Mediation


Mediation is one of the major tools of conflict resolution that CEMPROC supports and teaches. While the focus of CEMPROC's programming is on training and education, we do also provide mediation services and referrals. Executive Director Jeff Pugh offers mediation services in Baltimore, MD and surrounding areas, while Ecuador Director Diana Palacios provides mediation services in Quito, Ecuador. For more information, Contact Us. Outside of these areas, we can attempt to provide referrals to other mediators; a good source for such referrals is Mediate.com, an online portal for conflict resolution information.




e-Newsletter Article by Jeff Pugh Related to Mediation


The Letter from the Executive Director in the Winter/Spring 2006 newsletter explains how mediation relates to other conflict resolution and development programs in international peacebuilding:

Several weeks ago, I celebrated with a married couple who had successfully reached an agreement in mediation to give their relationship a second chance, having inflicted much pain on each other. When we had first begun the mediation several months before, one of them stalked out of the session in despair. The person declared that there was no purpose in continuing, that the hurt and distrust was too great to salvage the marriage. I was discouraged that I seemed unable to help them. Over a month passed, and then out of the blue, the couple scheduled another session. During the interim period, they had thought about the issues that had been hashed out during the first session, reflecting on some of the feelings that came out during that heated discussion. After working through all of this, they had decided to try again, living together again as they rebuilt their shattered marriage. Session after session, the process of mediation allowed them the opportunity to communicate their feelings, share their basic needs and insecurities, and build a plan to repair their relationship. When they finally put the very detailed plan into writing and signed it, the relief and hope on their faces was obvious.

Peace is not usually a fluffy, cute, cuddly phenomenon that is achieved easily. Finding resolution to conflict can be the result of a long and difficult process of trustbuilding and reconciliation. Rebuilding a devastated marriage can be a complex and tough, but ultimately rewarding, process. Likewise, CEMPROC approaches global peacebuilding as an ongoing process of development and capacity building. We are here for the long haul. By training individuals in personal conflict resolution skills, we are creating peacemakers...one person at a time. This in turn strengthens the capability of the broader society to deal with conflict in an effective, peaceful, and just manner. It took time for the couple to think about what they had experienced in that first unsuccessful session and decide to make a real commitment to finding a solution. Peacebuilding in the international context often follows a similar path. When CEMPROC programs teach a child appropriate and nonviolent ways to communicate frustration, we are planting seeds. When we empower neighbors to overcome stereotypes and engage in meaningful dialogue with each other, we are planting seeds. When we help instill in college students (future world leaders) a deep respect for peaceful and just approaches to resolving conflict, we are planting seeds, even if it may take quite a bit of time for them to bear fruit. Having planted these seeds of peace, the exciting part is to watch them grow!