During Fall Break 2010, 18 students and 2 staff members participated in a mediation training led by the Iowa Mediation Service of Des Moines. Participants learned the skills needed to facilitate a dialogue between parties in conflict as an impartial third party as well as the basic elements of the mediation process. Understanding the nature of conflict, the range of possibilities for addressing conflict, recognizing mediation as an alternative to a rights-based model which characterizes our legal and court system, and acquiring the skills to help parties take responsibility for their own dispute and resolution were all part of the training.
Participants were given the opportunity to mediate, role play, and observe in eleven role plays. Some were campus conflict based, and others involved workplace, neighbor, and family conflicts. Whether or not participants will have the opportunity to mediate in a formal situation (such as a peer mediation or neighborhood mediation program) they all acquired valuable life skills which they can apply informally in their every day lives.
In order to receive full certification from Iowa Mediation Service, a follow-up workshop was held on December 3, 2010 from 5 to 9pm in South Lounge.
The training was organized and sponsored by the Peace Studies Program with some additional funding from the Office of Diversity and Achievement.