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Inside this issue:
ADR in the Crosshairs of Manufactured Conflict Top
The SARS disaster/fiasco and the Mad Cow scare are testing Canadians' mettle, including their collective ability to maintain societal and national cohesion. Columnists and others have correctly identified the interregional rifts and divisions that these crises are generating in Canada, or at least exacerbating. During the first SARS outbreak, Premier Ralph Klein, in a fit of exemplary statesmanship, suggested that he would not travel to Toronto unless absolutely necessary. Not to be outdone, the Ontario Minister of Agriculture recently suggested that Ontario should temporarily ban the import of Alberta beef. Although she later recanted, the damage was done. These lessons and behavior models are not lost on young and old alike.
Some opinion fashioners are bemoaning the loss of the wonderful solidarity Canadians showed during the Quebec and Manitoba Floods and during the Ice Storm and professing confusion as to how this could have happened. Unfortunately, these same columnists and others have greatly contributed to the undermining of our collective self by blithely justifying and promoting policies that blame the victims, seek to demonize the other, and promote punishment and revenge over mutual support and collective responsibility. And they have remained largely silent on the fact that Ontario's seeming inability to contain SARS may well be a consequence of the persistent undermining and fragmentation of the Health System.
This sea-change in Canadian attitudes is not surprising in and of itself. The disasters of the late nineties, although intense, threatened only the people of the areas affected. SARS and Mad Cow Disease are a threat to all Canadians. But the causes of the lack of empathy and national cohesion run deeper than this.
Since the mid-nineties, a politic of hurt, blame and suspicion has been fabricated in this country and imposed by the likes of Harris, Klein, Martin ('95 budget) et al.The undermining and fragmentation of the collective Canadian "id" has been accelerated by 9/11 and the Bush politics of social attrition and mortal redemption.Rabid globalisation and Bilderberg-ish short-sighted egoism and irresponsibility feed the fear and distrust which drive the "tearing apart" of this country and its society. Not only are we all rapidly becoming endemically suspicious of the other provinces and trying to get a leg up, we are deeply distrustful of our next-door neighbor and see him as a threat to our security, our general well-being and, not the least, our privileges.The current trend will get worse and is a logical conclusion of the "evil alien» mindset that is highly degenerative of the national social fabric.
straightjacket, imposed by either economic dominance or military might,
or both, may be in the process of husbanding a fundamental shift in Canadian
values. Solidarity, reserve and respect are rapidly giving way to might,
bluster and blame, the fertility drugs of distrust, hate and conflict.
This paradigm shift has to concern ADR theorists and practitioners everywhere.
Conflict is in! Conflict
prevention and resolution are out! Thus, the prospect of enlightened government
policy support for ADR programs and practices holds little promise beyond
lip service as the political fearmongers and the apostles of the so-called
"security industry" orchestrate the highjacking of public resources
from the principles of wellness, equity and social cohesion to a pervasive
and perverse cocktail of shredded civil rights, criminalisation of dissent
and, dangerously, criminalisation of poverty. The ADR community has its
work cut out and must work hard at counteracting this paradigm shift.
Or at least at imagining and mapping out avenues for hope and societal
reconstruction once this newly minted paradigm collapses on its own unsustainability.
The Bilderberg Conference secretly brings together the world's 100 leading business moguls and political power-brokers to map out the course of so-called globalisation and the geo-political master design. Much of what drives world events has been blueprinted ahead of time at this annual conference.
This moment in history demands that we examine seriously and extensively whether we are convinced of the efficacy of force when it comes to our security.
After the suicide
attacks of September 11, 2001 (9/11), there were cries of "our world
has changed". At the time, including in this Newsletter, I questioned
whose world had changed. Just what was the impact, if any, throughout
the world other than "our world"?
In light of the invasion
of Afghanistan and now Iraq by the United States and the United Kingdom,
it can be claimed that the world is changing. 9/11 launched a moment in
history that may have disastrous effects for years to come. There were
choices to be made as to what the response to 9/11 would be. And as we
have witnessed, the choice has been unbridled force. A new cycle of violence
has been unleashed.
The road map that the US has selected and outlined in the Bush Doctrine pushes the world in an extremely dangerous direction. What options are there for us to counteract this empire building to which we are now bearing witness? As Jonathan Schell questions, "How do you wean politics from its reliance on force"?
A partial answer lies
in the world-wide non-violent protests to the invasion of Iraq as well
as in other directions in specific regions of the world. An analytical
look at the collapse of the Soviet Union shows that an iterative process
of civil society action made a substantial contribution to the implosion
of that regime. The creation of the European Union suggests that the paradigm
of nation-building and absolute state sovereignty can give way to the
possibility of different state arrangements.
This moment in history
demands that we examine seriously and extensively whether we are convinced
of the efficacy of force when it comes to our security. Or is it time
to give cooperative power a chance?
(F. Storie acknowledges
that the thinking represented here has been informed by Jonathan Schell.
His book, The Unconquerable World, was published in May.)
Program is actively involved with a number of initiatives at this point
in time. The Citizenship Rights and Responsibilities, Pakistan is moving
forward after a tentative start due to the invasion of Afghanistan. F.
Storie, the Project's Director, spent time in Pakistan in November 2002
and in February 2003. As one might anticipate, the security situation
on the ground is always a question mark. One interesting potential emerging
from CIIAN/CBIE's work with the Pakistani partners is the possibility
of a comparative study on the conceptualizations of citizenship, human
rights, and conflict resolution by Pakistanis and Canadians.
In a past newsletter,
we highlighted some of the findings of a review of the Ministry of Justice's
mediation program in Sri Lanka. For example, a disturbing form of coercive
mediation appeared to be the norm. The Ministry has moved forward with
a number of the Review's recommendations including standards of practice
and a code of conduct for mediators supported by a revised training program.
Its directives are to be commended for embracing these changes.
CIIAN has begun formulating
a program for collaborative interaction with development NGOs who are
pursuing peacebuilding programs in conflict zones. The program focuses
on programming through a conflict lens. See R. Ramkay's article in this
newsletter. Initiatives in Nepal and one or two African countries are
being pursued through partners on the ground. Keep tuned for developments.
PROGRAMS UPDATE Top
In the Fall issue
of CIIAN News, CIIAN and MDR Associates Conflict Resolution Inc. announced
its collaboration wherein MDR Associates has been licensed to develop
and deliver CIIAN's Domestic Training Program across the country. MDR
Associates is a company devoted to dispute resolution practice and training
and whose associates have many years of experience in conflict resolution
and training in all areas of conflict management and conflict prevention.
Program was founded in the development of training programs with a strong
integration of theoretical knowledge and practical skills delivered by
highly seasoned dispute resolution professionals. We have maintained the
philosophy of this core foundation in our development of the training
materials and the professional development of trainers.
We now offer four,
four-day modules in the Practitioner Program:
Module I: Conflict
Theory, Negotiation and Introduction to Mediation This Module provides
an extensive immersion into ADR and provides the conflict theory and conflict
management skills necessary to embark into the field of conflict resolution.
This module also provides participants with the theory and practice of
interest based negotiations and how to negotiate in all environments.
Module II: Mediation
In this module students will learn how to mediate. They will study and
practice the complete mediation process from pre-mediation screening and
interviewing, through to the mediation session, agreement writing and
Module III: Advanced
Negotiation and Mediation This Module deepens the skills and competencies
of participants in negotiation and mediation. The challenges of assisting
in more conflicted disputes, including multi-party, multi issue disputes
are dealt with in a clinical skills development learning environment.
Module IV: Dispute
Resolution in the Workplace This Module focuses on negotiation and mediation
skills specific to the workplace environment. Participants will explore
how to use interest-based techniques in the workplace environment, performance
management and human rights/harassment issues. Both unionized and non-unionized
work environments will be explored.
The modules can be
taken individually or as part of an overall program. Upon completion of
Modules I and II, students are granted a Certificate in ADR; and, upon
completion of Modules III and IV, students are granted an Advanced Certificate
The courses have been
extremely well received by participants. In particular, students have
commented on the integration of theory and practical skills and the high
level of instruction. Students also like the smaller class sizes and the
Here are a few comments
from participants in our recent courses:
"Best course I have been on - trainers inspired interaction and didn't let the course go off track - kept it interesting"
"I will be able to apply the learning in my personal life and everyday at work"
"Definitely a value-added learning experience"
"Excellent knowledgeable, humorous teachers - excellent preparation and delivery of materials"
In addition to the
Practitioner Program, we are responding to our clients' requests for programs
that offer continued learning and skill development that are one and two
days in length. These workshops are intended to provide participants with
focused and intense learning in identified areas.
Ben Hoffman Scholarship
Last winter, MDR Associates
established the Ben Hoffman Scholarship in honor of Dr. Ben Hoffman, founder
of the CIIAN. The Ben Hoffman Scholarship is awarded annually and is open
to anyone from the Canadian not-for-profit sector who shows interest and
promise in the field of Alternative Dispute Resolution and who uses ADR
skills in the course of his or her normal employment duties. The Scholarship
covers the tuition fees related to Module I and Module II of CIIAN's Practitioner
Program. A copy of the application form for the scholarship is included
in this newsletter.
New Head Offices
and Training Facility
In August, MDR Associates
and CIIAN will be moving to a new location with an excellent training
facility on site. We are very excited about this move. The new address
For more information
on the Practitioner Program, Specialized Workshops and the Ben Hoffman
Scholarship please contact:
Challenges in the New Millennium Top
Canada can and must
continue to increase its role and effectiveness in peacebuilding through
leadership, sustained commitment and capacity building.
More effective peacebuilding
interventions are primarily dependent on political commitment and the
dedication of adequate financial and human resources beyond the limits
of budget or electoral cycles.
The Canadian Peacebuilding
Coordinating Committee, a network of more than 60 Canadian non-governmental
organizations and individuals involved in various aspects of conflict
prevention, resolution and post-conflict reconstruction and rehabilitation,
is primarily concerned with building and sustaining peace internationally.
First in a Changing World
Since the mid-1990s,
the Canadian government has emphasized the promotion of people's safety
from violence or threat of violence. This aspect of Canadian foreign policy
is, in part, a projection of values such as tolerance, democracy and respect
for human rights, as well as economic and security considerations. Safeguarding
people from violence is an approach widely shared by Canadian non-governmental
organizations operating internationally and is evident in the Canadian
public's responses to violent conflict around the globe.
The United States-led
invasion of Iraq has sent shockwaves around the globe that may take decades
to subside. The late dawn of the "new American century" has
most recently been marked by the current US administration's indifference
to massive global public and diplomatic opposition to war against Iraq
and previously by opposition to the establishment of the International
Criminal Court, abandonment of the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty and rejection
of the Kyoto Protocol to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate
Now there are new
questions about how working multilaterally for peace may be affected by
unilateral pressures and actions. In addition, the clear and present danger
of an upsurge in terrorism has added another dimension to an already complex
environment for non-governmental and governmental efforts at building
There is considerable
consensus on several core issues among Canadian non-governmental organizations
involved in peacebuilding:
The Canadian Peacebuilding Coordinating Committee has recently joined with the European Centre for Conflict Prevention and others around the world in what is expected to be a sustained process of raising awareness and developing more effective mechanisms to prevent violent conflict. The international non-governmental process on conflict prevention is a concept arising from the UN Secretary-General's Report of June 2001 on the Prevention of Armed Conflict, which specifically mentions the role of civil society in conflict prevention.
Non-governmental and civil society organizations are now beginning to work in concert to:
Strengthen regional networks among civil society practitioners and academics, and weave these together into a global conflict prevention network.
Promote analysis and theoretical development that will help the conflict prevention community play a more effective role in international deliberations.
Produce a UN Action
Plan on Conflict Prevention, possibly embodied in a Security Council Resolution,
which will guide the international community as it seeks non-violent solutions
to armed conflict in the coming decades. This initiative can be an effective
vehicle to increase collaborative conflict prevention analysis, process
design and action between government and Canadian non-governmental actors
and with their partners internationally.
The Government of Canada should engage with Canadian civil society organizations and international partners - the UN, other intergovernmental organizations, regional and local partners - in helping to leverage a long-overdue shift from a culture of reaction to conflict to one of prevention,
That engagement should
aim at development of practical, responsive mechanisms and multilateral
and multi-sectoral action on emerging conflicts and more effective collaborative
conflict prevention efforts on the ground.
in peacemaking and peacebuilding takes place through multilateral and
multi-sectoral efforts, where a number of governmental and intergovernmental
actors, civil society organizations and others are involved in a broad
range of activities -- political, relief, development, or security related.
In these complex situations, obstacles to effective collaboration include
the diversity of potential collaborators, their methods and objectives,
differing mandates, capacities, areas of historical engagement and the
shortcoming of coordination processes.
Canada can play a more active and visible role in the peaceful resolution and transformation of conflicts by focusing more closely on a limited number of specific conflicts and demonstrating the political will and committing the necessary resources to sustain engagement.
aimed at conflict prevention, the resolution of existing conflicts or
post-conflict efforts to guard against the recurrence of violence can
be substantially strengthened through the development of long-term, collaborative
strategies with non-governmental actors.
Rehabilitation and Reintegration
Leone, Timor, Bosnia, Cambodia, Guatemala and other war-torn societies
have demonstrated that while there are many common elements of transitions
from war to peace, there are no pat formulas for managing those transitions
and no firm guarantees of ultimate success.
Canada, with its imperfections, can and has served as a model of good governance and democratic practice for post-war societies or those seeking to avert widespread conflict. We should continue to encourage these types of processes to take root and flourish. In general, priority issues for promoting better governance and democratization include:
peace is ultimately dependent on political and social processes of peaceful
conflict resolution and peaceful political change, Canada should focus
on promoting better governance and democratization in post-conflict reconstruction
and rehabilitation processes.
Canada's foreign policy
lacks coherence, with decisions often being made in a reactive and ad
hoc manner and without reference to the wide range of policy interests
among Canadians, throughout various government departments, and particularly
beyond DFAIT, the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) and
the Department of National Defence. Even between the three traditional
foreign policy-focused departments, co-operation has sometimes been tortuous.
Restructuring institutional frameworks and procedures aimed at providing greater coherence in the development and implementation of Canadian foreign policy should include specific input from the non-governmental community involved in human security and peacebuilding issues and be part of a public process;
Cross-sectoral/departmental participants in activities related to peacebuilding should meet on at least a quarterly basis under the auspices of the Interdepartmental Peacebuilding Working Group or the Program Advisory Committee on Human Security and the Canadian Peacebuilding Coordinating Committee to establish more consensual understanding of strategic issues and objectives, as well as constructive linkages between different programming initiatives.
A key focus of such
interdepartmental/NGO meetings should be to collectively share information,
update analysis of conflict or pre-conflict situations, and refine peacebuilding
planning and implementation.
Canada is one of the wealthiest countries in the world and has an under-utilized national capacity to leverage peacebuilding efforts with substantial amounts of targeted development assistance and increased diplomatic engagement.
Canadian civil society
actors, academics, diplomats and other officials who have been engaged
in peacebuilding for more than a decade represent a tremendous pool to
draw on if we choose to be part of a constructive evaluation of peacebuilding
efforts. This should lead to development of a framework for strengthening
Canadian participation in collaborative peacebuilding activities in countries
Development of an effective framework for greater Canadian capacity to design, support and implement peacebuilding programs with other international partners should be rooted in a wide-ranging and constructive assessment of international and Canadian peacebuilding efforts to date.
The annual Peacebuilding
and Human Security Consultations co-hosted by the Department of Foreign
Affairs and International Trade, the Canadian Peacebuilding Coordinating
Committee and the Canadian Consortium on Human Security should focus on
highlighting emerging potential conflicts (prevention), support for existing
peace processes (conflict transformation), and reconstruction and rehabilitation
challenges (post-conflict peacebuiliding).
has begun work in the conflict prevention field. This agenda emerged in
1997 with the Carnegie Commission's report on "Preventing Deadly
Conflict" and has received strong endorsement from UN Secretary General,
Kofi Annan, in "The Prevention of Armed Conflict" (2001). Other
reports and policy papers have subsequently added their voices to the
call for preventive measures. The key message behind all these documents
is that deadly conflict is avoidable (and very costly in both economic
and social terms), and leaders, intergovernmental bodies, international
institutions and civil society organizations should devote their resources
to preventing conflict, as opposed to reacting to violence once it has
emerged. Examples such as the genocide in Rwanda, atrocities in Sierra
Leone and ethnic cleansing in the Balkans serve as reminders of the failure
of conflict reaction strategies.
It is extremely difficult,
if not impossible, for organizations working in the fields of development,
humanitarian aid, policy & research in conflict zones to avoid working
from a framework of conflict prevention, as it has begun to be the focus
of many international program initiatives, as well as the emphasis of
funders. Yet the field of conflict prevention has not yet sorted out who
is doing what and why. Some NGOs working in conflict zones label their
work as "conflict prevention activities", without actually altering
their programming in any way. Funders without strong policies in conflict
prevention can't be expected to judge one set of activities as better
than any others in preventing conflict. Moreover, because of the competition
for limited funds to carry out this work, the various actors working in
conflict prevention often work in isolation from one another, weakening
the preventive impact they could have with coordinated actions.
Early warning systems,
such as those developed at FEWER, Saferword and International Alert, combined
with solid conflict analysis and programming that emphasizes economic
diversification, income redistribution, health and education improvement,
institutional strengthening and the development of an active citizenry,
could assist to prevent violent conflict in those countries at greater
risk. Of course, the global community, including governments, multilateral
organizations and civil society groups, has to also demonstrate the political
will, not to mention financial support, to actively pursue such a direction.
So far, we haven't yet seen the kind of coordinated commitment and action
that is necessary for conflict prevention to truly work.
A recent World Bank
report, "Breaking the Conflict Trap: Civil War and Development Policy"
(2003), persuasively argues that economic characteristics of a country
have a greater impact on the likelihood of violent conflict than is currently
recognized. In fact, the report asserts that civil war should be viewed
as the failure of development. While an emphasis on development would
be welcomed to alleviate much suffering in the world, the tools and culture
of violence, which is our current global legacy, is not addressed by an
emphasis on development alone. Development itself may be a destabilizing
force, since it modifies the status quo. A strategy to manage the conflict
emerging from instability must also be considered in the development plan.
The relationship between
development and conflict is multifaceted and complex. Looking at many
of the countries currently experiencing violent conflict, it is clear
that a lack of development - economic and social, as well as institutional
- has contributed to the conflict. Yet, once conflict has broken out,
addressing root causes of underdevelopment is often not enough to end
the war. Nor is it enough to build the peace. So how can it be enough
to prevent war?
Analysis and programming
in conflict prevention need to take into account international, regional,
national and local conditions. For example, the easy acquisition of small
arms to fuel civil wars is not merely a national problem. In Africa, reducing
small arms must be a project taken on at a regional level, as well as
at the national and local. Moreover, programming does have to engage at
macro, meso and micro levels - meaning that institutions need to be developed
and/or strengthened at the same time as local community capacity to participate
in new institutions is being nurtured. Short, medium and long term needs
must be planned for at the same time, so that development can follow a
path that moves in a single direction. This may mean that conflict management
programs and education are planned for before economic redistribution
strategies are developed, for example.
The field of conflict
prevention is in its own developmental phase. It is beginning to be enriched
through multidisciplinary dialogue and research. For the practitioner,
policy maker and researcher in the field, it is an exciting time for learning.
NEWS FEATURE: TWO CANADIAN UNIVERSITY CONFLICT STUDIES PROGRAMS
Conflict is an inevitable
part of life. In our increasingly complex and diverse society, when conflict
is not properly addressed, it can destroy relationships, paralyze organizations
and lead to costly and oftentimes ineffective litigation. Knowing how
to recognize and deal effectively with conflict is an essential management
tool and life skill. While many organizations continue to view conflict
as a problem, an increasing number of managers are recognizing conflict
as an opportunity to enhance relationships by engaging stakeholders in
collaborative and creative problem solving.
Graduate Certificate program in Conflict Resolution (GCCR) has been helping
working professionals develop a set of core competencies to understand
and effectively intervene in conflict situations since 1997. This specialized
graduate level program provides educators, health care workers, social
workers, law enforcement officials, human resource professionals, lawyers,
and managers in public, private-sector and not-for-profit organizations
with the tools they need to enhance their performance and achieve more
desirable outcomes in their professional and personal lives. Professionals
already experienced in conflict resolution learn new and more effective
techniques as well as gain a better understanding of the principles that
underlie their application. The GCCR program is recognized with academic
credits at the graduate level.
The GCCR program combines an interdisciplinary study of the theoretical foundations of conflict resolution with practical skill development. As a student in this program you will learn to:
The aim of the GCCR
program is to enable students to understand conflict and intervene in
conflict situations to help empower individuals, groups and organizations
better resolve conflict. Emphasis is directed toward teaching students
to do this interactively, creatively and through the reflective application
of knowledge and skills. Courses have academic and professional orientations
that emphasize theory-informed and reflective practice. They are summer
intensive and offered in an executive-style format with classes having
approximately 20 students. Course titles and Faculty include: Theories
of Conflict Resolution (Cheryl Picard), Introduction to Conflict Resolution
and Mediation (Rena Ramkay), Advanced Conflict Resolution and Mediation
(Cheryl Picard), Organizational Conflict (Michael Lang), Multi-party,
Multi-issue Conflict Resolution and Consensus Building (Larry Sherman).
Assessment is a critical
component of the GCCR program and throughout the program; students are
encouraged to reflect on the development of their skills through an Independent
Learning Initiative (ILI). The ILI offers individually focused strategies
to enhance students' skills as effective conflict managers, mediators,
and communicators. Furthermore, after completion of course work, students
participate in an assessment of their ability to integrate theory and
practice in a simulated real-life situation and receive feedback from
faculty and CR professionals on their readiness to work in the field.
Applicants must normally
have an Honours BA. Special permission for admission may be granted on
the basis of experience and related training. For information about applying,
courses and fees, please visit our web site at www.carleton.ca/law/conflict.
Or, contact Dr. Cheryl Picard, Director, Graduate Certificate in Conflict
Resolution, Department of Law Carleton University, 1125 Colonel By Drive,
Ottawa, ON K1S 5B6 Canada, Tel: (613) 520-3690 Fax: (613) 520-4467 Email:
ROADS UNIVERSITY Top
Royal Roads University
has developed innovative and relevant programs that provide professionals
with the theoretical knowledge and understanding required to help manage
conflict and craft solutions for real world problems. The division of
Peace and Conflict Studies at RRU offers two Master of Arts programs,
an undergraduate completion degree, a graduate diploma and several executive
education programs. The programs are designed for working professionals
and the degree programs are offered over two years through a combination
of Internet studies and short residencies at RRU's campus in Victoria,
The MA in Conflict Analysis and Management is an interdisciplinary program that provides both the theoretical and practical skills necessary to identify, analyze, and manage group conflict in a variety of international and domestic arenas. In addition to core courses, learners have the opportunity for focused study in one of the areas of concentration offered by the division:
The Human Security
and Peacebuilding program is designed to produce international leaders
in humanitarian intervention, social reconstruction, peacemaking, or peacebuilding.
Created for those who work overseas in zones of potential conflict or
where intrastate conflict has occurred, this interdisciplinary program
provides both theoretical and practical skills necessary to help build
peace and restore civil society to fractured countries. The program also
features two unique elements: every learner will be matched with a mentor
in the field and every learner without significant international peace
building experience will undertake a six-month professional field practice
with an overseas organization.
The Bachelor of Arts
in Justice Studies is designed for those who wish to work in the broad
area of justice services where a law degree is not required. This degree
completion program (years three and four) provides the general knowledge
and skills required by justice service workers in Canada or abroad, including
those working with Aboriginal peoples. It also provides a solid education
for learners who intend to continue with law school or graduate studies
in criminology, sociology, political science, or with graduate work in
Peace and Conflict Studies at Royal Roads University.
The graduate diploma
in conflict analysis and management provides substantial coverage of the
theoretical foundation and intervention strategies in the field of conflict
analysis and management. In addition to core courses, learners have the
opportunity for focused study in one of the areas of concentration offered
by the division. Learners who wish to continue their studies towards completion
of the MA in Conflict Analysis and Management are granted full advanced
credit in this program.
The division also offers three executive education programs:
Customized executive education programs can also be arranged. For more information about the peace and conflict programs at RRU, check www.royalroads.ca or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Most conflict students
and practitioners will have some experience with using metaphor and story
in some way. However, for many of us, using ritual in mediation may seem
book Bridging Troubled Waters: Conflict Resolution from the Heart is about
exploring conflict creatively and relationally. For LeBaron, every encounter
with conflict is a group expedition within which we use our whole selves
- our minds, bodies, hearts and spirits - individually and collectively.
Each expedition occurs within the context of our unique, yet universal,
life's journey. This book is intended to introduce us to our own process
of discovering what we need to be and become a "good" conflict
Reading the book is
itself an excursion into a limitless realm of imagery, imagination, activity
and connectivity. Each excursion into it gives us, as readers, an opportunity
to go wherever we choose to go, within it or beyond it.
In a nutshell, the
book has four parts:
Part 1: Outline of
a creative, relational approach to conflict, including LeBaron's seven
principles of that approach;
The creative, relational,
artful approach presented by LeBaron does not reject the scientific approach
and the analytical methods and tools that most of us have been trained
in and have used as our primary stock in trade. Rather, the holistic,
creative approach builds on and goes way beyond the traditional scientific
approach. For example, creative ways of knowing - emotional and physical
feelings, intuition, imagination and human connection - are ways to supplement
the old stand-by, the scientific method of observation and deduction,
that has been the mainstay of the Western world for several centuries.
The important thing that this book makes clear is that a holistic approach
to conflict bridging and guiding requires that we develop and use all
of these capacities, these ways of knowing and discovering, and not let
any one way preclude or limit another.
Part Two is the essential
core of the book. It presents and illustrates capacities and resources
we need as creative conflict explorers in relational realms. Emotional
intelligence and fluency, somatic (physiological) capacities - senses
and sensations - imagination, intuition and what LeBaron calls "connected
ways of knowing - ways often unacknowledged yet as vital as the food we
eat. Together, emotional, physical, imaginative, and connected ways of
knowing are facets of creativity essential to resolving conflict. The
heart, body and imagination in dialogue with the head provide us reliable
ways through conflict resolution. Connected ways of knowing are the hub
of the wheel
" (page 138).
Why are these capacities
of heart, body, imagination and spirit essential to relational conflict
explorers? Some aspects of conflict are observable and scientifically
knowable and some are not. We may speak of dimensions of conflict that
are subconscious, intangible or even transcendent. As LeBaron says, our
modern 20th-century Western world trusted and accepted as reliable only
scientific ways of knowing. However, our 21st-century postmodern world
is starting to recognize and explore new ways of knowing - of accessing
the "invisible" sources of deep-rooted conflict. As LeBaron
illustrates, these creative ways of knowing are real and valid capacities
that all people have and that all of us can develop and apply at some
of knowing, centered in relationship, remind us that conflicts are part
of relational systems. The ways we construct our identities and relate
to each other are informed by our ways of making meaning
to know ourselves through relationships and the stories we co-create.
Only by making the invisible visible, by naming and exploring meanings
related to conflicts, can we address issues connected to who we believe
we are and how we see the world. Conflicts that matter, that may be difficult
to resolve, always involve this meaning-making level." (Page 138-139)
LeBaron helps us to
realize that connected ways of "knowing", drawing on head, heart,
body and spirit, are really ways of co-creating, ways that participants
in the process make meaning together. These acts of "knowing",
of making meaning together, are themselves the bridges that transform
the conflict. In this, I believe that LeBaron's creative, holistic approach
fundamentally breaks with the traditional scientific approach. In the
latter, we separate discovery and understanding from negotiating, changing
and "fixing". That is why we have structured our mediation process
Part Three of Bridging
Troubled Waters presents three types of creative tools for bridging conflict
meanings and identities:
As LeBaron says: "We
need creative tools because they have currency in the places where meaning
is made and where expression is symbolic - levels not easily accessible
Metaphor, ritual and story are tools to access
this level." (Page 181). Chapters Six, Seven and Eight are a useful
and systematic presentation of these three types of tools, both what they
are and how, why and when they can be used in conflict training and intervention
situations. Metaphors are windows and stories are pathways that allow
parties in conflict to see and go to the otherwise inaccessible troubled
waters of their conflict and to do that together.
Most conflict students and practitioners will have some experience with using metaphor and story in some way. However, for many of us, using ritual in mediation may seem completely new. Most of us will be familiar with circle processes and can appreciate their ritual dimension. Beyond that, the notion of ritual may bring to mind candles, soft music, magic and mysticism. However, rituals pervade all human interaction, including how we meet and greet, take our leave and form and end relationships. Broadly speaking, a ritual is any activity that has some symbolic meaning.
The first part of Chapter Eight illustrates the use of ritual:
The last part of Chapter
Eight is a very useful discussion of creating (improvising or designing)
rituals in conflict situations. According to LeBaron: "Rituals work
best when they are personal to involved parties or when they catch the
spirit of the group. So a ritual relating to healing may work well with
physicians, whereas a ritual involving harmony may work well with musicians
or environmentalists" (page 274). The examples described in this
chapter include drawing, playing a particular piece of music, gathering
in different rooms, prayer, and silence or symbolic activity at the beginning
of a joint session.
Part Four of Bridging
Troubled Waters is a discussion of some third-party roles and practices
of a conflict expedition guide. This relatively short section of 23 pages
addresses what a third party needs "in the way of resources for the
journey through conflict", practices for developing third party skill,
wisdom and leadership and ability and creativity to "help compose
creative interventions". The last few pages of the book is a list
of practice tips for "integrating multiple ways of knowing"
into a mediation process. As we might expect, the creative holistic approach
to bridging conflict requires third party practitioners to be fluid and
flexible, empathic and attentive, open, curious and spacious and very
much attuned to the creative opportunities for transition and transformation
that exist in every conflict.
In the last Part of
the book, we re-visit the seven mountains, which were introduced in Part
One as the principles of a creative, relational approach to conflict.
In Part One, LeBaron identified seven principles of a creative, relational
approach to conflict, which she named as seven mountains. Making these
principles mountains rather than, say, guiding lights or beacons (which
is the metaphor I have used previously for guiding principles of mediation)
is very interesting. In effect, LeBaron says that for each of us to really
understand and live these principles in a way that is meaningful and applicable
for us as conflict guides, we need to climb each mountain and survey our
world from the context and height of that mountain. We learn going up
each mountain and we learn coming back down. And, we learn something new
each time we scale one of them.
Whereas Parts Two
and Three of the book are about the places we go and the things we do
as conflict explorers, Part One is about being - our being and becoming
a conflict guide. The seven mountains are: Circle Mountain (a holistic
approach), Heart Mountain (relationship as resource), Magic Mountain (welcoming
surprises), Goldmine Mountain (involving our whole selves), Noble Mountain
(being our teachings), Mirror Mountain (transcending limitations), Invention
Mountain (creative tools). By climbing and spending time on each of these
seven mountains, we grow in the vision, resourcefulness, balance, integrity
and courage we need to seek and confront the forces of human conflict.
According to Michelle LeBaron, each of these mountains is a dimension
of creative conflict practice that we may use as a perspective to reflect
on and cultivate our ongoing growth and development as conflict explorers
and conflict guides.
Before describing my journey since obtaining my certificate from CIIAN in 1996, I would like to say how much I enjoyed and appreciated the courses offered in this program. The concepts and practices taught and modeled by the professional facilitators and staff have had a profound impact on my life. From a very competitive, positional, judgmental and "monologuistc" mind-set, I have moved and continue to move towards a more collaborative, open, flexible and 'curious' way of being which adds richness and meaning to my life every day. Thank you CIIAN for this extraordinary opportunity!
My work experience has been very diverse since 1996. The 1st challenge I accepted was working with other professionals, teachers and students setting up peer mediation programs in schools in the Ottawa area. Using methods learned from the Children's Creative Response to Conflict group, we developed age-appropriate and dynamic training that was well received by the students. The experience of working with young people was very gratifying. I recently ran into a former student-mediator and asked him: "What is one thing you remember from this experience?" to which he replied: "There are always two sides to every story." What a difference it would make in the world if people simply stopped to listen and acknowledge the other's story as this young person had learned to do!
At about the same
time, I started volunteering at the Dispute Resolution Centre, a victim-offender
diversion program, founded by Carole Eldrige and Denise Moore, two very
knowledgeable and respected professionals in the field. This was my first
experience in mediation and some of the most memorable moments of my career
relate back to this period of my life. I am reminded in particular of
a young woman, mother of two small children, who sustained serious, permanent
bodily injuries as a result of a motor vehicle accident caused by a drunk
driver. After two lengthy sessions a year apart between her and the offender,
she was able to offer forgiveness to this man. To paraphrase her words,
his sincere remorse and concrete efforts to transform his life and become
a productive member of society gave meaning to her pain and grief, making
it more bearable. The memory of these moments still moves me deeply.
In addition to my
mediation practice, I have developed and delivered innumerable workshops
in both official languages for the public sector and private industry
in conflict management, interest-based communication/negotiation, anger
management and mediation. My use of visual aids, which solicit both sides
of the brain and facilitate learning, make my training rather unique.
For the last seven years, I have also been coordinating, with Professor
John Manwering, the negotiation and mediation course for 1st year law
students registered in the French program.
The last two years,
I have become acquainted with the narrative approach to mediation. I find
these practices complement well the interest-based and transformative
approaches. Although some have emphasized the differences between these
practices, I have focused on commonalities and complementariness. The
narrative practices of seeing people as experts in their own lives, of
treating problems as separate from them and of navigating between the
landscape of action and of meaning have made a critical difference in
my practice, especially when parties are caught in the grip of destructive
patterns of interaction. I am proud to have become a member of the Glebe
Institute, directed by David Paré and Mishka Lysack, which specializes
in narrative practices and advocates for just relationships and healthy
Last year I was blessed
once again to meet an extraordinary person, Sylvie Lamoureux, who has
since become a friend and associate. Sylvie, who, like me, is a lawyer
by training, comes with a very rich and diverse life experience in management
and leadership in the public and private sectors. Together we have formed
the firm Titley-Lamoureux & Associates and offer bilingual mediation,
training and coaching services. I am looking forward to this new chapter
of my life.
1. Peter Bishop (613)
The above named practitioners
are registered with the Canadian International Institute of Applied Negotiation
(CIIAN). Registration attests to the fact that they have successfully
completed the Institute's 120 hour program and submitted a Practitioner's
Portfolio which includes subscription to a code of practice. The Institute,
however, is not a governing body and is not responsible for the practice
of those listed. We do, however, provide these names to potential clients.
UPCOMING CIIAN COURSES... Top
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Module II August 25-28,
Module III October
Module IV November
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