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Mediators and Conflict Resolution

Mediators and Conflict Resolution

Is the mediator’s role to help the parties uncover the real source of their conflict?



Full Transcript

That’s a really interesting thought. I haven’t thought of it as a form of reverse engineering but you’re right of course. When in the early stages of mediation you give the people a chance to vent a bit and to add a little bit of a shout. Actually, that in effect is what you are doing. You are getting people to tell their stories and I’m in huge favour of people telling their stories, how it is from their point of view. I think that’s an essential part of any form of dialogue process and understand how things felt and were perceived from their point of view.


One of the tensions you often find in any form of dialogue is how much time you spend on the past and how much time you spend on the future. It is useful to visit, to understand how things got to where they are but there is always the danger of getting locked into it and getting so deep that you kind of lose all hope of ever getting out of it. It’s a fine balance between past and future very often. You need to do the past stuff. You need people to understand what has gone wrong, to acknowledge where they could have done things differently perhaps. Equally, you don’t want people wallowing in all the baggage.

About the mediator

Andrew Acland Profile Pic

Andrew Acland specialises in designing and facilitating stakeholder dialogue and consultation processes in complex, multi-party, multi-issue contexts, often with environmental and social sustainability dimensions. Andrew began his working life as a political analyst specialising in East-West relations and arms control. In 1985, while working on the staff of the then Archbishop of Canterbury, he acted as assistant to the Archbishop’s envoy, T... View Mediator