Conflict Resolution

Advanced Problem-Solving Strategies

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Yesterday, at the Southern California Mediation Association‘s fall conference, I heard Ken Cloke give an inspirational talk about using mediation to solve some of the world’s most difficult problems.   In fact, he seems to think that many of these problems can only be solved by mediation.  The reason for that is that threats such as climate change or the instability of the global financial system are beyond the reach of any one nation, and are not amenable to military solutions.  They can  only be addressed by conflict resolution at a global level.  Cloke is currently involved in attempting to insert a mediation mechanism in the international climate change treaty to be negotiated in Copenhagen next month.  Resistance to his […]

Suppose one of the parties to a negotiation makes what could be seen as a major concession, but attaches a bunch of conditions to it that everyone knows are unacceptable to the other side. This is what Prime Minister Netanyahu’s speech did by for the first time accepting the possibility of a Palestinian state, but conditioning acceptance of such a state on limiting its sovereignty. We have the choice of looking at such an offer as a sham, or as offering a real possibility of a future agreement. Of course the opposition’s initial reaction has been negative, but any mediator’s job ought to be to accentuate the positive. Suddenly we have a concept that both sides now agree upon. Yes, […]