Education for democratic citizenship and mediation By: Dr. David silvera
Mediation philosophy is based on consent. When in conflict – the parties involved should reach an agreement, by the assistance of – a third party, objective and neutral, without any formal authority - the mediator.
Mediation is in the heart of the democratic thought, as it expresses values, such as the freedom of speech, the right to be heard, the majority role and rule and the rights of the minorities...
These values are found in the mediation process as well as in the mediation philosophy.
I claim, that the basis of mediation derives from Democratic thought has developed to its present stage and status, only because of the democratic values that people share.
In Adult Education, we see importance in the involvement of adults in community life, contributing and volunteering. We consider these people as active participants in the of democratic way of life.
Such adults are the perfect candidates to acquire the tools of Mediation and conflict resolution
It is agreed by Adult Educationalists that education for democratic citizenship is important, and I would like to add that the study of mediation is equally important, and that there is no diversity of opinion between democracy and mediation. On the contrary, the principles of democracy can enrich mediation and vice versa.
Below are some agreed principles from the Adult Education field – Andragogy – which are part of active citizenship and Mediation:
a. “Education for democratic citizenship” means education, training, awareness-raising, information, practices and activities which aim, by equipping learners with knowledge, skills and understanding and developing their attitudes and behaviors, to empower them to exercise and defend their democratic rights and responsibilities in society, to value diversity and to play an active part in democratic life, with a view to the promotion and protection of democracy and the rule of law.
b. “Human rights education” means education, training, awareness raising, information, practices and activities which aim, by equipping learners with knowledge, skills and understanding and developing their attitudes and behaviors, to empower learners to contribute to the building and defense of a universal culture of human rights in society, with a view to the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms.
c. “Formal education” means the structured education and training system that runs from pre-primary and primary through secondary school and on to university. It takes place, as a rule, at general or vocational educational institutions and leads to certification.
d. “Non-formal education” means any planned programme of education designed to improve a range of skills and competences, outside the formal educational setting.
e. “Informal education” means the lifelong process whereby every individual acquires attitudes, values, skills and knowledge from the educational influences and resources in his or her own environment and from daily experience (family, peer group, neighbors, encounters, library, mass media, work, play, etc).
The combination of Democratic values, Adult Education principles and the philosophy of lifelong learning, together with the Mediation principles can enhance an adult with great abilities and motivation to contribute to his community and society.
• Written on 27/12/13 -the Israeli Mediation website/
also at academia.edu website. • Dr. David silvera is a mediator –director of "Silpar (Israel) ltd. – center for mediation and training of mediation, also Deputy Chairman of the Israel Adult Education Association. Author of the book in Hebrew: "crossroad east –west" (2008) and mediation study book in Hebrew: "Mediation between theory and practice" (2010) . • Email author: David@Silvera.co.il