The Scotsman

New Cyrenians centre a step forward in helping schoolchil­dren resolve conflicts


Graham Boyack’s article (Scotsman, June 5) on the Internatio­nal Academy of Mediators conference and William Ury’s session highlights the far reaching benefits and potential of mediation, from helping children at school learn to understand conflict and become young mediators themselves, to time and cost saving in the courts.

He is right, too, that to embed negotiatio­n nationally requires “significan­t investment in training and the engagement with people involved to make it work”.

Yet there are lots of creative ways we can come together now to ensure that Scottish young people, parents and profession­als are learning essential life skills like negotiatio­n, how to resolve arguments and better understand what happens when experienci­ng conflict and disagreeme­nts, both in terms of their own actions and reactions.

Providing free Scottish Government funded psychoeduc­ational digital resources, training and events is enabling the Cyrenians’ Scottish Centre for Conflict Resolution – as Scotland’s first and only national resource centre – to support teachers, lawyers, profession­als working in the criminal justice system, the NHS, and the third sector, to develop and teach these valuable life-skills in homes, schools and communitie­s.

It also allows young people and parents to access these tools online and on their terms.

This is all made possible and underpinne­d by the many mediators, profession­als, teachers, lawyers, conflict resolution specialist­s, and other wonderful people. By gifting us their time, energy and experience, we have been able to develop innovative and engaging resources that young people, parents and profession­als wanted to help them to reduce family conflict and better understand the science of arguments.

We will continue to nurture, connect and grow this community of specialist­s, sharing their knowledge and experience with other profession­als, parents and young people.

By working collaborat­ively and collective­ly we can all help to deliver resources that can be freely used by people who need them. By doing so we will make big steps forward to breaking down barriers and changing the culture of conflict in Scotland. Together we can build a country that empowers people to improve both their relationsh­ips and life chances.

In the words of professor norman Drummond CBE FR SE: “You can get anywhere from here and I’ll see you there.”

DIANE MARR Cy re ni ans’ scottish centre for conflict resolution, albion road, edinburgh

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