In the field of international mediation a great deal of attention has been directed towards important areas such as mapping the parties’ interests, process design or the formulation of political settlements. An issue that has gained comparatively little attention in the literature or training is empathy. Yet empathy is a critical resource for mediators.
Over the course of 2016 and 2017 the Center for Empathy in International Affairs convened several roundtable discussions with experts, academics, mediators, diplomats and peace-builders to consider the role of empathy in conflict resolution and mediation. In short, experts and practitioners believe empathy equips mediators with important information about the mindset, emotions and perceptions of antagonists, helps to build trust between the parties, enables individuals to feel recognised and respected, and can catalyse new approaches to conflict resolution.
CEIA Director, Matt Waldman, has encapsulated the insights, ideas and case examples generated by those discussions and summarised them in an article for the July 2017 issue of the European journal Perspektive Mediation. Click here to download the article.