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Zander Willoughby

  • Manchester and Mediation

    by Zander Willoughby | Feb 21, 2018

    Conflict is inevitable. As a student of political science and peace studies, this is abundantly clear. Did you know that Manchester has a long history with a mediation center that does mediations between students for free? I bet you didn’t, but you should! ECR (Education for Conflict Resolution) is located in the basement of the Administration building. ECR offers trainings for students throughout the year, there’s also a peace studies course (Mediation & Conciliation) you can take for credit!

    What is Mediation? Usually, when someone settles a dispute or deescalates an argument, they say, “I mediated the situation” or “We mediated it.” This usually isn’t actually a mediation. Mediation is a process through which individuals come to an understanding and make an agreement with the help of a neutral third-party mediator. This agreement is made by the participants themselves and not by the mediator. Mediation is a form of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) which means that it seeks to resolve conflict without using mediation, sort of like arbitration, except the agreement comes from the participants not the mediator (I said this twice because it’s important). In my opinion, I can’t think of a more empowering means of settling interpersonal conflict. For example, if a case is decided by a judge (Or an RA, HD, CRB, Professor, etc.), then the decision is imposed upon the participants rather they like it or not, in mediation, since the decision comes from the participants, they have a stake in the outcome. Mediation is also based on the relationship between the people; it doesn’t seek to punish people, but to find understanding and restoring relationships.

    I didn’t know about the relationship between ECR and Manchester, or about Manchester’s rich history with transformative conflict resolution. I took Mediation and Conciliation with John Horn in the fall not knowing anything about mediation or the process and immediately signed up for an ECR training called Productive Communication and ECR’s spring mediation training and you should, too! Every field requires good communication skills and every field runs into conflict at some point! The skills learned in mediation training and the productive communication workshops can be applied to any field, not just peace studies.

    Have a conflict with a roommate? Friend? RA? E-Board member? Group project member? Professor? Try mediation! You can contact ECR online or go to Room #6 in the Administration Building.

    Zander E. Willoughby ’18 is a Political Science & French major & Peace Studies minor, a Multicultural Affairs Programmer, and more. He is currently in his last year at Manchester and painfully aware of that fact every day. He is currently learning French and Arabic, loves cooking and amateur photography. His future plans include pursuing a Master's in International Affairs in the hopes of working with Migration, Refugee Affairs, and Human Rights.