I heard many good talks during Mediation Awareness Week this month, two of which have stuck in my mind.
The first was by two students from a London school who are ‘Peer Mediators’. They described how they (and other students who have also been trained as mediators) help to resolve conflicts between students arising out rumours, social media & text bullying and falling outs between friends amongst other things. Although students might be reluctant to agree to a teacher as a mediator, they are willing to agree to one of their peers, and hundreds of cases are successfully dealt with each year.
The second was about the response of faith groups to the Grenfell disaster. The Salvation Army has emergency response vehicles for disaster situations, which arrived early at the scene, providing support to victims and emergency services. Nearby Al-Manaar Mosque immediately opened its doors to anyone seeking rest, sleep, or food & water. Sikhs provided food, drink, clothing and utilities, as did many Synagogues and Churches across London. It seems that the Bishop of Kensington was instrumental in arranging the meeting between victims and Theresa May in Downing Street, during which the Prime Minister simply listened to them for some two hours. And listening, in the world of mediation and conflict resolution, is the first step.