In the Field: Candid Reflections of Two Mediation Experts

By 1 June, 2015Publications
Publication date: June 1, 2015
Publication author: Juan Díaz

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The field of international mediation, sometimes also referred to as peace mediation, has been evolving over the last 25 years. It has been grappling both with an increase in intra-state and identity-based conflicts and the need for post conflict reconciliation in divided societies.

The United Nations (UN) has been at the forefront of these developments holding UN Security Council thematic meetings, adopting several seminal documents on mediation, and creating a Mediation Support Unit (MSU). Furthermore, it established the first full-time ‘standby team’ of mediation experts that can rapidly deploy anywhere in the world within 72 hours In October 2014 Dr. Juan Diaz of mediatEUr had the opportunity to sit down with Prof. John Packer and Dr. Antje Herrberg, two former members of the SBT.

The purpose of the debriefing was to better understand how mediators engage in and with an institutional team and to draw reflections for the practice of mediation. The debriefing covered issues such as mandate, values, methodology, gender, and working in an institutional structure. It was not a full debriefing of the SBT, and reflections in this paper are solely insights into their personal journeys and candid reflections as practitioners. Their observations, however, help to generate awareness of the human side of international mediation for both young professionals and institutions considering development of their own mediation support structures.

This edition presents lessons on:

  1. Working with a mandate
  2. The independence of a mediation expert;
  3. Iimpartiality and values
  4. Ggender in the field of international mediation.
  5. Being a member of an international team.
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