Culture, Mediation, Negotiation and Facilitation

Bangkok, Saturday, February 1, 2014

It’s Saturday morning; I’ve already run 5 miles -missing my Pasadena Pacers; gone to the gym; talked to Freddy; had coffee with Bridget and cleaned the room. Yes, a very domestic start of the weekend.  In the background I listen to Héroes del Silencio and I prepare the bag for our departure to the North West for our Mae Sot field study, I realize that I haven’t been keeping track of this week’s events. So here’s my weekly post.

In class it was our third week of lectures, which started with an international fashion show. Since I was not able to bring a typical dress from Tenerife, I decided to go pop culture and bring a Spanish fútbol  jersey. Pictured here the rivals: Netherlands and Spain – with rockstar Bridget. 

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For five days, we traveled across the Dispute Resolution Spectrum and learned mediation, facilitation and negotiation techniques from Jan Sunoo and Valerie Harragin, from the Federal Mediation & Conciliation Service. After discussing the problems with stereotypes, we discovered which working style each of us had and were not surprised to see that half of our group is “amiable”. In mediation, we saw the importance of active listening in action and how to look for links that strengthen the relationship between the parts involved in the dispute to help them get to a joint solution.

From Tuesday to Friday had numerous exercises, including one interest-based negotiation in which I was an agricultural development officer for an American conglomerate trying to build a resort in the beautiful land of ‘Rungia’. On Thursday we said goodbye to our colleague Suthan, a social worker from Sri Lanka, who had to return home due to a family emergency. We’re now minus 1 and it will be hard not to hear his stories, learn from his resilience and bravery on his daily work empowering Tamil women.

On Wednesday, 14 of us had a cultural expedition for Korean food -my first time (don’t kill me!) after living in LA for 12 years and working in K-Town all this time and had never tried this before). It was lovely, especially as we were introduced to many of the rituals by Jan and his wife Brenda.

Lastly, on Friday, to practice appreciative inquiry in an expressionist manner, we had fun writing the lyrics of a rap song for Da Minista (aka: Don Franco):

ROTARY PEACE FELLOWS

WHETHER RED OR YELLOW

WE LOVE TO BE TOGETHER

BUT NOT WHEN I’M UNDER THE WEATHER 

THAT’S WHY WE GOT THE RULES AND CAN SHARE OUR TOOLS

THAT’S WHY WE GOT OPEN SPACE TO SEE EACH OTHER’S FACE

WE CAN SHARE UPS AND DOWNS TO THE TUNES OF THESE SOUNDS

SHANTI, TENDERE, PAZ Y AMANI

THAT’S WHY WE ARE HERE

NOT FOR THE MONEY

HARMONY IS THE NAME

PEACE IS THE GAME

F____ THE FAME – WE’RE ALL THE SAME !!!

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