Selkirk College’s Mir Centre for Peace offers community mediation services
Mediation is the art of resolving conflict through peaceful means; through reflection on one’s own thoughts, values and feelings toward conflict, as well as relationships with others involved in the conflict.
If this sounds like a useful practice for your life, be sure to take advantage of the new Mediation Services Program beginning in this month at Selkirk College’s Mir Centre for Peace.
Established in 1999 and based in Castlegar, the Mir Centre for Peace aims to bring an understanding and build cultures of peace through education. It has become a magnet for diverse peoples seeking new paths to social justice and peace – locally, nationally and internationally.
Mir Centre for Peace chair, Randy Janzen says community mediation fits well with the Mir Centre’s mandate because it can help build cultures of peace in the long term.
“It empowers people with the ability to resolve their own problems, rather than going to legalities or arbitrations,” Janzen explains. “It also builds on nonviolence and compassionate communication. It builds on relationships, rather than determining who is right and who is wrong.”
Community mediation, as offered through the Mir Centre’s Mediation Services Program, is a free, confidential and voluntary process that encourages people to share their recognition of each other’s perspectives.
The process is ultimately about transforming individuals involved in the conflict and allowing them to gain the skills and knowledge to better deal with conflict in the future, and transform the conditions in which conflicts happen.
Janzen gives the example of a conflict between two tenants and their landlord.
“Perhaps one of the tenants is being really noisy and the other complains to the landlord,” he says. “Rather than trying to decided if one tenant is right and the other wrong, they can sit down and talk about what their individual needs are and look for a win-win situation.
“We tend to want to punish the wrongdoer and elevate ourselves as the right person. Mediation explores the richness of a conflict and it doesn’t try to assign blame; but tries to look for solutions.”
Mediation at the Mir Centre for Peace not only offers you a private and confidential service that is quick, flexible, informal and puts you in control, – but also one that has been proven to be successful.
Three out of four mediations result in an agreement that solves the problem, Janzen notes.
“Often problems aren’t nearly as complicated as we make them out to be. Often it’s our emotions, anger and fear, that get in the way. If we can enter into a process that acknowledges that, or even honours our frustration and hurt, without having to lay blame on the other person, then it’s not really that hard to do. It often just takes a third party to facilitate individuals to work out their disputes.”
At the same time Transition Nelson Society has just announced that the Nelson Good Neighbour Program will launch in Spring 2012. The Mir Centre for Peace will be collaborating with Transition Nelson to provide volunteer training and support. This initiative will further enhance opportunities for community mediation in our region. Visit www.transitionnelson.org to learn more about their initiative.
To learn more, phone 250.365.1234 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. To learn more about the Mir Centre for Peace, visit selkirk.ca/research/mir-centre-for-peace/.