Saturday, February 17, 2007

Diplomat Meets Mediator

The Association of Business Trial Lawyers boldly hosted Peter Robinson, co-Director of the Straus Institute of Dispute Resolution, Robert Mnookin, Director of the Harvard Project on Negotiation, and Ambassador Dennis Ross, Special Middle-East Coordinator during the Clinton and Senior Bush administration at a dinner on February 13, 2007. What a fascinating presentation! I was struck by Ambassador Ross' stories on the Middle-East peace summits. His conduct was so insightful.

The Harvard Insight Initiative

What a phenomenal weekend I had last weekend at the Ojai Valley Spa & Resort with Erica Ariel Fox and Mark Thornton at the "Beyond Yes" Dialogue series sponsored by the Harvard Project on Negotiation. We chanted, we danced, we meditated and even did a little Tai Chi. In the presence of icons of the field, co-sponsored by the International Academy of Mediators, we considered the personality types within each of us, and present in every dispute. Our focus was getting to "center". It was a soul-serving, satiating experience of a rare glimpse of introspection: not into my skills, marketing acumen or well-being, but into my essence. Even without the expensive massage therapy, the weekend was nothing short of delicious, contemplative, relaxing and enlightening. Rock on, Erica!

The Moral Imagination: Book Review

John Lederach's new book, "The Moral Imagination" is an inspired introspection and a "call to disarms" for any mediator who understands the broader implications of our work. He notes that the principal distinction between that which has characterized the past century's peacemaking efforts and those inspired momentary instances which have succeeded in changing violent histories is simply this: we dare to dream--we view things through a lens tainted with a moral imagination. The book is awesome, and I've just begun. Recommend it to all those who view their mediation skills as more than a profession, but a "vocation".