How do frustrated people with conflicting policy values and a history of failed efforts reach consensus? …By drawing close enough together to overcome their polarization. It’s called civic fusion… What conditions create a bond between adversaries? What is the neutral’s role? Politically charged situations require process adaptations beyond mediation & facilitation. This session’s panelists share stories of passionately adverse parties moving out of habitual patterns of communication toward solutions that encompass their differences rather than paper over them. The panelists consider whether and how civic fusion might apply to local and national public policy debates. Expect lively audience discussion.
Concurrent Session F
Friday, April 04, 20149:00 AM-Friday, April 04, 201410:15 AM
LarryOliver, Creighton University/Austin Dispute Resolution Center
We all want to sharpen our skills as dispute resolution professionals, but what happens when we train ordinary citizens to do this work? What are the unique opportunities and challenges associated with building a "conversation corps" made up of mediators resolving community conflicts all over town, or across a state, or a nation? How does letting go of full control over a dispute resolution process and ceding some of the power of the process to "amateurs" impact our work? We'll examine examples from around the country where dispute resolution processes have involved volunteer mediators and explore the ramifications for our field.