Mediation Training in Asia Pacific Region
MEDIATION TRAINING IN ASIA PACIFIC REGION 4
MediationTraining in Asia Pacific Region
MediationTraining in Asia Pacific Region
Mediationrefers to the technique of conflict resolution where an impartialthird party assists the disputants to come up with an amicablesolution that offers a win-win situation for all of them. Thistechnique may have become popular especially after the recognition ofthe deficiencies or limitations of other methods of resolvingconflicts. In most cases, mediation is has been associated with peacebuilding (Bagshaw, 2009). Indeed, scholars have argued that effectivemediation may enhance the articulation of needs, interests anddifferences and allow for the reconstruction of relationships so asto enable individuals to deal with procedural and substantive issuesthat contribute to conflicts in a manner that is mutually acceptableand, therefore, enhancing peace (Bagshaw, 2009). On the same note,they have argued that mediation is a peacemaking function thatincorporates visions of justice where less powerful groups get avoice. In her article on “Mediationin Asia-Pacific Region”Bagshaw notes that mediators need to be attentive to broaderstructural issues pertaining to social justice, human rights andpower. Failure to do this would put them at risk of mediatingsocially or individually unjust and short-term agreements that maynever be subjected to public scrutiny and, therefore, maintain thestatus quo.
Further,she notes that mediators who are culturally reflexive should acceptthat there exists numerous truths, metanarratives and meta-theoriesand usually resists efforts aimed at normalizing power in thesociety. On the same note, the mediation process and outcomes wouldbe socially unjust if post-modernist mediators blindly fostercultural relativism and fail to accept some universal principles likethose that relate to fairness, respect, tolerance and human rights,in which case they should not claim to be peacemakers. Mediation“experts’ may cause harm to parties or individuals whose culture,circumstances and language has left them insufficiently preparedirrespective of how well-meaning they may be (Bagshaw, 2009).
Bagshawmakes an immensely convincing argument especially regarding the placeof culture and customs in the mediation process. Needless to say,individual actions, beliefs and values are guided primarily by his orher own experiences, as well as the socialization through which theindividual has had to go. This means that the concept of what isright or wrong may be completely subjective in different contexts asindividuals go through different experiences and are socialized indifferent ways. Failure to acknowledge these values would be likelyto affect the effectiveness of the mediation process in producing awin-win situation of appearing acceptable and impartial. Indeed, itis well noted that the capacity of a third party to be effective inguiding the disputants to come to a mutually accepted agreement isdependent on the trust that they have placed on mediator (Ladd,2005).Similarly, this trust would be unlikely to blossom in instances wheremediator does not respect the values of the disputants, howeversubjective they may be. Scholars have also noted that it is easierfor individuals with similar values to come to an agreement (Ladd,2005).As much as there may be some instances where the mediators may notshare the same values with some or all disputants, according thenecessary respect for the same would be imperative to allow foreffective mediation.
Similarly,disputes always arise in instances where individuals feel that theyare not accorded the right treatment. Indeed, fairness is at the coreof any mediation process. This means that it would be impossible tomediate without imbuing structures that allow for enhanced justiceand fairness, which are the hallmarks of peace building (Ladd,2005).This is, essentially, the connection between peace building andmediation.
Ladd,P. D. (2005). Mediation,conciliation, and emotions: A practitioner`s guide for understandingemotions in dispute resolution.Lanham, Md: University Press of America, Inc.
Bagshaw,D (2009). Challenging Western Constructs of Mediation. In Bagshaw, D& Porter, E. “Mediationin the Asia-Pacific Region: TransformingConflicts and Building Peace” New York: Routledge