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Civic mediation and social partnership

Civic mediation and social partnership

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Brendan McAllister, Esther Brooker, Abdul Rahim, Louise Cunningham, and Sam Tedcastle from the Centre for Good Relations, UK. 

Keywords: Civic mediation, peace-building, conflict resolution

Abstract: Civic mediation is an emerging practice within the field of conflict resolution and peace-building. Drawing on the core principles of mediation in addition to wider peace-building concepts, civic mediation was developed to strengthen relations at civic leadership levels in Northern Ireland during intense conflict and societal division. It works at an inter-personal level, focusing on the relationships of people within systems that are relevant to current or historical societal discord. This paper describes the development and principles of civic mediation, and its application in peace-building and reconciliation. It explores the role of mediators in building a common agenda between affected parties and the way in which they can facilitate a process to enable an outcome that is more likely to be accepted by all. It concludes with some suggestions for the future development of civic mediation, including capacity building and evaluation.

Author Biography: 

Brendan McAllister, BA (Hons) (Queens University Belfast), Dip Social Work (Ulster University), spent 12 years with the Probation Service, after which he became director of Mediation Northern Ireland (1992–2008). He was appointed as a neighbourhood renewal adviser for England in 2003, and served as a commissioner for victims and survivors of the Northern Ireland conflict from 2008 to 2012. He became a senior associate with the European Forum for Mediation and Dialogue in 2012, and joined the UN Standby Team of Senior Mediation Experts in 2015. He is now a senior mediation adviser with the UN Department of Political Affairs, and a senior associate of the Centre for Good Relations.

Esther Brooker is a marine biologist by training (MSc, BSc, University of Wales, Bangor) and became involved in mediation working on fisheries stakeholder issues in Scotland. One of Esther’s research interests is human–wildlife conflict, and she has authored publications on aquaculture issues, the UN Sustainable Development Goals, fisheries and poverty alleviation, and impacts of marine wildlife watching on Scottish sea life.

Abdul Rahim BSc (Aston), senior practitioner at Centre for Good Relations, is a mediator with over ten years’ experience working in a variety of complex multi-party, multi-issue conflict situations. He is a qualified trainer in civic mediation and peace-building methodologies. In recent years Abdul’s work has focused on areas such as planning, gang-related violence, and cultural and faith-based conflict.

Louise Cunningham BSc (Bristol), MRes (York), PhD (St Andrews) trained as a marine biologist, and now works for the Scottish Government. She has authored a number of publications on monitoring methods for harbour seals, and more recently has focused on Scottish fisheries and international governance.

Sam Tedcastle BSc (Napier), MSc (Aberdeen) trained in Environmental sciences is a qualified mediator with 20 years’ practice working on a range of multiparty, complex conflicted situations. As commissioner on the Commission for Integration and Cohesion, she co-authored Our Shared Future. She works at Centre for Good Relations as senior practitioner on cultural, gang violence, planning and environmental issues.

Publication Date:  15 December 2017

Citation: McAllister, B., Brooker, E., Rahim, A., Cunningham, L., & Tedcastle, S. (2017). Civic mediation and social partnership. Mediation Theory and Practice2(2), 191–209.

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