Metaplasis

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Metaplasis: Community Dialogue and Mediation Center for Conflict Resolution

Athens, GreeceAthens, Greece
Year Founded:
2013
Organization type: 
nonprofit/ngo/citizen sector
Project Stage:
Start-Up
Budget: 
$10,000 - $50,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

We are a group of 11 impassioned trained facilitators, united by the transformational power of dialogue, that we all have witnessed. We have created a multi-space community center for dialogue to help relieve the ever increasing tensions in our country and enhance synergy within the community.

WHAT IF - Inspiration: Write one sentence that describes a way that your project dares to ask, "WHAT IF?"

What if there was another way to resolve our conflicts?
About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

Conflicts, rivalry, opposing interests, fear, lack of trust, phobias,miscommunication, difficult and unharmonious relations tend to arise within small social groups (families, neighbourhood, workplace, teams etc.), as well as within the entire Greek society. By dealing with the root causes of this problem, which, to us, are lack of communication, understanding and empathy, we help create a more peaceful society and world.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

Educating people in changing their way of thinking. How are we going to educate them? Among other things, by giving them the opportunity to participate in a structured dialogue under the coordination of a specially trained professional, a facilitator. Through this process suspiciousness and scepticism are transformed into open-mindedness and understanding for the needs and feelings of the other person. This is a different approach to dealing with conflict, especially in Greece, which gives the chance to participants to meaningfully communicate with each other and mature. As a result they choose to see their conflict from another perspective and resolve it, in order to move on with their lives.
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

Imagine a neighbourhood. Or even something smaller, like an apartment building. There is a constant nuisance and people end up not talking or yelling at one another or calling the police to take care of it, which only makes things worse. People's feelings are so intense that they simply cannot communicate with each other anymore. And things escalate. Retribution and violence appears. Everyone is unhappy. Peace of mind is lost. But all this can be avoided with the help of the community dialogue centre that helps people communicate through dialogue. A facilitated dialogue helps people understand and empathize with each other. It creates collective intelligence, unity and connection within the community. It restores peace.

Impact: What is the impact of the work to date? Also describe the projected future impact for the coming years.

We are the first people to try this in Greece. And, in a sense, it is all unchartered waters for us. In the few months of operation of our centre and the limited number of cases that we are dealing with, we see that people need to communicate with each other and they feel relieved when they do. Our processes give them the opportunity to be seen and to be heard and this helps them have inner peace and be more empathic with one another. The experience from other countries shows that community dialogue centres, just like ours, move people beyond conflict. They reunite families, rebuild friendships, mend neighbourly fences and generally create spaces within which those formerly burdened with conflict can discover personal enrichment, renewed connections, understanding, and peace. Ultimately, we hope that our dialogue centre will create a sense of acceptance and synergy within the community.

Spread Strategies: Moving forward, what are the main strategies for scaling impact?

We believe that there is magic to dialogue. In order to move forward, we are building our strategy around 3 basic pillars:1. Using trained volunteers to facilitate private (between 2 or more people) and public dialogues within the limits of a given municipality, 2. Training and educating people in dialogue facilitation and conflict resolution techniques and passing on the know-how (including schools and other local communities) and 3. Becoming a paradigm for other municipalities throughout Greece and creating self-sustainable community dialogue centres in as many areas as possible.
Sustainability

Financial Sustainability Plan: What is this solution’s plan to ensure financial sustainability?

The Community Dialogue and Mediation Centre is at a large scale depending on the voluntary work of its eleven impassioned trained facilitators. In the future, apart from seeking financial support from individual donations and foundations, we intend to secure part of our resources by offering trainings in problem and conflict resolution processes to individuals, NGO´s and businesses, who want to use these tools to communicate and collaborate.

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

Structured dialogues can be a step before mediation, cultivating the ground for it and sometimes an alternative to bringing a case before a court. On the other hand, in the process of a formal mediation the participants have the possibility to solve their conflict in a creative and mutually satisfactory way, by signing a written and enforceable agreement. Conflicts which are not solved through a structured dialogue or a mediation/alternative dispute resolution process might continue before Greek courts. Our team is the only one to have created a community centre with free access for all.
Team

Founding Story

We met with each other during the trainings from the Mediators Beyond Borders in dialogue facilitation and advanced mediation techniques. We soon discovered that we share the same vision and hope: to introduce conflict resolution through dialogue processes to the Greek people. So we asked the MBBs to also train us in community mediation, community conferencing and restorative justice, which they did. After that, we got together and decided to take action, in order to turn our hope and vision into reality. In the living room of one of us, our team was given a name "Metaplasis" which means transformation; our project, a community space for open dialogue, was born. All volunteers. All aiming at a better future.

Team

We are 11 trained facilitators, living and working in Athens, Greece. We come from various professional backgrounds, such as lawyers-mediators, specialised in different areas, sociologists and Non Violent Communication practitioners. We have all received an extensive training by a distinguished team from Mediators Beyond Borders and hope to expand our group with members, willing to establish and run local Community Centres throughout Greece.
About You
About You
First Name

Stella

Last Name

Gamvrelli

About Your Project
Organization Name
How long has your organization been operating?

Project
Organization Country

, Athens

Country where this project is creating social impact

, Athens

What awards or honors has the project received?
Funding: How is your project financial supported?

Individuals.

Supplemental
Partnerships: Tell us about your partnerships.

Mediators Beyond Borders, who have trained us in public dialogue facilitation and are our mentors.
The Municipality of Athens, which supports us and offers us the space to start our first Open Dialogue Centre.

Comments

Dear Metaplasis team,
It sounds like you are very committed to this work and the approach is well thought out. Can you tell us a little more about the kinds of partners you have or will approach, to reach the people in communities that could benefit from this mediation approach, to support your activities, and to help this structured open dialogue and mediation spread throughout communities?

Best,
Aphrodite