Please upgrade your browser.

Leaving the US to Mediate Abroad

Leaving the US to Mediate Abroad

Why did you leave the US to start a mediation business in India?



Full Transcript

I worked in mediation in Boston for about eight to nine years and, frankly, I think I was extraordinarily lucky. I got the right breaks, and I always had a fulltime job doing what I enjoy. At one point I realised that life was good. I really enjoyed living in the North East, and frankly it’s my favourite place in the whole world, Cambridge Massachusetts. I would rather live there than anywhere else. It has the perfect mix of intellectual stimulation, natural beauty, great weather, the seasons, an extraordinarily diverse environment, and a fantastic peer group. The peer group, I cannot emphasise how important it is to have other people who think like you, by and large, and who basically are willing to tolerate you. In one sense, everything was going well for me, but on the other hand, one of the things I realised was when I kind of stepped back and looked at my life at the age of, I think I must have been 45 or 46, and I asked myself, ‘You know what, this is a key point in my life. Do I want to spend the next ten years continuing to do this in the US, because I really enjoy being here, or can I make more of a difference elsewhere?’ It became absolutely clear to me.


I am from this part of the world, India. I spent a lot of time as an adult too in India before I went to the US, and I knew this context well. I figured that if I really wanted to do justice to the kind of person I had become, and the kind of skills I have, then I owe it to myself to go back to the one part of the world that I can, in a sense, claim some kind of a basic understanding or fundamental understanding of and a part of the world that doesn’t need a visa from me. This is also a part of the world that needs this work. And frankly, it was because I felt this kind of work was very, very necessary in India, and because I felt well equipped to actually start this journey that I decided to come back.


About the mediator

Ashok Panikkar Profile Pic

Ashok is fond of saying that, while he is no Mother Theresa or Gautama Buddha, he is utterly fascinated by the intricacies and nuances of conflict resolution and peacemaking. A facilitator for 25 years, he has been called many names, including “agent provocateur.” The many hats he wears include mediator, facilitator, educator, and office clown. When asked why he does this work, he says: ‘Conflicts are early warning signals that things ar... View Mediator