Peer mediators

Posted: 28th September 2010

Peer mediationWest Bromwich Albion Football Club’s conference suite at The Hawthorns was the venue on Friday, 24 September 2010 for the International Student Mediation Forum.

Former Lord Justice of Appeal, the Rt Honourable Sir Brian Neill, chaired an event that brought together participants from around the UK, from East London to North Wales, Somerset to Yorkshire and beyond. The Conference had a truly international dimension, one presenter having travelled from Sierra Leone and another video-linking live from Michigan, USA.

The stars of the show, sponsored by 7LLP and mediation champion, Jonathan Dingle, were the peer mediators themselves. Many in their teens, and one as young as six years old, told of their experiences and the success of this growing initiative.

Peer Mediation is an emerging process by which students find peaceful solutions to conflicts and social problems within their environment. Adapting the skills developed and shared by commercial mediators, the children find their own tailored and durable solutions to problems that would otherwise trigger only violence, abuse and despair.

Michael Williamson was particularly inspired by part of the message that came from Steve Jones, mediator, peer trainer and Baptist minister who joined the delegates by Skype link from Michigan.

“Steve observed poignantly that whilst it is too late for him and his contemporaries themselves to achieve sea changes in social attitudes and behaviour across the globe it is a different prospect for our children, if they are equipped with the skills that we have seen to be so effective within the commercial and political arena during recent years.”

You can read more about peer mediation and related concepts at the linked websites of Schools Mediation International, Peerlink and Leap Confronting Conflict.