USIP To Lose Funding?

The following was sent to me from ACR (Association for Conflict Resolution, I am a member) and thought it is relevant and important to pass it also along here:

As you may know, the U.S. House of Representatives has voted to eliminate funding for the United States Institute of Peace (USIP) for the remainder of the fiscal year as part of a $61 billion package of budget cuts. We in ACR leadership were shocked by this action and hope for its reversal in the Senate.

USIP was created by Congress in 1984 as a non-partisan effort during the Presidency of Ronald Reagan. It is the only congressionally mandated and funded institution to develop civilian capacity to perform international conflict management and peace-building. USIP is a federally funded independent organization to support the military, the State Department, successive administrations and the international community.

Its origins began with a legislative commission chaired by Senator Spark Matsunaga (D-Hawaii); a World War II veteran of the Army’s famed 442nd Regimental Combat Team, who believed passionately in the importance of the United States as international peacemaker. The Matsunaga Institute for Peace and Conflict Resolution located at the University of Hawaii Manoa campus was established in his name. Many of the “parents” of our field worked tirelessly for the establishment of an alternative to the Army War College. It was out of the efforts of these dedicated people that USIP was eventually born.

Now 27 years later, USIP’s programming is diverse and important. It is deeply involved in building peace in conflict zones around the world, most notably in Iraq and Afghanistan. It continues to carry out its Congressional mandate to help train civilians and military personnel and to help international organizations in the transition from war to peace.

General David Petraeus, United States Army, has praised its work in Iraq saying: “In Iraq the Institute stepped up to the plate beginning in August, 2007 to assist the 10th Mountain Division in a reconciliation effort in Mahmoudiya, a community on the southern edge of Baghdad that was once known as the ‘Triangle of Death.’” This action saved American lives and saved money. He went on to say that “USIP’s experience working closely with the U.S. military will be a great asset in developing stronger unity of effort between civilian and military elements of government.”

To put USIP’s budget in perspective, consider this:
USIP’s annual $46.5 million budget amounts to less than 18 cents per American.
USIP has cost the American public $2.58 per person over 26 years.
One soldier in Afghanistan costs $1.2 million over the course of the year. USIP’s budget equals about 39 soldiers in Afghanistan.
One soldier in Iraq costs $775,000 over the course of a year. USIP’s budget equals 60 soldiers in Iraq.
USIP’s entire budget request would not even fund the Afghan war for three hours.
For more information about the Institute, go to its website at

USIP’s record of accomplishments has proven the value of this organization and deserves our support. Now is not the right time to undermine a proven, innovative institution on the front lines that is helping to save lives and build peace and contributes to our security.

Please do whatever you can to raise awareness of USIP’s importance. Let your Congressional representatives know your concerns and please act quickly. The Senate vote on the budget could come as early as March 1, 2011, if agreement is reached on a Continuing Resolution before the deadline.

Congressional Contact Information:

To find your Senator’s number:

To find your representative’s number to ask how they voted and to tell them to reconsider:

Or, you can call 202-224-3121 and ask for the office of your senator or representative.

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Podcast #17: Transformative Mediation With Robert A. Baruch Bush

Episode #17

Transformative Mediation with Robert A. Baruch Bush

Join host Jeff Thompson and Robert A. Baruch Bush as they discuss Transformative Mediation- the history, its use and applications, as well as the the recently published source book on transformative mediation covering topics and situations where transformative mediation has been used. This includes court, divorce mediation and organizational disputes.

Read more on the book [here] and enjoy listening below:

Subscribe to the new series by click the image below:

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5 Negotiating Tips For First Time Home Buyers

Today's post comes from one of's faithful reader (yes, I do have some!), Ann Douglas.

If you are interested in submitting a guest blog post, feel free to send it along to me at mediator.jeff[at]


Homeownership is a big step and it is important to make sure that you approach it wisely. When you do find the home that you are looking for, there is often the opportunity to negotiate a price that is lower than the list price. You need to know what you are doing, however, because negotiating poorly can cause you to lose the home that you truly want.

Here are five important negotiating tips for first time homebuyers.

  1. Try not to get emotional. It can be extremely tempting to bid top dollar for a place that has everything you have ever wanted, but you could end up setting the negotiating standard so high that you can’t afford the house...
  2. Get a Comparable Market Analyses (CMA). Most real estate agents can easily supply you with a CMA, which is basically an average price range for recently sold home within the same neighborhood with the same features....
  3. Access the seller’s motivation level. There are many reasons why people sell their homes. Sometimes people are relocating for job purposes, divorce, upgrading, downsizing, or the owner passes away...
  4. Make a firm and reasonable offer. Some people who are new to the real estate market assume that in order to get the price they truly want, they should start out very low with their offer...
  5. Put everything in writing. Verbal offers are difficult to enforce. Make sure that once you and the seller have agreed upon a price and terms that everything gets printed out and signed by both parties...

Interested in reading the rest? Click [here] for the full article.
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College of Commercial Arbitrators Podcast

Episode #16 College of Commercial Arbitrators

Join host Jeff Thompson and Edna Sussman as they discuss the recent College of Commerical Arbitrators (CCA) award they received from CPR for their protocols on "Expeditious, cost-effective, commercial arbitration."

Edna Sussman explains how the protocols were developed and their impact as well as the history and purpose of the CCA.

Subscribe to the new series by click the image below:

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ACR Greater NY Conference Call For Proposals

Tenth Annual Conference - Thursday, June 23, 2011

Co Sponsored by:

ACR-GNY is soliciting proposals for its Tenth Annual Conference to be held in New York City on Thursday, June 23, 2011. Proposals must be submitted by email no later than March 4, 2011 to . Electronic submissions are required.

The 2011 Conference will provide a meeting place for 180-200 dispute resolution professionals, attorneys, academics, volunteers and students involved or interested in the following areas:
· Court-annexed ADR programs
· Community mediation
· Commercial mediation
· Commercial arbitration
· International ADR
· Family/Divorce mediation
· Workplace dispute resolution
· School-based mediation programs
· Ombuds programs
We are looking for a broad range of themes and topics, especially focused on new directions, innovations and ways of expanding the realm of ADR. The following list contains some themes, but is not exclusive:
Current issues in commercial, family, community, school or workplace ADR
Legislative developments affecting mediation or arbitration
Ethical standards for mediators
Cutting-edge developments in dispute resolution
International mediation and arbitration issues
New techniques and new applications for old techniques
Cross-cultural issues in dispute resolution
Career paths for mediators and ADR practitioners
Building an independent mediation or ADR practice
Training methods, developments and innovations
Proposal Requirements

Each proposal must contain:
Name(s) of principal presenter(s) and contact person
Email Address
Short workshop description for Conference brochure (not to exceed 75 words)
Long session description or outline of workshop (not to exceed 500 words)
Brief biographies of all presenters (not to exceed 75 words)


Conference Materials
To improve the quality of the learning experience and to qualify for CLE credits, which will be offered to attorney attendees, all workshop presenters should prepare written materials for distribution to participants. For workshops with more than one presenter, the materials may represent the entire panel. Only workshops with at least one attorney on the panel are eligible for CLE credit.

Proposal Review Process
Each proposal will be reviewed by the Conference Program Committee which will select the final Conference Workshops.

Acceptance of proposals will be made by April 1, 2011.

Conference Attendance
If your proposal is accepted, you will be entitled to a discounted registration rate as a faculty member. The presence of Conference faculty enriches the entire conference experience and your full participation in the conference is encouraged. ACR-GNY does not pay travel expenses for faculty members.

Acknowledgement of Proposal Submission
We will send a confirmation acknowledgement of your proposal.

The faculty is one of the most important elements of any conference. ACR-GNY recognizes the hard work that goes into preparing a first rate presentation. We appreciate your continued support. If you have any questions, please contact
Mary Jo Eyster, Conference Chair, at 718 768 8432 or at 718 780 7936; or email at

Mary Jo Eyster
Adjunct Associate Clinical Professor
Consumer Counseling and Bankruptcy Clinic
718 780 7994

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What's Happening In Conflict Resolution

Dynamics of Conflict Resolution--2nd Edition

Bernie Mayer- Hello friends and colleagues. For the last several months I have been working on a second edition of my 2000 bookThe Dynamics of Conflict Resolution: A Practitioner’s Guide.


In this new edition, I am trying to update the examples, bring in some of the very interesting work that has been done on conflict systems, and bring to bear the thinking that went into by next two books: Beyond Neutrality and Staying With Conflict. Many of you have read Dynamics, had it assigned to you, or used it as at text. I would very much enjoy hearing your suggestions for this revision.

NAFCM, the National Association for Community Mediation, has now released its 2011 Call for Nominations to its Board of Directors. If you're involved and/or interested in community mediation and would like to make a difference from atop the NAFCM platform, consider submitting your nomination today.

We're looking for candidates from all backgrounds, and skill sets who are unified in their desire to advance the critical work of dedicated community mediation program staffs and their volunteer mediators.
[Read More]

Featured Blogger- Jason Dykstra

(1 comment)

Posted By Cheryl Thidobeau


Sometimes The Amygdala Rules

By John C. Turley


Featured Blogger- Tom Kosakowski

read more "What's Happening In Conflict Resolution" Family Value- When Families Need Mediators

The Wall Street Journal published an article on February 5th, 2011 on the topic of Elder Mediation.

The second paragraph touches on an important topic that I think will eventually become the most critical topic (it already is for me) in mediation (italics added by me):

But while mediation may prove cheaper than litigation—and less damaging to family relationships—the field is largely unregulated. As a result, it is important to vet prospects carefully to be sure they understand the issues most significant to your family.

The area of mediation is "booming" due to baby boomers needing assistance:

Elder mediators say their profession is taking off as baby boomers seek help with aging parents. "Our clients tend to be well-educated, successful people who are used to hiring professionals for whatever services they need," says Arline Kardasis, co-founder of Elder Decisions, a mediation and training firm in Norwood, Mass.

...250 professionals have joined an elder-mediation group she helped found 18 months ago at the Association for Conflict Resolution, a professional association. Over the last two years, the number of mediators listed at has nearly doubled to 100, says Janet Mitchell, the website's co-founder.

For those of you too busy to read the article but thinking perhaps this is a niche area I would like to mediate, how much should I be charging, this is for you:

Families often hire an elder mediator to avoid high legal fees. To work with a mediator in private practice, a family can expect to spend from $150 to $350 an hour. A national network of nonprofit "community mediation" services charges little to nothing.

Overall, the article is a good description of the process and ends with helpful tips for potential baby boomers who might use mediation- great job Ann Tergesen!

Read the full article [
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Mediation Process Leaves Home Owners & Lenders Unhappy

With all the hoopla around how mediation is so grand, I thought this would be a good reality check since my blog is 'fair and balanced'. (Anyone laugh at that? Anyone??)

The Nevada Supreme Court, which oversees the Foreclosure Mediation Program, has several times in the past 18 months updated program rules in response to concerns that have arisen, but bank officials and homeowners say the program still has problems that must be addressed.

...Homeowners said the program should track how often lenders do not negotiate in good faith, and should establish a sliding scale for financial sanctions based on the lenders' track records.

In addition, Buckley said attorneys for homeowners in three different areas of the state told her of cases in which a bank charged a homeowner for the bank's half of the $400 mediation fee that the law states is to be split evenly.

Read the full article from the Las Vegas Review-Journal [Here].
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Whats Happening In Conflict Resolution

Noam Ebner- Preparing for, and participating in, Cyberweek this past October (and recuperating from it reflectively afterwards), I was struck by how ODR is constantly expanding. This seems to be a seasonal thing, as I get this feeling every Cyberweek. New people are always involved, new platforms and new thinking.

However, those of us who experienced the slow and furious pace of ADR growth know that there is a huge difference between a field’s expansion, a field’s acceptance, and a field’s mainstreaming.
To a large extent, the only one of these three that ODR professionals and academics can directly affect in a powerful manner is the field’s expansion: We can build better platforms (well, not me, but you get my meaning), design better processes, think of new areas for implementation, and more.
To a lesser degree, we can affect the field’s acceptance by the public...[Read More]
Robert A. Baruch Bush- The Association for Conflict Resolution
and the Institute for the Study of Conflict Resolution announce:
Answers to your Questions about Transformative Mediation,
in 24 Essays by Expert Practitioners and Scholars [
Read More]

Jason Dykstra (Featured ADRhub writer)- I spend a lot of time listening these days. I have to tell you, it's awesome. I also am starting to write a fair amount about listening on this blog and on Twitter as well. So why do I spend time writing and speaking (ironic isn't it?) on listening?
Because there is a true art to listening...
[Read More]

Kelly S. & Jeff Thompson- I work with the awesomest clients but keep running into these payment issues. They get busy in their work and put the payments on a back-burner. It is not their fault but it does hurt our cash flow.
There are a few ways that you can speed up the payment process, making certain clients easier to work with.
1. Payment Plans...
Visit the group [HERE] for much more valuable information

Join host Jeff Thompson and Nebraska Mediation Association's current President, Bryan Hanson (also Werner Institute Assistant Director), as they discuss the NME.
Topics include using new technology to engage and train its members, continuing mediation education and how to be an effective organization serviing mediators.
More News, Articles & Jobs
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