In this digital age, there are plentiful opportunities to connect with others in the field of mediation and conflict resolution around the world. It may be best to start where you are, by contacting your local mediation center and community of mediators, and finding out what is needed and offered there. Below are more opportunities to connect with other mediators, conflict resolution professionals, students and kindred spirits.
Connecting with Kindred Spirits
Mediators Beyond Borders is a global network of professional mediators who volunteer their skills and experience to help communities around the world build conflict-literacy skills. Here is MBB's Facebook page.
Citizen Mediators is a new initiative started by Ashok Panikkar to bring together mediators, dialogue facilitators, restorative justice practitioners and other conflict resolution professionals who seek to leverage their unique skills and sensibilities to strengthen democracy and bridge political divides.
The International Mediators Community of Practice provides an informal platform for discussion between mediation practitioners, trainers, academics and providers of mediation support services who actively engage in international third-party conflict transformation, to strengthen skills and increase the use of dialogue processes in complex conflict contexts. Its Regional Mediation Communities connect local mediators and dialogue facilitators to each other and practitioners around the world in the hopes of enhancing collaboration and promoting local and global synergies.
Mediate.com is an online hub for mediators. Its newsletter and calendar are both very helpful ways of learning about upcoming mediation trainings and conferences.
The National Coalition for Dialogue and Deliberation is a network of over 2300 people seeking to transform the nature of public conversations through innovative processes that help people come together across differences to tackle challenging issues. This is their facebook group.
Webinars + Community Calls with Ken
I occasionally offer conference calls and webinars for mediators and conflict-professionals via Mediators Beyond Borders. In the Fall of 2017, I will start offering community calls for alumni of my mediation trainings, and calls for fellow conflict-professionals and activists interested in transforming the way we engage political conflicts. These calls will offer opportunities to dialogue with me, and hear from others who are working creatively and collaboratively through conflicts in different parts of the world.
"If you want to go quickly, go alone. If you want to go far, go together."
Building Conflict Literate Communities
Community cannot be defined without reference to diversity or conflict.
Every response to conflict results in a unique form of community. When we avoid conflict, we create isolated non-communities of one. When we accommodate conflict, we create superficial pseudo-communities based on civility, which are inauthentic and tolerant, yet repressive against nonconformity. When we are aggressive and use power in conflict, we create negative adversarial, phobic communities based on anger or fear of others. When we compromise or use rights-based processes, we create legal, negotiated, divided communities. It is only when we use collaboration and interest-based processes that we generate positive, diverse, synergistic communities. Each of these varieties of community exist on a small scale in families, relationships, and teams, and on a larger scale in neighborhoods, organizations, cultures and politics.