Training program for Mediator Training Officers | Sunday Observer

Training program for Mediator Training Officers

23 July, 2023

The Supporting Effective Dispute Resolution (SEDR) project, with technical leadership and coordination by The Asia Foundation (TAF), recently held a five-day Advanced Mediation Skills and Techniques training program for 20 Mediator Training Officers of the Ministry of Justice through the Mediation Boards Commission.

The program aimed at equipping Mediator Training Officers with advanced mediation skills, enabling them to, in turn, train volunteer mediators to effectively resolve disputes across mediation boards in Sri Lanka.

The SEDR project is a four-year initiative funded by the European Union and implemented by the British Council in partnership with The Asia Foundation. The project aims to improve access to justice and increase the use of alternative dispute resolution mechanisms in Sri Lanka, including mediation services.

The training workshop is a key feature of The Asia Foundation’s work on enhancing the skills and capacity of Mediator Training Officers, who play a critical role in the successful implementation of mediation efforts in Sri Lanka. Mediator Training Officers are tasked with the responsibility of training and furthering the knowledge and skills of over 8,500 volunteer mediators rendering their services to the people of the country to resolve disputes by reaching a settlement acceptable to all disputing parties.

This advanced mediation skills and techniques training focused on the reaffirmation of the principles of the interest-based approach to mediation which is in practice in Sri Lanka and brought in new and improved concepts of mediation which when adapted into the present system would further ensure the delivery of high-quality and efficient mediation services across the country.

To achieve this goal, the five-day training covered a range of topics, including the mediation process and its theory and practices in Sri Lanka, financial disputes, housing, land and property disputes, restorative justice, and multi-party mediation. It also included practical sessions where participants had the opportunity to the apply and enhance their skills in simulated mediation sessions.

The training was conducted by Jonathan Bartsch, an international expert, and trainer with over two decades of expertise in the field of mediation. He is the President and Chief Executive Officer of Collaborative Decision Resources Associates (CDR Associates) based in the United States of America, which has been a longstanding partner of The Asia Foundation in improving the field of mediation in Sri Lanka since the late 1980s.