MEDIATION IN THE TRENCHES - FEEDBACK LOOPS FOR INTERNATIONAL MEDIATORS
Columbia University (UNITED STATES)
About this paper:
Appears in: EDULEARN13 Proceedings
Publication year: 2013
Conference name: 5th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 1-3 July, 2013
Location: Barcelona, Spain
Abstract:Typically, the field of international mediation is populated by senior diplomats, heads of states or eminent personalities who claim that it is their own competence and gravitas that has brought the violence to a halt and that has sparked constructive problem-solving to dictate the negotiation culture of the belligerent parties. Yet, the reality is that these mediation processes are poorly constructed and designed and that the fall-back rate of peace settlements to initial violence and conflict is much higher than expected. Based on training evaluations and training implementation, the author argues for a different learning and educational approach to train international mediators. Apart from a sound understanding of the political contexts that frame the situation, mediators need to manage mediation teams, develop alternatives, and engage into small trainings whilst negotiating the outcomes of a peace agreement. Yet, there is a dearth of those "war stories", enabling knowledge sharing and bespoke training solutions for international organisations. Based on trainings for the African Union, personnel of UN Civil Affairs officers, and for Sudanese and South Sudanese negotiation teams, the author suggests a different training approach to take place, in order to benefit from the existing knowledge of trained mediators, taking into considerations training needs analysis, scenario-building, de-briefing tools and peer-shadowing, among many other blended learning tools. The presentation of an integrated and phased curriculum development plan will highlight the milestones in bringing the "war stories" into the training room and into training objectives that allow for properly trained, debriefed, and deployed mediators. Painting the complex environment in which African mediators do and coordinate political mediation, the presentation will offer an in-depth view into the challenges and opportunities for the training of international mediators, whether they occupy the international humanitarian realm or the government-company-community realm of extractive industries negotiations.
Keywords: Mediation, curriculum, training, debriefing.