New Cyre­ni­ans cen­tre a step for­ward in help­ing school­child­ren re­solve con­flicts

The Scotsman - - Perspectiv­e / Letters To The Editor -

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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