Parties engaged in disputes are often unable to reconcile their differences alone, or fail to reach outcomes that are adequate for everyone. Mediators can add a great deal of value by helping parties to efficiently and effectively examine the issues at hand, take the interests and perspectives of all the stakeholders into account, and identify creative solutions that leave everyone better off than they would be in the absence of agreement. Mediators offer a suite of techniques to support effective problem-solving. The must remain non-partisan while helping all the parties work through issues both together and separately, away from the table.
Training effective mediators is a core objective of the Program on Negotiation. The Teaching Negotiation Resource Center (TNRC) thus offers a wide range of materials for various audiences, from students looking for a basic introduction to seasoned professionals looking to enhance their skills.
Topics addressed in the suite of role-play exercises range from local property disputes, like what to do about an illegally constructed seawall in Carson Extension, to tensions between religious and ethnic groups, as are examined in The March at Drumcree Role Play. More than a dozen videos illustrating effective mediation in practice, introducing great mediators, and presenting lectures on effective mediation are also available. Books available profile effective mediators and mediation techniques.