26 Jun 2020
On 25 June 2020, the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (CIArb) hosted a flagship online event “Mediation 2020 and beyond” delivered by Jane Gunn FCIArb, a highly sought-after mediator, consultant, facilitator and speaker specialized in collaboration, cross-cultural communication and transforming business relationships.
The age we are living in has made us witness numerous cases of social, economic, political and military uncertainty and tension along with environmental, health and other crises, which are likely to lead to an increase in disputes, which will often be resolved by alternative dispute resolution means, in particular mediation.
The event began with an introduction to the speaker, Jane Gunn, by CIArb’s Director General Catherine Dixon. Jane Gunn’s speech then let the audience think about the nature of mediation, what is the role of mediators and what skills and approaches they might need to improve the process in times of this “brave new world”. The issue Jane mentioned from the very beginning and tried to address throughout the event is what the world is going to look like, not only once we have recovered after the pandemic, but in 10 to 15 years and what kind of world do we want to create, and that it is up to us to shape it.
Image: Jane Gunn FCIArb
Jane shared a story about her journey to becoming a mediator, people and projects that motivated her and made her think about the role of mediation and its participants, where might mediation be in the future, what we need to increase its importance and what skills mediators require to this end. Mrs Gunn expressed an idea that there are three important levels of development for mediators: procedural skills needed to ensure the efficiency of the process, ability to apply such skills in context and, finally, awareness of personal qualities and of the impact we as individuals may have on the process and the parties.
Jane made a beautiful connection of her speculations on the matter with the question of where do we go beyond mediation, beyond what is generally expected from mediators and what we might need to bring mediation to the next level and at the same time meet the requirements of our agile world.
“What are we missing? Maybe the ability to increase an understanding of each other and our behaviour?” Mrs Gunn suggested that it is important to find out and comprehend the role of mediators beyond the processes of mediation and how they can assist people and organisations in these unprecedented times, considering not only facts and calculations, but also “sensations, emotions and thoughts”, ability to be curious, emotionally and socially intelligent, creative and resilient.
Image: Jane Gunn spoke on current developments in mediation
In Jane’s opinion, we are able to move towards the next level of mediation, a more complex one, where neutrals are more sensible and can balance the facts and data they work with as well as awareness of themselves and others participating in the process.
In order to achieve this we first of all need to understand the importance of self-reflection and the value of being vulnerable, showing our human element to people we work with, especially if the future of their dispute is in our hands. This is the only way to build an alternative dispute resolution culture based on not only professionalism, but also human values.
One of the brightest moments of Jane’s speech was a story about how she got inspired by the ideas of Dr Bernie Siegel, a famous writer and surgeon; in his book “Love medicine and miracles” can summarise the main message Jane was willing to send to the audience. Dr Siegel conveyed an innovative view that instead of limiting a patient with their apparent symptoms, it is also important to treat the whole person, to analyze and address what else is going on in their lives, shaping or impacting them. The author wanted to move away from the idea of fear that often drives people and place a premium on love, respect and understanding in all our relationships.
“Can we use the same approach in mediation, as we are first of all dealing with human beings?”, asked Jane. It seems that the application of this concept will not only improve the quality and importance of mediation, but can, in general, make the world a slightly better place.
The event concluded with a thought-provoking Q and A session, moderated by Dr Paresh Kathrani, CIArb Director of Education and Training.
Image: Jane Gunn answered audience questions, moderated by Paresh Kathrani
Along with congratulatory messages from its live audience, CIArb wishes to thank Jane Gunn FCIArb for her stimulating speech.
We thank our media partners: Center for Arbitration and Mediation of the Chamber of Commerce Brazil-Canada (CAM-CCBC); International Mediation Institute; Mediators Beyond Borders International; Standards and Competencies in Mediation Advocacy.
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