Mediation is respectful cooperation in conflict and an intelligent and human way of thinking
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In 2007 and 2008, the Princess (then Begum Aga Khan) supported mediation as a rational, peaceful, and effective alternative to contentious litigation. Mediation is already available in many areas of daily life such as family, school, relations among neighbors, and the workplace. However, among the larger public it is not as well known or widespread. The Princess, along with FDP leader Dr. Guido Westerwelle and Ms. Charlotte Knobloch, Chairperson of the Central Council of Jews in Germany are members of a jury panel convened by the Contarini Institute of the Distance Learning University at Hagen and the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Mediation (German Mediation Society). The panel’s task was to select the best candidates from a series of innovative suggestions for possible new applications of mediation and to confer the prizes. The winners received either sponsorship for training as mediators or other prizes such as free publications.
The Princess said: “Mediation is a voluntary, constructive process in which the parties in a dispute, with the aid of a neutral, independent mediator, seek agreement on their own instead of battling it out in court and having the decision imposed on them at the end. The mediator helps parties who are very often deeply entrenched in their views to speak to each other again. It helps avoid escalation of the conflict and highlights the parties’ interests without proposing a decision. In a family mediation, for instance, parents who are at loggerheads succeed in making reasonable arrangements for the future in the interest of their beloved child. Mediation is respectful cooperation in conflict and an intelligent and humane way of thinking. However, mediation can only help if both or all parties have a real desire to reach agreement.”