by Alice Dean, Canada
Dr. Joyce Neu, the Founder and Senior Associate of Facilitating Peace and a former Team Leader of United Nations’ Standby Team of Mediation experts, continued her lecture with us on Tuesday, June 14th. She imparted a wealth of knowledge to us about managing a mediation process and how to conduct a peace process using the “Peace Process Cycle,” a helpful concept she shared with us. Dr. Neu taught us about the six-step process in managing a mediation process using a framework provided by Amy L. Smith and David R. Smock. Some of the steps include: ensuring that you assess the conflict and conduct a good cultural assessment, finding out who the primary and secondary parties of the conflict are, and assessing people’s wants and needs and what they hope to get out of the conflict. Without conducting a proper procedure prior to managing a mediation process, you can’t effectively devise a meaningful peace process. One of the biggest takeaways that I experienced from her lecture is that even though you can ensure you are following every step in the six step process, it is difficult and almost impossible to ever truly be ready to manage and facilitate a mediation process, but it is essential to make sure you are prepared.
Following that advice, we prepared ourselves for the case study simulation for the fictional failed state known as Gloccamora. The Republic of Gloccamora for the purposes of this case study was a fictional country with a whole host of issue ranging from violence, to sectarian clashes, corruption, electoral fraud, and many other structural problems. Our task as a group was to engage in a successful peace process cycle and brainstorm an effective framework in order to plan an effective mediation process so that the fictional republic of Gloccamora could someday achieve peace. Our group of six people decided on a matrix framework with which to engage in the peace process cycle. This enabled us to have a visual aid in order to lay out the specific details and requirements of Dr. Neu’s phases of the peace process cycle which included: pre-talks, talks, agreement, and implementation. Working together as a team we were able to cultivate a plan that would help us manage the mediation process and allow us to configure a process that would help the Gloccamorans live in more stable and peaceful conditions. Dr. Neu asked all groups to present our frameworks and findings to the class. She then proceeded to give each of our groups constructive and helpful feedback in order to assess whether our frameworks would work in a real-life mediation management process. This was incredibly beneficial because it allowed us to contemplate and evaluate how we would conduct the aforementioned process in a practical and tangible way.
Overall, Dr. Neu’s extensive knowledge demonstrated through comprehensive lectures and practical tools for managing mediations, helped me and my fellow Bologna Symposium participants understand the peace process better and allowed us to hone in on our individual and teamwork skills. I will remember Dr. Neu’s lectures and exigent conflict simulations for a long time to come.