Tunisia, where the Arab Spring started, is also the first country to emerge from its revolution with a genuine commitment to democracy and the rule of law. This outcome may be attributable in large part to the work of the National Dialogue Quartet, a group composed of four organizations: the General Labor Union; the Tunisian Confederation of Industry, Trade and Handicrafts; the Tunisian Human Rights League; and the Tunisian Order of Lawyers. When Tunisia appeared in danger of falling into civil war, these organizations banded together and persuaded the Islamist and other parties to agree to a framework for negotiations that would lead to a more legitimate and pluralistic government.
The quartet’s work illustrates two techniques favored by mediators: (1) acceptance by all of the feuding factions of a set of ground rules, and (2) encouragement of continued dialogue among all of the affected parties to the conflict.
Last week, the Quartet was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.
Upon learning of the award, the president of the Tunisian Order of Lawyers, Mohamed Fadhel Mahfoudh, stated: “I think this is a message to the world, to all the countries, to all the people that are aiming for democracy and peace, that everything can be solved by dialogue. I also think that it this a message for political parties engaged in political conflicts that everything can be solved with dialogue. Everything can be solved in a peaceful climate. To engage with weapons does not lead anywhere.”
It is impossible to talk about the future, present or past of mediation without putting some sort of definition to that term. Clearly, mediation as dispute resolution has been around...By Chris Poole
“Mediation is a tool that helps to ‘bridge the gap’ between differences, and this requires knowing and respecting the culture of people that you meet.” Alessandra Sgubini Introduction by Alessandra...By Alessandra Sgubini
Special thanks to Elisa Sneirson for her assistance with this articleThe purpose of this article is to recount some of mediation's past, consider its current state, and offer a few...By James Melamed, J.D.