for you, “Statistical analysis of the dozens of civil wars between 1945 and 2004 shows that 77 percent ended in a decisive victory by one side, while 23 percent ended in negotiated accords. Four fifths of the decisive victories held; two-thirds of the negotiated agreements failed.”

Finally, the article concludes with a message to President Obama (doesn’t it seem like each day more and more people are offering their advice to the President in articles?), “The Obama administration should heed the lessons of history. In civil war, as in all war, events on the ground dictate outcomes – including opportunities for effective international mediation. Wishing that it were otherwise will not make it happen.”

I am a bit confused in the statement “events on the ground dictate outcomes”. Yes, events on the ground can dictate outcomes however the street does not flow only one way here, but rather in both directions. Negotiation/mediation can also determine the events on the ground in that a successful mediation could stop any ground events.

Additionally, allowing negotiation to take place many times in fact stops any ground events as a condition for the mediation to even begin. Admittedly many times it is agreed to be done on temporarily basis, but that in itself can be viewed as a success as that agreement, albeit done on a temporary basis, is a start to the foundation of accumulating yes’s.

What I mean by yes’s is that as the mediator, you want to get people to say yes more than no. It helps break down barriers and adds to an environment of collaboration- not confrontation (that’s what war is for, right?). Collaboration promotes the idea and vision of working together, not the “us” versus “them” mentality that can lead the parties back to the battle fields.

A core point I offer to the writer and readers of the article is that the whole idea of negotiation is to get away from the very idea of what the title says, “Fight to the End”. A mediator wants to remove the very idea that the mediation is an extension of the battlefield.

Negotiation might take longer, but is well worth the effort when looking for a ‘everyone lives and wins’ result in mediation compared to ‘we win, you die and lose’ in war, right?

Unrest in Caribbean Has Roots in Slavery Past

February 23, 2009

Unrest in Caribbean Has Roots in Slavery Past

I read about this about a week ago and it stuck in my mind. So, when I saw it again on the homepage of Yahoo! News, I decided to write about it. An additional factor driving me to write about this is that as mediators and negotiators, we are always promoting ‘expanding the pie’. there are plenty of times I blog on ‘typical’ ADR and mediation news stories so why not expand the realm and mention this? Reading this story, there is a heap of built up anger, frustration, resentment and other emotions dating back over a century- yes a century, not years!

From the article:
POINTE-A-PITRE, Guadeloupe – Protests that have nearly shut down the French Caribbean islands of Guadeloupe and Martinique are not just about demands for lower prices and higher wages: For demonstrators they are no less than a battle against the vestiges of slavery.
Afro-Caribbean islanders — most of whose forbears toiled in the sugarcane fields under the yoke of slavery more than 160 years ago — not only resent France’s handling of the global economic crisis, they have long resented that slaveholders’ descendants control the economy on both islands.
They also suspect that businesses earn too high a profit on goods, most of which are imported.


…The protests are “not a call for war, but for dignity…”

…Several islanders blame the arrival of 450 French riot police for the violence that has erupted during protests — and say it shows how France treats the islands like colonies.
Full article [here]

Where can mediation or negotiation fit in? Have there been any type of talks between the haves and have-nots? Is the arrival of the riot police seen as instigating an already powder-keg in the making?

Admittedly, my knowledge of the situation is limited but one route towards a possible peaceful solution is using The Third Side Model and exploring options that promote cooperative negotiation.

The Third Side is a book and concept created by William Ury (for sale [here] and many other places) which says in conflicts, there are roles for everyone. They are broken down to ten:
Provider
Teacher
Bridge Builder
Mediator
Arbiter
Equalizer
Healer
Witness
Referee
Peacekeeper
read more on them [here]

The good sign already coming out is the protest leaders and the French Government are already negotiating.

“Protest leaders and government officials are still negotiating to lower the costs of housing, gasoline, water and electricity.”

Hopefully dialogue will continue towards a peaceful resolution.

Hillary Clinton: Currency Before Compassion?

February 21, 2009

Human Rights Second, Money First?
Is this the same direction that we thought the Obama Administration was going to head in? What happened to Conflict Resolution, Alternative Dispute Resolution, Mediation as well as Negotiation? For those who thought the USA planned on pressing China on human rights issues, newly appointed Secretary of State and former First Lady, Hillary Clinton, said the following on her first to to Asia including China:

WASHINGTON (AFP) – Amnesty International and a pro-Tibet group voiced shock Friday after US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton vowed not to let human rights concerns hinder cooperation with China.
Paying her first visit to Asia as the top US diplomat, Clinton said the United States would continue to press China on long-standing US concerns over human rights such as its rule over Tibet.
“But our pressing on those issues can’t interfere on the global economic crisis, the global climate change crisis and the security crisis,” Clinton told reporters in Seoul just before leaving for Beijing. [full AP story here]

I did not expect humans rights to necessarily be the only factor and topic of discussion when she arrives on her first visit but to start things off with this comment?

Very surprising and confusing. Add to that the latest reports [here] of the Chinese military cracking down on Tibetans protesting and it is easy to get the impression that China will not have to worry about any substantial concerns from America.

Is negotiation as well as conflict resolution only good for getting deals done on the world economy? I hope somehow there is more to this story then what has been reported so far.
Edit: I did some research of her past comments in regards to China, and more specifically the unrest in Lhasa, Tibet and other areas of Spring 2008.
From Students for a Free Tibet: (March 2008)
I am deeply concerned about the violent clashes that have erupted in Lhasa, Tibet. Based on the limited information available, there is an urgent need for all parties, and in particular the Chinese security forces, to exercise restraint, to demonstrate respect for human rights and to protect civilians from danger. I call on the Chinese government to prevent further escalation of this conflict and to urgently pursue resolution through peaceful means.
On April 7th, CNN reported this:
Sen. Hillary Clinton called on President Bush Monday to boycott the opening of this summer’s Olympic Games in Beijing, China.
In a statement released by her campaign Monday, the New York senator pointed to recent protests in Tibet; and to the Chinese government’s failure to pressure the government of Sudan to end the violence in Darfur.
“These events underscore why I believe the Bush administration has been wrong to downplay human rights in its policy towards China,” said Clinton.
President Obama had this to say on April 8th, 2008 (from ESPN)
“The Chinese government must take immediate steps to respect the dignity, security, human rights and religious freedom of the Tibetan people,” Obama said. “If they do not, there should be consequences.”