Mediation and its contribution to Society


By: Dr. David Silvera

Lecturer: The Open University, Ben Gurion University – dep.
of external studies
, Director –Silpar (Israel) – a Mediation center, Academic director:
“Derachim” – School for Conflict Resolution and Adult Education

What is Mediation?

Mediation is a voluntary, non-binding, private dispute resolution process in which a neutral person helps the parties to reach a negotiated settlement
Mediation is voluntary in the sense that, in the vast majority of cases, it takes place as a result of the Parties consent to enter the mediation process.
Mediation is non-binding unless and until an agreement is reached. Entering the process itself - does not bind them to settlement.
Mediation is private, but is supported by the courts,( who refers suitable cases to mediation), conducted without prejudice, and it is usually – with absolute confidence.
The mediator is a neutral person, a trained professional who assists the parties in their negotiations.
Mediation is a tool in human relations, negotiations and conflict resolution, especially in cross-cultural relations, interfaith dialogues, international relations and bi-lateral cooperation. The main reason is, the exposes of hidden interest in a relationship, by methods of mediation, to discover the real important issue in the relationships or disputes.
In negotiation, you have to change the attitude of people involved from competitive attitude, confrontation, to collaboration, to a win – win situation, which will contribute to the well being of society at large, and will encourage smaller groups to work together in cooperation to achieve common aims.
As a philosophy –mediation believes in dialogue and not antagonism, DVERSARY or violence. According to the Americans Jay Folberg and Alison Taylor in their book   “Mediation”, - “Mediation is an intervention that is intended to resolve disputes and manage conflict by facilitating decision making.
It can be defined as the process by which the participants, together with the assistance of a neutral person or persons, systematically isolate disputed issues in order to develop options, consider alternatives, and reach a consensual settlement that will accommodate their needs.
Mediation is a process that emphasizes the participants‘own responsibility for making decisions that affect their lives. It is therefore a self-empowering process.
Mediation has definite stages involving a series of techniques for accomplishing necessary tasks, on which I will elaborate later.
Considerable efforts have been made to regulate mediation within the legal system.
In Israel, for example, agreement reached through mediation process, will get the verification of the court, which will give the agreement reached a verdict, as if there was a court case.
This process has encouraged people & organizations, to seek mediation as a means of solving conflicts, and as a dialogue for consensus building, especially in multy cultural societies..