Jared, Chris and Tim are students of LdM’s International Conflict Transformation Program, which was introduced to the certificated offer two years ago in the summer of 2011. This program seeks to prepare professionals to be able to mediate and bring creative and non-violent solutions to conflicts that might sprout in this age of globalization and instant international communications.
For Chris Rec, this program consist in being given a “toolbox, a skillset, to go into any situation with an open mind, so as to facilitate an open, respectful and productive conversation between two parts to resolve a problem”.
The job of a mediator might seem easy at distance, but peace not only requires the institution of legal or physical barriers so two parts can’t attack each other, just as Jared Miller soon found out: “It’s been very interesting, whenever I heard mediation my thought was on negotiation; but it’s different, for negotiations each side has to compromise, but with mediation your job is to facilitate communication between two parties so they can actually come up with their own solutions”.
Tim Duff elaborates on the matter and tells us what he has learned of what it really takes: “A mediator has to be a good listener, able to engage two parties and carefully listen to what both parts have to say. It’s all about helping the opposite side to understand each other more, get over that differences and maybe see themselves in each other”
All three students of the International Relations mayor at the William & Mary College in Virginia, agree that the duty of a conflict mediator consist in serve as a channel for dialogue and understanding, not only when conflict and the threat of violence emerges, but also to come up with ideas for a peaceful daily coexistence.
The International Conflict Transformation Certificate consist on the understanding of the anthropological sources of violence and conflict as well as of today’s conditions that can prompt peace or violence, and is only available in Florence.
By Gabriel Reyes