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Interest in Mediation

Interest in Mediation

How did you get into mediation?

 

Transcript

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I think it probably really started when I worked at the anti‐discrimination board in the early days of the Anti‐Discrimination, which is legislation here in the State of New South Wales in Australia. Legislation enacted in ’74 and in ’79 I got a job at the Anti‐Discrimination Board and ended up head of Community Relations. And in that process we used to, the conciliation arm, conciliated

complaints and we went in afterwards as the community relations people to clean up the mess that a dispute had left. So, if there had been a sexual harassment complaint in a hotel, we would go in and train the hotel staff in understanding what’s a joke and what’s sexual harassment.

 

And gradually over time the roles, they didn’t merge because conciliation was always quite separate and remains separate from community education, community relations. But one day my colleague Greg [Church] who’s now an academic and a writer in this area, and a very fine one, said to me, “You know this stuff that we do that we call, that you call community conciliation, where you go in afterwards and talk to not just the parties, but to the people affected or who heard about the dispute, the community of people in a country, town, or hotel whatever it might of been, it’s got a name. It’s called mediation.” So we got ourselves trained. And that was in 1980. The scales kind of fell from my eyes and I realized that what we had been fiddling around with in the dark had actually been done for a number of years, probably for generations in some societies, so that’s how it began. And one way or another I’ve been doing it ever since.

About the mediator

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Joanna has been working with groups as a mediator for over 20years in highly sensitive inter-racial and political settings all over the world. In 2001 she became chairman of LEADR, Australia’s largest non for profit dispute resolution organisation and in 2006 became a visiting fellow at LEADR. She was a member of the administrative appeals tribunal for 10 years and later a member of the National Native Title Tribunal where she mediated land cla... View Mediator