Mediation Work in Barcelona

Hello or more appropriately buenos dias from Barcelona, Spain. I really should be saying that in Catalan though!

I have been here for over a week thanks to the New York Interfaith Center, the NYPD and UNESCO-CAT.

I am part of an interfaith delegation from New York as part of a three year, three city trip between New York City, Barcelona and Glasgow. I was invited by the Interfaith Center of New York because of the conflict resolution and interfaith work I do on behalf of the NYPD.

I have been fortunate enough to meet with police here (Mossos de'esquadra and Guardia Urbana) and learn how there are mediation referral programs in place as well as the city council has a dedicated unit working in mediation, conflict resolution and interfaith work.

There is way too much to type in a single blog post that would fail to explain the deep impact this is having on me and i hope to share with the NYPD, the city I serve, my mediation practice, and my few readers too!

One thing I will share for now is realizing how the work here is very similar to the work and motivations we have at home in New York as well as Glasgow yet the implementations vary due to the culture of each area. I try to discern each moment and event here ranging from the mediators explaining their process in Barcelona to the other end of the spectrum- simple and perhaps silly things realizing when someone ordered
a glass of orange juice, they received along with it a packet of sugar to put in it!

Enjoy the photos!



"Home" while in Barcelona. It is a Catholic home for nuns and allows visitors to stay on the first two floors.





That is the chair I am blogging from.




The famous Segrada Familia. This church has been under construction since 1886! Talk about a mindful reminder about how our work might not be completed.... In this century!




You can take the detective out of New York but you can't away my love for doughnuts!




My new love- un cortado!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Location:Carrer Alt de Gironella,Barcelona,Spain

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(May-Britt Kollenhof-Bruning) In the Netherlands, several mediation service providers are using hybrid forms of Juripax-ODR technology in labor and employment disputes. In contrast to ODR processes which take place exclusively online, here ODR is used to support the traditional offline procedures. Specifically, the participants are asked to fill in an online intake before attending the face-to-face mediation. The answers are only sent to the mediator (asynchronous mediation). Actually one could describe this as some kind of pre-caucusing in order to prepare for the face-to-face mediation.









Dan Rainey (reply to Colin Rule)- Hello, Colin. I read your ethics article and found it, as usual, to be informative and useful. If you've no objection, I'll share it with my ODR class coming up at SMU. Actually, one of the sections in your article harked back to the piece that Alma Jadallah and I wrote for the Cairo ODR converence about how the system itself can be biased.







Matthew Starman- It happens to the best of us. At the most inopportune time, you hear a knock atyour door, or a ring from your phone. A salesman. In my case last Friday night, it was a Kirby Vacuum Salesman. With a little smooth talk and a promise for a free room cleaning I let him in. What the heck, I was going to be cleaning for company coming soon anyway so I might as well let someone else do it right? Being a salesman myself I also like to hear a different sales pitch every so often. As he begins his pitch, I can pick apart every tactic: appeal to the one's safety, create demand, remove comparisons by raising the vacuum into a category of its own, calling the boss to approve a price etc... The guy was good, but when it comes down to it, no vacuum in the world is worth $1200.













This event will be hosted by Bill Warters, Ph.D.

He is a faculty member in the Master of Arts in Dispute Resolution Program offered by Wayne State University's Department of Communication. He is author of Mediation in the Campus Community: Designing and Managing Effective Programs (Jossey-Bass, 2000) and a member of the Editorial Board of Conflict Resolution Quarterly.

Bill served as editor of the Conflict Management in Higher Education Report for 5-years. He developed and maintains two major web clearinghouses, campus-adr.org (for Higher Ed ADR) and creducation.org (for K-12 Conflict Resolution Education). He is a former chair of the ACR Education Section and a past President of ACR's Michigan SE Chapter. He is a member of the international Conflict Resolution Day planning committee that organizes the yearly October event promoting CR. Bill received the William J. Kreidler Award from the Association for Conflict Resolution (ACR) in 2008 for distinguished service in the Educationsector.





Learn more about CyberWeek 2010 by clicking the image above.







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ADRhub.com "What's Happening 10.19.10"

Bringing mediation to the Mainstream
Matthew J. Starman
- With the advantages of mediation and other ADR processes, I often wonder why it is not more popular. I think it would be fair to say that most people know about mediation through tabloids and movies. When I explain to people what I am studying, I am often asked if its like the beginning of the movie Wedding Crashers. In fact, just this week I had three friends say they thought of me after watching a parenting plan mediation take place on MTV's Teen Mom.
When you search for mediation on any news site, many of results come from two places, extremely difficult situations that don't seem to end like conflict in the middle east, or celebrities fighting.
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October Webinar: ODR Growth & Adaption
Join us for this month's free webinar with special guest, Director of the Werner Institute for Negotiation & Dispute Resolution at Creighton University's School of Law, Arthur Pearlstein.
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Ipad Apps For Mediators
Jeff Thompson
- I came across a post by Steve Mehta detailing his quest to go paperless and how the iPad is helping. He lists some apps (applications) which he uses which helps him with his mediation and law practice. Click this link to read Steve's full post and his description of each app [
here].
Below are some apps that have helped me in my conflict resolution practice which includes mediating, training, giving presentations, consulting and planning/system design...
[
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More couples seeking kinder, gentler divorces
According to the Associated Press, more and more couples are finding alternatives to adversarial divorces much more appealing. Many of this decision very cost effective. The firm, Boston Law Collaborative analyzed 199 most recent divorce cases to find that mediation was by far the most inexpensive route for couples.
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Experts in conflict resolution stress that peaceful and intelligent methods are the best weapons to achieve peace


From the School Based Conflict Group
Oprah's "Lessons in Education"
Hot Topics
JAMS Foundation
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More Here] [Join For Free Here]


Podcast Series Episode #7 Interfaith Center of New York

Join host Jeff Thompson and guest, The Rev. Chloe Breyer, Executive Director of the
Interfaith Center of New York. She gives us a recap of the monthly roundtable discussion series hosted by the Association for Conflict Resolution/Greater New York Chatper (ACR GNY) and the CUNY Dispute Resolution Consortium at John Jay College.

The topic covered was "Restoring Dialogue in a Civlized World." Rev. Breyer also shares what programs the Interfaith Center of NY engages in and its history.


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The "X"Factor in Being a Successful Mediator

Enjoy this special guest piece from Richard Lutringer (originally posted here at the new ACR-GNY website- check it out!). It is the 'Tip of the Month' from the site:


The “X’ Factor in Being a Successful Mediator

by Richard Lutringer (member of the board and president-elect of ACR-GNY)

What attribute do clients value most in rating successful mediators ?
A compelling study of party perceptions of highly successful commercial mediators concluded that being friendly, empathetic and caring is more important than having good “process” skills ( e.g. listening, being creative, reframing, managing the process, persistence, etc.). See Goldberg and Shaw, The Secrets of Successful (and Unsuccessful) Mediators Continued : Studies Two and Three, October 2007 Negotiation Journal 393). That is not to say that highly successful mediators don’t also generally have good process skills, but something more than a toolbox of skills is necessary. To use an example from the Winter Olympics, skaters win Gold by a spectacular free skating performance, but they wouldn’t be in the running without a satisfactory score in the preliminary compulsory figures competition. Similarly, good mediators, with satisfactory “process” skills, become great mediators by being friendly, empathetic and caring, which shows up in enhanced trust and rapport with the parties.

How does a mediator show friendliness, empathy and caring in the midst of a contentious mediation? One way is to create a space where connection can develop between the mediator and the parties (and their counsel), beyond a mere discussion of disputed facts and legal theories. In commercial mediations, in-person meetings with each side days before the scheduled joint session can serve this purpose. Such meetings can also quell anxiety among parties new to the process and provide some cheerleading opportunities for the mediator to create positive expectations.. In my view these pre-session private meetings don’t violate the ethical standard of the mediator’s appearance of neutrality, since all concerned parties are equally treated and give their consent in advance to pre-joint session meetings. The AAA Commercial Mediation Procedures specifically permit such contacts. Not that such pre-session meetings have to be with only one party -- one well-known commercial mediator often takes contentious parties to dinner on the eve of a major mediation, without their respective counsel, the only rule being that the subject of the dispute in mediation is not to be discussed.

If pre-joint session meetings aren’t possible or permitted by the agreed or imposed protocol, the mediator can consciously use his introduction to the process to share tactfully a few true personal details (where he grew up, true passion for gardening, golf, baseball, etc), with the aim of humanizing the mediator to the parties and perhaps even finding a responsive chord. Taking a break over coffee or tea (recent academic studies indicate that the warmth of a cup of hot beverage in the hand can subconsciously influence the holder to be more accepting of others!), offers opportunities to talk about something to which the party can relate. The mediator needs to be open to opportunities as they appear. Christopher Moore relates the difficulty of building rapport with a party on the telephone until the party asked about the current weather in Colorado. Using open-ended questions Moore discovered they each enjoyed snow camping, which began the establishment of rapport. Moore, The Mediation Process, 3rd ed. (Jossey Bass, 2003), p. 94. Jimmy Carter orchestrated the sharing of pictures of each other’s grandchildren with Anwar Sadat and Menachim Begin at a critical moment at Camp David to transform the mood of the negotiation. One former mentor of mine adroitly uses pertinent recollections of her Jamaican grandmother’s folk wisdom to bring both humor and her humanity into the room.

The “X” factor ? The most important skill to demonstrate to become a great mediator is not really a “skill” at all—it is to be yourself. The parties will feel comfortable with your vulnerability and sense that you are present to them and care about their concerns. Not only will that enhance the experience for all concerned, but that trust and rapport will likely translate to a higher comittment of the parties to stay with the process if and when progress stalls in the course of the mediation.


More on Richard [here].
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"What's Happening" At ADRhub.com 10.12.10

New Group Created at ADRhub.com:
School Based Conflict Resolution
From the group's homepage- There is an African proverb which suggests, “don’t look where you fall, but where you slipped.” We have now fallen on litigation as a way to solve our problems. How often do you hear, “You’ll be hearing from my lawyer”, or, “I’ll see you in court”, or even, “I’m suing”? Why do we rely so heavily on a court judgment, several thousands of dollars and lost relationships later, to solve our problems? We are educated in math, language, the sciences, and basic life skills, but not the intricacies of communication proficiency and conflict resolution. Where we have slipped is in the education of our children as it relates to the concepts of conflict resolution.

This group page will effectively discuss what types of conflict resolution practices we are employing in our schools – what is working and where there are opportunities. It will also highlight current programs, provide a listing of grant opportunities and resources available for research.We are actively looking for information on school-based conflict resolution programs in order to create a comprehensive network of professionals in this arena. Please contact Cheryl Thibodeau (thibodeau.cheryl@gmail.com) with submissions.
[Join the Group For Free Here]


Eric Cissell- In the last week, I found myself stumbling on a variety of articles covering peace programs and conflict resolution efforts in the Middle East and Africa.

The majority of the articles focused on organizations driven by democratic values that employed an array of intervention practices in order to cultivate and/or preserve democratization in volatile countries within these regions.

For example, the Carter Center was previously involved in the observation of Palestinian Elections. Acting as neutral agents within the political process, it was their intent to ensure fairness within the election procedures by deterring corruption and fostering participation by all citizens.

... But, while learning about the practices of the Carter Center and other organizations intervening in politically related activities and injecting democratic values into various states, I could not help and think about the concept of cultural universalism.




Jeff Thompson- ...So, while deciding to get People or Star Magazine which will let me know how Heidi Montag is doing (don't know who she is? Good!) and what Kim Kardashian is up to, I came across in the best seller section the book The No A$$hole Rule: Building a Civilized Workplace & Surviving One That Isn't by Robert I. Sutton, PhD.

...While going through the book, I came across on page 121 the test on how to find out if you are a certified a$$hole. While looking through it, I wondered if others in our field have read this and their thoughts on it.

I thought this could be potentially useful for conflict coaches and those helping people from the non-neutral position although mediators and ombudsman can use versions of these questions to gather more information and get the party(s) to reflect.




Matthew J. Starman- As the song goes, never discuss politics or religion. Today, I am going to break that rule. One cannot ignore the amount of political propaganda going on. Political ideologies are spewed out for all to hear in rallies hoping to reach the all important undecided vote.

I often find myself fighting a battle on the inside on which side to listen to and support. Each side often has some valid points, but some ideas make me cringe a bit. I want everyone to have a fair shake at opportunities, but why should have to pay for others?

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Podcast Series Episode #6 Do You Know USIP- the United States Institute of Peace?

Join host Jeff Thompson and guest David J. Simith, National Education Outreach Coordinator for USIP, as they discuss the work and purpose of USIP; current work USIP is involved in; and important information for those involved in conflict resolution.


More News, Jobs, Trainings & More


The Following are a Few Posts From The New Group- School Based Conflict Resolution [You Must Be a Member To View- Join For Free Here]
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iPad Suggested Apps


I came across a post by Steve Mehta detailing his quest to go paperless and how the iPad is helping. He lists some apps (applications) which he uses which helps him with his mediation and law practice.

Click this link to read Steve's full post and his description of each app [here].

Below are some apps that have helped me in my conflict resolution practice which includes mediating, training, giving presentations, consulting and planning/system design.

Dropbox: After Steve mentioned this at a talk, I went and downloaded it. Due to the iPad not having a USB port, drop box makes things much easier to transfer files. 2GB of data storage comes with the free version (which I use). You can easily sync multiple devices as well as give access to certain folders to other people you choose.

Blogpress: (see picture above) For blogging on the go (I am typing this in Australia on my iPad through this app) and when you do not have an Internet connection, this app is perfect. I can type them on the go and publish them later.

SignMyPad: This great app allows you to open PDF files and add signatures directly onto the documents. You can also add check boxes, text, dates, and check/X boxes. Admittedly I have yet to use this for writing up agreements during mediations but this is a great app to have.

Twitter: This app allows me to tweet from iPad. Simple enough!

iBrainStorm: This app is like a virtual cork board. I am able to write down quick notes either directly onto the board via 'sketch' and/or add post-its to the board via the keyboard. Great for reminders, brainstorming, and creating lists.

NotePadPro & SundryNotes: Both of these I have used for note taking during mediations. They each combine text writing via the onscreen keyboard as well as the 'sketch' mode. Neither one is perfect. NotePadPro allows you to delete either just text or drawings but does not allow you to add written keyboard text anywhere but rather always starting from the top. SundryNotes allows text to be started anywhere but erasing option is not as simple.

PDFReaderPro: This is an app that (surprise surprise!) allows you to download and read pdf files. Yo are able to store them on the iPad but you are not able to make notes on the files. I plan to check out Iannotate that Steve recommends in his post.

Keynote: This is Apple's version of PowerPoint. If you are designing a presentation on the iPad, this for me has been my only attempt. Major drawbacks include exporting is as a pdf file so you loose all your transitions if you have them included. Also, I have tried repeatedly to connect via a adaptor (costing $30) to a monitor and it has yet to work. Even if it does, for presentations, the iPad screen goes black with just an arrow to click to the next slide. That's right, you cannot see your presentation or even a clock on your iPad screen.

Accessories

Some accessories that I recommend:

Carrying Case: The official Apple carry case which has a cover and also converts to a stand to have the iPad rest in landscape or portrait mode. [See here]

Stylus: For apps like the above mentioned 'SignMyPad', this is a must. The one I have is by pogo and well worth it. [See here]

Keyboard: I use the Apple Bluetooth wireless keyboard for typing longer blog posts and documents. It runs on a AA battery and is small and easy to travel with. That said, I find using the carry case and landscape mode very useful for typing so this is really on a 'must' for those in transition or for extended writing sessions. [See Here]

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad
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Self-Test: Are You a Certified A$$hole?


I am currently traveling in Australia and while in the airport in New York City, to pass time I was looking through the magazine shop for some reading material while on the short, easy 13+ hour flight. Yes, that's AFTER the 5+ hour flight to Los Angeles.

So, while deciding to get People or Star Magazine which will let me know how Heidi Montag is doing (don't know who she is? Good!) and what Kim Kardashian is up to, I came across in the best seller section the book The No A$$hole Rule: Building a Civilized Workplace & Surviving One That Isn't by Robert I. Sutton, PhD.

I know fellow blogger and mediator (friend too, right?) Vickie Pynchon is currently working on a mediation book titled the ABC's of Mediation (or is it conflict resolution?), with "A" standing for A$$hole. Note, I am adding the "$" instead of "s" as I rarely use profanities and do not want some unknown Internet police to flag my post! However, I wonder if including this "a" word is the key to successfully writing a book on conflict?

Back to the book- admittedly i have yet to start reading the book as I bought one other, plus I brought two with me and yes, I fully admit I did also buy the People magazine issue! While going through the book, I came across on page 121 the test on how to find out if you are a certified a$$hole. While looking through it, I wondered if others in our field have read this and their thoughts on it.

I thought this could be potentially useful for conflict coaches and those helping people from the non-neutral position although mediators and ombudsman can use versions of these questions to gather more information and get the party(s) to reflect. I think if I am to ever use this test or a version of it, I might take out some the harsher wording- specifically having the word a$$hole included. I just cannot picture myself, in a neutral or non-neutral role, saying to a party, "Okay, we are now going to find out if you are an a$$hole, are you ready?"

The 24 question test is divided into three sections: What are your gut reactions to people; How do you treat other people, and how do people react to you?

I think this is a great way for people to self reflect and could help those involved in conflict look within instead of the much easier blaming others for the cause of the dispute.

Example questions include:

1. You feel surrounded by incompetent idiots- and you can't help letting them know the truth every now and then.

7. You are often jealous of your colleagues and find it difficult to be genuinely pleased for them when they do well.

17. Your jokes and teasing can get a bit nasty at times but you have to admit that they are pretty funny.

21. People often keep responding to your e-mails with hostile reactions, which often escalate into "flame wars" with these jerks.


Perhaps, we as conflict specialists, the test might help us too?

Enjoy!


- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad
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Podcast #5- Richard Rubenstein


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Episode #5

Richard Rubenstein & International Conflict

Join host Jeff Thompson and guest Richard Rubenstein from the Institute for Conflict Analysis and Resolution at George Mason University.

They discuss the new joint program between George Mason and the Mediterranean Academy of Diplomatic Studies which has created a joint Master's degree programme in conflict resolution and Mediterranean security based in Malta.

They also discuss international conflict resolution, the role history has on conflict and current conflicts.

Subscribe to the new series by click the image below:



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