Whither Neutrality? Mediation in the 21st Century

Event Date: Thursday September 20, 2007
Time: 12:15 - 1:30 P.M.
Location: Pound 506, Harvard Law School

Leah Wing, Director Social Justice Mediation Institute and Lecturer, Legal Studies Department, University of Massachusetts

What is the relationship between mediation and social justice? Could mediation actually make a conflict worse?

A lecturer in the Legal Studies Department at UMass-Amherst, Leah Wing’s work focuses on the complicated interconnections between mediation, social justice and neutrality. She suggests that mediation based on the principle of neutrality can at times reinforce existing power imbalances, particularly in the realm of racial equality. She examines mediation through the lens of social justice and identifies strategies that mediators can use to challenge existing power structures.

Leah Wing is director of the Social Justice Mediation Institute and has taught dispute resolution since 1993. She is a member of the faculty in the Legal Studies Department at the University of Massachusetts/Amherst and her recent research and teaching applies critical race theory to mediation and reconciliation in colonized and postcolonial societies. A mediator and trainer since 1985, Leah developed an approach to mediation training and intervention that incorporates a social justice lens and this has served as the basis of a number of her publications and over 50 presentations at national and international conferences. Since 2002, Leah has served on the Board of Directors of the Association of Conflict Resolution and as a member of the editorial board of Conflict Resolution Quarterly.

Bring your lunch — drinks and dessert provided.


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