Finding Common Ground
Mediation is like preventive medicine. It can stave off conflict and violence before it starts. Check out these Changemakers ideas for helping people find common ground through communication.
The Peace Foundation in New Zealand gets school students directly involved in being peacekeepers in the classroom and on the playground. Kids as young as five years old, the group has found, can be skilled mediators. In schools where The Peace Foundation operates, there is a 90% success rate in solving conflicts. The parties involved in the resolution even execute signed contracts, sealing their commitment to the agreement and to each other!
Hannes Siebert’s Longkloof Studios trains journalists to be part of a solution to the troubles they so often report on. Building on the fact that “media” and “mediation” share a linguistic root – “the middle” – Siebert believes that journalists can help advance the cause of conflict resolution by going beyond reporting two opposing sides of a story. Through workshops, follow-up training, and internships, Longkloof studios educates reporters in the nature of conflicts, techniques of mediation, and how to put their storytelling skills to work engendering cooperation and peace.