Mindfulness & Mediation

Enjoy the archive of the recent web panel discussion I participated in with Mark Kleiman at www.ADRhub.com. I hope you enjoy it!

The following is the text from ADRhub:


Join Mark Kleiman, Esq., Executive Director, Community Mediation Services, Inc. and Jeff Thompson, Mediator, EnjoyMediation.com & ADRhub.com, as they discuss Mindfulness and Mediation at ADRhub.com’s June Web Panel Discussion.

Mark and Jeff recently presented at the ACR-Greater New York Chapter’s annual conference on the subject of how mediators as well as other conflict specialists are able to use mindfulness practices to increase self awareness as well as be able to better serve clients.

They will each explain how they use mindfulness practices while also referring to research, studies and recent publications on the topic. Half of this 30 minute discussion will be dedicated to questions and comments from the audience so sign up today!

Below is a condensed version of the event. To see the full featured version, click [HERE} and just enter your name under participant.








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ODR Being Taught To Mediators & Arbitrators


This story seems interesting but is it very short and leaves me with some questions. From the article:

A HOLYWELL lawyer is spearheading a pioneering project which could see legal disputes in future sorted out away from the courtroom and over the internet.

Graham Ross is currently training arbitrators and mediators across Europe for the Chamber of Arbitration in Milan, about the techniques of using online technology, and in particular in the development of trust between people who never meet in person.

Unfortunately, the article does not go further into what types of ODR the arbitrators and mediators are being taught. Using my detective skills (he-he), I was able to find that Graham is associated with http://www.themediationroom1.com/ (why the "1"?)

Graham's bio from the site:

Graham Ross,Managing Director, is a retired solicitor now in practice as a commercial mediator. Graham has over 20 years experience in IT and the law, is the author of legal applications software (including he original version of the QUILL solicitor's accounts and time recording package) and was the founder of LAWTEL, the popular web-based legal information update service.

Graham is a member of the United Nations Expert Panel on Online Dispute Resolution and speaks regularly at international conferences on the impact of the law on the Internet and e-commerce and on technology in the judiciary and Alternative Dispute Resolution. Graham was host of the 5th International Conference on Online Dispute Resolution held in Liverpool, UK, in 2007 in collaboration with the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP) . Graham is also a member of the Working Party of the European Committee on Standardisation (CEN) developing a taxonomy for Online Dispute Resolution.

As a solicitor Graham had considerable experience in clinical negligence and in major high profile personal injury and product liability group actions, including the successful action against the UK Government for HIV infected haemophiliacs (which he founded and led) and was a member of the steering committee that negotiated the largest ever group settlement, being for miners made ill by coal dust inhalation).

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Cyberbullying Law Promotes Mediation

New Cyberbullying law in Victoria, Australia aims to increase mediation


More than 600 people have this year sought orders at the Children's Court against children including cyber bullies, stalkers and school-yard thugs.

Almost 300 orders were granted in the first 10 months of this financial year, already more than for the previous financial year.

The Victorian Government has moved to introduce new anti-bullying laws to Parliament this week after the huge growth.

The laws will try to provide a greater focus on mediation to cut the number of intervention orders.

...A leading cyber-bullying expert has warned the Government's new laws must be backed up with proper cyber-bullying training for mediators.

Read the full article [here].
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Media Matters Q&A With New NYT Ombuds

Here's one (of 13) questions Joe Strupp, of www.MediaMatters.org, asked the newly appointed New York Times Ombudsman, Arthur S. Brisbane:

Q. The New York Times comes under more attacks than ever in today's Internet age. Will you feel a need to respond to other news outlet complaints, and those from bloggers and web sites more than readers?

A. No, I would not feel obligated to respond more promptly or energetically to the blogosphere than I would to the readers of The New York Times. I would be interested to see what it's like. The readers of the Times are an incredibly important constituency. The blogosphere is a place where legitimate issues surface and I want to track all that and filter that, but I also understand that to the extent that people set themselves up as institutional foils for the sake of it, I suppose I would be mindful of those things.

I don't want to devote my time to engage in partisan political warfare. I want to be an independent, fair-minded voice addressing issues. It is not really so much who raises the issue, it is the legitimacy of the issue.


Read the full Q & A [here].
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Fighting Words: Book Explores Political Language


Georgetown’s Fathali Moghaddam and Rom HarrĂ© have release a new book titled, "Fighting Words: Book Explores Political Language" which examines, through editing essays, how heads of state use language to redirect collective politics supporting conflict or peace.


I have previously read another book both released together titled, "Global conflict resolution through positioning analysis" while studying for my Masters in Negotiation and Conflict Resolution and found it to be very helpful.


The book focuses on narratives and as the article explains:


“Looking at the way challenges to acts of positioning are handled reveals the role of deep moral principles…” they explain. According to Moghaddam, the focus on narratives, from the interpersonal to the international, leads to a better understanding of political processes and conflict resolution.


This analysis of positioning theory bridges both psychology and linguistics – something Georgetown’s long-standing strength in linguistics has helped to develop. Part of the book deals with micropolitics and personal positioning, while the latter half explores macropolitics positioning by political parties and factions.


The book shows links between both types of positioning in the leadership styles of President Barack Obama, Ahmadinejad, Bush, Sarah Palin and the Rev. Ian Paisley. “Positioning does not apply to one group or one person in isolation, but is constant and ongoing,” says Moghaddam.


Read the full article [here] and also read more about Moghaddam and Positioning Theory [here].
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NYT Names New Ombudsman

DailyFinance.com announces the new New York Times ombudsman with the following title:

The New Public Editor at the New York Times: Another White Dude

From the article:

The public editor of The New York Times is meant to be the so-called reader's representative -- the official at the paper whose sole job is "to serve as an advocate for the interests of readers," in the words of executive editor Bill Keller. But Times readers -- and Times employees, for that matter -- come in every combination of sex, race and religion, whereas its public editors to date have only come in one flavor: white, middle-aged men.The paper just named veteran newspaperman Arthur S. Brisbane to the job, replacing Clark Hoyt, who recently finished his term of service. Brisbane is only the fourth person to hold the post at the Times, which didn't see the need for a public editor (which many papers call an ombudsman) until after scandal caused by Jayson Blair's fabrications. Hoyt and his two predecessors, Byron Calame and Daniel Okrent, are all white males.

Read the full article [here].
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Tackling The Root Causes of Conflict


Don't let the first sentence of the story fool you into thinking it's another fluffy conflict resolution article because it is not. It's actually full of some great quotes and information from Richard Rubenstein, from the Institute for Conflict Analysis and Resolution at George Mason University.


First, the opener:

Richard Rubenstein, from the Institute for Conflict Analysis and Resolution at George Mason University in Arlington, Virginia, believes conflicts arise when people's basic human needs are not satisfied.
I might be the only 'ADR-snob' that rolled my eyes (yes, I rolled my eyes at my iPad!) and said, "Oh wow, this seems like an article written by someone who has 'found' conflict resolution," but decided to continue reading and I was happy I did.

From the article:

- Prof. Rubenstein was in Malta as a Fulbright specialist and is working with the Mediterranean Academy of Diplomatic Studies in order to establish a joint Master's degree programme in conflict resolution and Mediterranean security, which will begin in October.

- Prof. Rubenstein stresses that beliefs alone are not responsible for conflicts but the beliefs in the historical context are.

- Was it possible to negotiate with groups like al-Qaida or the Taliban?
"With al-Qaida I'm not so sure; with the Taliban, yes...

- He says he believes the US and many other governments get themselves in trouble sometimes by assuming that they have a peace plan in their pockets...

Read the full article [here].
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Follow-Up To Washington Post Article

For those who found the Washington Post article by Mr. Hager suggestingmediation be used for Congress, Robert E. Honig sent this letter to the editor:

L. Michael Hager's suggestion ["How to end gridlock: Mediation," Washington Forum, June 18] that Congress employ mediators to overcome the partisan chasm proposed the proverbial Band-Aid for an unstoppable hemorrhage. While I strongly believe in mediation as a profoundly useful tool in problem-solving, how can it overcome the 24/7 quest for campaign funds needed for political survival on Capitol Hill? These funds come from increasingly polarized sources with steel strings attached.

Read the second paragraph [here].

Read the original post [here].
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Washington Post: Congress Needs Mediation


In today's Washington Post, L. Michael Hager writes about the ever present disfunction of Congress and it it could help if it had a service where a third party neutral helps each party identify the issues and then explore possible solutions which meet, at least partially, each of their needs. He or she helps them make their own decision to determine what is best for them- given the situation.

From the article:

The major challenge of governance these days lies with Congress -- where stalemate is causing some members to flee in frustration. The United States faces many issues that require thoughtful, vibrant leadership. Yet Congress has an approval rating below 25 percent, and a troubling amount of anger (and sometimes violence) increasingly accompanies the articulation of political differences.

...Both Republicans and Democrats need help reaching across the aisle to engage in meaningful debate and to turn bills into sound laws.

...The pathway that individuals use to reach a decision is often as important as the decision itself. The methodology can spell the difference between a good decision and a poor one -- or between one that succeeds and one that fails. Wise process can determine the sustainability of a decision, while poor process can sow the seeds of reversal.

....What if Congress were to establish a politically neutral service for legislative mediation, organized along the lines of the Congressional Budget Office?

Is it possible to develop a more constructive way for Congress to engage in discussion?

Read the full article [here].

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Proposed California Mediated Mortage Workout Law Defeated




While doing my usual surfing of the web for mediation news (so you don't have to!), I was happily surprised to see Vickie Pynchon, of www.NegotiationLawBlog.com, now blogging for Forbes.com.
While searching "mediator" in Google News, the following article came up as the 4th result- great job Vickie!

On Friday, a proposed Facilitated Mortgage Workout Program (FMWP) quietly passed from the California legislative scene after its defeat the day before, three votes shy of passage. Although the bill's proponents thereafter won a short stay of execution, the law making body's failure to reconsider the bill by Friday's deadline made it dead on arrival.

Given the concerted opposition of the lending and banking industries, as well as by the national Chamber of Commerce, it is surprising that the margin of the defeat was so narrow, suggesting that many in this (and other state legislatures) are continuing to feel considerable pressure from their constituents to take bolder action in response to the nationwide housing collapse -- a collapse that has been particularly severe in the Golden State after years of annual double-digit inflation in housing prices.

Read the full article [here].
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Latest from ADRhub.com


Tom Kosakowski- John Zinsser is a vigorous and thoughtful advocate for Organizational Ombuds, but he is no Pollyanna. He is currently concerned about the role of the Ombuds program at BP and how that will impact perceptions of the field by the public at large, the management/leadership communities and the politically powerful.
Zinsser summarizes the history of BP's Ombuds program and its relationship to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill...
[Read more here]


Don't Touch, Especially the Women
Steve Mehta-
There have been several studies over the years that show that slight physical contact between two people interacting is good for the connectivity of the person. However, I just saw an article that reflects that touching might increase risk taking. Here is an abstract of the article:
We show that minimal physical contact can increase people’s sense of security and consequently lead them to increased risk-taking behavior. In three experiments, with both hypothetical and real payoffs, a female experimenter’s light, comforting pat on the shoulder led participants to greater financial risk taking. Further, this effect was both mediated and moderated by feelings of security
Did You Know ADRhub.com is on Twitter?
Check us out at www.twitter.com/adrhub!

I came across this article whle looking up mediation news in Australia and thought some would find it interesting. See my comments below:
A study by Griffith University into franchise conflict has revealed the need for better communication between franchisors and their franchisees.
..."Thirty one per cent of the franchisees indicated that communication within their franchising relationship was unsatisfactory. Disturbingly, the study also found that 49 per cent of franchisees relied heavily on their gut feeling when deciding to go into franchising.

Cafe Mediate: Keeping Cool in Chaos- How Mediators Recover Their Balance
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Mediation & Communication Lacking With Franchisees

I came across this article whle looking up mediation news in Australia and thought some would find it interesting. See my comments below:

A study by Griffith University into franchise conflict has revealed the need for better communication between franchisors and their franchisees.

The study, which was funded by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission and the Australian Research Council, examined the relationship between franchisees and franchisors and the causes of conflict between the two groups. 350 franchisees from Australia responded.

..."Thirty one per cent of the franchisees indicated that communication within their franchising relationship was unsatisfactory. Disturbingly, the study also found that 49 per cent of franchisees relied heavily on their gut feeling when deciding to go into franchising.

...The study also indicated that many franchisees were failing to make use of available mediation services to resolve the problems that they had with their franchisor. The Franchising Code of Conduct makes explicit provision for access to cost-effective dispute resolution and mediation procedures, yet only two per cent of franchisees surveyed used mediation to resolve conflict with their franchisor.

Bernie Mayer wrote a fantastic book called Beyond Neutrality and I think this story provides a great example of how mediators and other conflict resolution professionals can move beyond the neutral role to help people involved in conflict.

The mediation field is is not the easiest field to make a living off of, and jeez, there can only be so many trainers offering 'certification'!

Dispute system design, as mentioned above which incoportates mediation (at least on paper) opens non-neutral opportunities for professionals in conflict resolution. Further review and exploration how communication, or lack of it between the parties, could allow the a designer help alleviate concerns of all those involved while still serving a particular client.

If communication is such an issue and only 2% of the people are using mediation services, surely there is room for growth- right?

Read the full article [here].

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