Sunday, April 29, 2007


What a powerful surge of energy emanated from Washington, D.C. last week at the ABA Dispute Resolution Section's Conference. It seemed that everywhere I turned, I encountered iconic figures who have not only "made it" in the field of mediation, but guided it, shaped it, and drive it. Among those I was privileged to meet were: Ron Kelly, (as in the Northern Californian who drafted the California Evidence Code on Confidentiality), Jim Madison, Jay Folberg, Robert Creo, Erica Ariel Fox, Jim Melamed and Mel Rubin. Of course, I always relish the opportunity to be among our local heroes: Mickey Katz, Forrest (Woody) Mosten, Lee Jay Berman and June Lehrman. I was particularly gratified to present with Myer Sankary (what a great speaker and a great friend!) and Nancy Burrell. The setting was beautiful, but what transpired inside was really the impact of the week. At one point, I literally felt pulled or drawn into this field in a physical, basic way that felt so very comfortable, and yet energized. The conference was highlighted by plenary addresses by both Former Ambassador Dennis Ross and Former Senator Tom Daschle. Together, and independently, these men so validate and represent my political views and yearnings. Let's all hope that by the next visit to our nation's capital, the values presented by so many of our "former leaders" will be shouting through the hallowed halls of Congress and the White House!

Sunday, April 22, 2007

WOW--The Power Source For Mediators

I'm off to Washington, D.C. this week to Present a Talk on "The Source of Power of the Mediator" at the ABA's Dispute Resolution Conference, "ADR in Bloom". The gist of my presentation is that Mediators draw their Power from the power of WITNESS-OBSERVATION-And WIN/WIN/WIN. More exciting than that I am able to attend a full three days of the nation's best and brightest presenting their own perspectives on the tools and nuances we can access to bring mediation to the forefront and to assure that every disputant has a chance to use it. My presentation will be complemented by my colleague, Myer Sankary speaking on "The Power of Persuasion" and Nancy Burrell, a Professor of Communication at the University of Wisconsin, who will speak on The Power coming from Communication. See my website for the full Article on The Power of WOW.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Violence in Our Universities

Yesterday's tragic events at Virginia Tech compelled me to think about the value of dialogue, insisting upon inclusion even of those who would prefer reclusion or seclusion. When I searched for the proper image, I was struck by this photo. It is from Kent State University's violence and shootings, which took place in 1968, nearly 40 years ago. Unfortunately, I'm left to conclude that passions and differences still find their way onto Colleges and Universities throughout our nation, as we sit idly by hoping that it is but an isolated incident or aberration. As the mother of three college-aged children, I have to hope that I can be a part in instigating a more open environment towards ensuring the safety of our kids by giving an open valve for all students to communicate--their despair, their anguish, their fears, their hatred of others. The other facet which struck me was that this occurred the day after my name appeared in the Los Angeles Daily Journal in an article regarding "cross-cultural mediation". The subject of the article was my colleague, Hannah Kim, who was quoted as saying she had high hopes for her Korean mediation service because the Korean people were high-spirited and outspoken, often filled with unresolved conflict. I'm proud to add the quote that: "All mediators should be trained in cross-cultural sensitivity". In any case, it is a tragic sign that the young man who was the alleged "shooter" was a Korean, raised in our nation's capital, with a heavy animosity and loathing for rich kids and a sad disappointment in religion. I'm not sure I know the answer to this horrible event, but I'm beginning to understand the depth of the questions it raises.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Five Wishes

My friend, and blogger extraordinaire, Victoria Pynchon, has invited me to play a game of blogging tag. She's asked me to reveal 5 wishes that will make my world a better place. Since today is my BIRTHDAY, and I may have had at least five candles on my cake, I'll take a stab at this one:
1) I wish that my children and grandchildren will have as happy a family life as we 5 have had always!
2) I wish that I can make a contribution, every day, towards make our civilization kinder, gentler, more understanding.
3) I wish that the practice of mediation, as a metaphor for "positive interference" in people's lives grows exponentially, in my lifetime.
4) I wish America would have a woman President in my lifetime: just to see if feminine sensibility can positively impact our children's future.
5) I wish that everyone would/could find love, and compassion and a sense of belonging and purpose as I have.
So I'm feeling pretty lucky on this, my birthday, and I hope you will join me in saying "AMEN".

Sunday, April 8, 2007

Pondering The Third Side

I'm proud to have been invited to present a talk at the upcoming ABA Dispute Resolution Section Convention in Washington, D.C. "ADR in Bloom". Our talk is on "The Power of the Mediator" and my part of it has as it's premise lessons drawn from William Ury's "The Third Side". As I'm preparing the presentation, I've also somehow instinctively also acquired two new addresses for my mediation hearings: one in Century City and the other (through the Southern California Mediation Association) in Pasadena. So here's what I've concluded: The Mediator serves a valuable role if and when she goes out to the community to spread peace. Growing up in Los Angeles, I well remember the Watt's riots in the 60's and the fires and looting that followed the Rodney King incident in the 90's. Fire and violence, anger and unrest spread rapidly. It's time for us to light the torch for peace. Even as a geometric principal, by disputants coming to "my office", they leave their own offices, which are typically "war zones" and come to mine...which has sweets and calming artwork, light oak furniture and a Mezuzah on the door. I can now pray that "the Third Side" one day will be on every street corner, harking "Peace Now". That will be the day that ADR will fully be blooming. For now, we have global warming on our side...thawing out the Cold War era to who knows what's next?