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•ARENAS• •APPROACHES• •CHALLENGES•
New arenas, approaches, challenges and insights. This sums up the featured experiences of our trainees, their immediate colleagues and our partners who were involved in intervening in significant conflict cases in their communities over the last three years, guided by the knowledge and skills learned from MedNet’s training. I am humbled by the sacrifices offered and dangers faced by some of our mediators especially in conflict-affected areas. Mediation works but it is not an easy process. It takes a lot of determination, patience, courage and commitment.
This issue presents inspiring insights especially from women who dared to break the barriers in highly patriarchal cultures by becoming negotiators and mediators. Readers are also asked to understand the challenges of peacebuilding work in a post-war situation like Marawi, in a volatile province like Sulu where peace is constantly threatened by armed conflicts, and in communities like Tacloban City that were affected by Typhoon Yolanda.
Through these diverse conflict situations, readers are invited to look at the common and unique approaches and methodologies employed for possible replication. Mediation works and it is an empowering experience.
I would like to thank all the stakeholders and communities affected by these conflicts, who took the chance and explored mediation. We have learned a lot and your stories continue to inspire us. Documenting your experiences through this publication is MedNet’s contribution to the enrichment of Philippine literature on community mediation.
For a lean organization like MedNet, the expanding areas and communities, and the growing interest in mediation need to be reflected on and acted upon by its members. Thus, results of its seventh general assembly are also shared in this issue where a new set of officers is introduced. While the passion, dedication and commitment of members keep the organization afloat, it also recognizes the need to develop a new and younger generation of mediators from varied fields of expertise given the significant number of departed members.
May this issue of The Mediator interest our readers to tread the path of community mediation as a viable approach to public disputes especially among divided and marginalized communities.
Let me end this message by sharing with you all the call of our community mediators, colleagues and allies expressed in a Manifesto of Commitment during our national forum last March 2019: We need to “deepen our work in resolving conflicts that they lead to not just addressing immediate needs and interests and identifying areas for possible advocacy but also to genuine healing and reconciliation in our communities where peace begins among individuals who seek the transformation of conflicts”.