Reflecting on Diversity and Mediation

June 22, 2017

I recently spoke on a panel at the BC Arbitration and Mediation Institute’s annual Symposium. It was a good panel, and we had a great conversation. The topic was around pluralism, and conflict in that context. The idea was that the three of us were going to bring our perspectives on conflicts within certain faith groups, and draw out of that the lessons that can apply to all conflict situations. I was representing the Christian faith, a woman was representing the Jewish faith and a man was representing the Muslim faith. All of us had really interesting things to say.

One thing that occurred to me was that conflict in a pluralistic society, or a diverse society, or a situation with diversity, it creates some very interesting dynamics: you need to understand the other person, and to understand the other person, you need to go outside of yourself to try to imagine what’s going on with them, to understand their values, their experiences, their needs.
And then I also thought that that’s what causes conflict in the first place: any conflict we have with each other is based on the fact that we have different needs, different values, and different perceptions. And in that moment, whatever the topic is, whatever’s going on, people’s needs don’t match, their ideas don’t match, it’s possible what’s right or true isn’t even the same.
So understanding conflict in a pluralistic society, it’s really just a larger way of understanding conflict at all.


Image courtesy BCAMI Symposium 2017


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