by Emilio Navas
Between the 7th and the 9th of November the World Mediation Summit of Madrid, through Mediation International —sponsor of the meeting— had the honor to participate in the meeting on Innovation in conflict resolution and mediation held at the University of Tel-Aviv.
It is not strange for a meeting in Tel-Aviv to start from pain.
Pain of a planet that suffers under carefree, bordering on irrational actions concerning something as basic as water resources. The perpetuation of conflicts that offer no end in sight. This meeting addressed these imperious calls for humanitarian aid and the Ethics of humanity, which appears to be guided by blind egotists, from the highest current levels of scientific rigor.
The impressive team of psychologists guided by the expert hand of Dr. Oded Adomi Leshem placed us from the very first day in the eye of a hurricane that, try as we may to ignore it, is part of our reality.
The team of the University of Geneva —led by a very kind Jeremy Lack— introduced us to the newest developments in neuroscience. The expert voice of Kevin Brown —mediator of the United Nations and president of Mediation International— returned us to the debate on the principles of mediation. He also stressed the need to establish a compulsory serious attempt at mediation prior to the opening of judicial instances as one of the pillars of its expansion in our society, which is apparently in love with pain and entrenched in conflict resolution only when it’s viewed through the supposed logic of winners versus losers.
It is not bad to immerse ourselves in pain, to take the time to share with each other as a society the cracks that we have managed to achieve and which we are called upon to overcome.
The powerful panel on Synergies, Cooperation and Non-Violence as tools for conflict resolution— led by the expert hand of David Lehrer— which brought together Shaul Judelman, Noor Awad, Mehra Rimer and Ali Abu Awwad, experts and leaders on the reality of Israelis and Palestinians who use the tools of nonviolence on the field, moved us all.
Because it is through the recognition of this pain that the invitation of the University of Tel-Aviv—by the wise hands of Davil Silvera and Alon Tal among others— managed to take us on the path of finding successful models in environmental care, in the assimilation and celebration of the Irish peace model or in the models of mediation through music that we modestly wanted to bring from the AIEEF and its program, in collaboration with the MusiZap Foundation and the Ombudsman of the Province of Santa Fe.
The paradigm of self-composition of conflicts for which mediation is a no lesser tool, has to accompany society —as in this brilliant proposal of the modern and successful University of Tel-Aviv— it will not find its place through confrontation nor through lukewarm propositions of “alternative systems”, because mediation is not a cheaper, faster or easier method. What mediation is, is a better, more efficient method of conflict resolution.
The meetings between international experts, of which the World Mediation Summit of Madrid is but one other example, should be —as the ICRM Conference has been— a space that fosters the encounter and openness to the dialogue of the agents of transformation, a search for successful models and tools for that paradigm shift, a moment for the construction of dialogue and the strengthening of the Culture of Peace.
Personally, sharing the Spanish and American activity of the association I preside, AIEEF founded by tireless fighter Daniel Bustelo, has been a privilege that I never tire of giving thanks for.
The meeting activities and chances for relaxed dialogue that were offered to us, a gala with Irish music, an elegant reception at the residence of the ambassador of Ireland in Israel were an unparalleled spark for reflection that I hope will bloom into concrete activities in the months to come.
Going through the streets of Tel-Aviv only to “coincidentally” encounter Mario Pomerantz and discover, by the hand of this practical sociologist, brilliant insights on the Palestinian people and anti-Semitism, is a gift that I still do not consider myself worthy of.
I believe that Spanish-speaking mediators owe to ourselves this space of recognition of pain and accompaniment in our daily tasks too.
The solitary task of mediators, always believing that we have not done enough, always self-accused of not having trained ourselves enough, always under the suspicion of not having explored enough or having explored too much, requires what other professions have enjoyed for a long time, spaces in which we can meet, share our experiences and support each other.
Spaces for reflection.
No one will come to knock on our doors to give us magical (non-existent) solutions.
Culture does not change itself.
There is no transformation without effort or academic rigor.
I hope that, sooner rather than later, we meet in Madrid, Buenos Aires or Mexico to come together – as fellow mediators –, but fundamentally, to look for the best, most active, modern and committed tools to accompany our mediatees through the difficult, expensive and slow path that is to assume that each one of us is the first competent organ for the resolution of our own conflicts.
To organize and act jointly for the implementation of mediation in our communities, our families, our society.
To understand that it by is accompanying each and every one of us from our pain towards Peace that a better, fairer and freer society is achieved.
I raise my glass to it.
This post is also available in: Spanish