Insider mediators are key figures who prevent and mediate conflicts inside their own communities. Eighteen insider mediators from all around the world participated in a new skills training organised by Clingendael Academy and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
Mediation and negotiation skills
It is essential that Insider Mediators first and foremost have in-depth understanding of how negotiations work. This is crucial in order to effectively facilitate or mediate a conflict negotiation. But Insider Mediation as a discipline comes with its own distinct collection of challenges. They need to deal with trust, identity and relationship building issues, handle passive and/or active resistance and develop a strategy on how to effectively manage the process. A team of three trainers - prof. Mark Anstey, Tim Masselink and Dr. Juan Diaz - gave seven days of skills training, aimed at providing Insider Mediators with the skills and knowledge to further strengthen them in the important work they do.
Choosing the right interventions
No intervention strategies and conflict analysis can be made on the basis of standard templates and concepts. There is a tendency, especially in academia, to capture reality in predefined templates, but this is not possible, as every situation is unique. This lesson comes from prof. Mark Anstey. Key in any conflict analysis is to have a thorough understanding of local parties’ needs, interests and positions. Finding out what people think gives power to the mediator, as this gives insight in what to appeal to and to choose the right mediation interventions.
"As a mediator, one of the most helpful remarks you can get from conflict parties is 'You don’t understand'. Why? Because it allows the mediator to ask: 'then please help me understand'."
This first training project for Insider Mediators was set up in cooperation with UNDP, under the framework UNDP’s Insider Mediation project. The project was founded on the idea that conflict resolution is more sustainable when it is attained from within the community itself. Insider mediators are more likely to be accepted by negotiating parties, and their knowledge of the community can help them to facilitate creative solutions to resolve the conflict.
In order to expand and deepen the role of insider mediators worldwide, part of the training was provided by Vesna Dasovic-Markovic, conflict prevention specialist at UNDP and initiator of this new initiative.
Lastly, this training facilitated the exchange of information between the participants, coming from 13 different countries, who brought a wealth of experiences to share and learn from.
Interested in negotiation and mediation training?
This training falls under the “Negotiation and Mediation as an Instrument for Conflict Resolution” training facility, funded by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Please contact Mara van der Meer if you wish more information .
We also offer open registration courses to enable professionals to improve their understanding of the latest developments and future challenges in key areas of international affairs. In December 2016 this year, there will be a three-day, open registration course in International Mediation and Consensus-Building at the Institute. Registration is opened as of today.