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And A Little Child Shall Lead Them – Peacemakers 2021

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On 12 July 2021, our Training and Development Advisor, Professor Joel Lee, published a blog post on the Kluwer Mediation Blog entitled “And A Little Child Shall Lead Them – Peacemakers 2021”. His blog post is reproduced in full below.

For more pictures and videos of the Peacemakers Conference 2021, please visit the Peacemakers Instagram and Facebook Page.


I have in previous entries (July 2012 and July 2013) written about a peer mediation initiative called the Peacemakers Conference. The purpose of the Peacemakers Conference is to teach 13-16 year olds how to resolve conflicts amicably in a workshop cum competition format. This year’s Peacemakers Conference was held from 22 to 24 June 2021.

Because of the ongoing pandemic, the Peacemakers Conference was run entirely online allowing us to make the programme available to a larger number of participants and to benefit from the coaching of mediators not just from Singapore, but from around the globe.

As in previous years, we asked students from different schools to work together to create a visual metaphor for mediation. This started in 2015 and has become a regular feature in the Peacemakers Conference. Metaphors from previous years can be found in the entries for November 2015August 2016July 2017July 2018July 2019 and August 2020.

This year, because of the number of students involved, there were 27 visual metaphors. As this would be too many to share in this blog entry, I would like to share a selection which I found interesting. For each of these, an image of the metaphor is shared along with a description of the metaphor.

I would like to acknowledge the efforts of Ms. Sabrina Chau, Mr. Sean Lim and the Peacemakers Facilitation team for capturing the description and images of each of the metaphors that appear below.


1. Mediation is like a Penguin

mediation metaphor penguin

The penguin is a large southern sea bird in the southern hemisphere. Penguins represent the process of mediation. They are black and white, which represent neutrality. They generally live in remote continental regions with few land predators which promotes confidentiality. They conserve their heat by working together. This represents how each party needs to work together in the mediation to reach reconciliation. Although they cannot fly, they can swim. This shows their adaptability. This ties in nicely to the way mediators need to have intellectual flexibility during problem solving. Lastly, they also use many vocal and visual displays to communicate, which is similar to a mediator when gathering information and checking.


2. Mediation is like a Salad


Mediation is like a salad containing different types of leafy vegetables and dressings to make up a delicious and healthy meal. Just like a salad, mediation is made out of different aspects of exercises, qualities and techniques that complement each other. The different types of leafy veggies represent the individual options and solutions that both parties can discuss and agree on. The colour of the red juicy tomatoes is a symbol of unity and care, which represent the goals and qualities needed in a mediation. The rich and raw green cucumbers portray how mediation is subtle yet nurturing, just like the cucumbers which are good sources of water (even if it doesn’t look like it). When you bite into the salad, it makes a satisfying crunch which depicts the communication that is crucial in mediation. The sauce on the side ties the whole salad together perfectly. This is just like the mediator who summarises and wraps up the conflict so that all parties can move past it and work towards the ever so refreshing future.


3. Mediation is a like a Canvas

Mediation Metaphor Canvas

Mediation is like a canvas. Without the painter, colours on a canvas have no meaning. The painter gives the canvas life and creates an array of colours, whilst maintaining the harmony of an image. Similarly, the mediator starts off with a blank canvas, sorting through the party’s emotions (Colours) and situation, before arriving at a cohesive outlook on a resolution.


4. Mediation is like Building a Bear

Mediation Metaphor Bear


Mediation is just like building a bear: it’s not im-paw-ssible! Firstly, there are many steps required to build a bear, similar to the steps in mediation! You’ll need to follow each step in order to achieve a successful result. And just like in the interactive process of building a bear where we pick from collections, voices and clothes, parties should be given a choice on what they want to do to solve the problem to fit their interests and individual needs, which is party autonomy. Similarly, about the different accessories and clothes each bear can have, these different accessories and clothes also represent mediation, just like the different possible options that mix-and-match, fulfilling the unique interests of the different parties. Not to forget, when building a bear, there’s a step where you put in a heart! This can be related to how you’ll need to put in your heart as a mediator, and how you need to be sincere when mediating, for the mediation to go successfully. And just like the closing of a mediation, when you’re done with the bear, the result probably leaves you happy and content!


5. Mediation is like Fire

Mediation Metaphor Fire

Mediation is like fire because if the situation is not controlled, it will cause the relationship between both parties to deteriorate and ruin everything. However, if the mediator handles the situation properly, then the fire transforms into a form of energy, a source of life and a source of hope.


6. Mediation is Baking Cookies

Mediation Metaphor Cookies

Mediation is like baking cookies. If you don’t follow the right steps, the cookies will not taste good. However, if you follow the recipe correctly, you will get delicious and savoury cookies. This is exactly like mediation. With the correct steps and mindset, mediation can help overcome conflicts in relationships. The baker, as well as the mediator, needs to go through each step carefully to ensure that everything works out smoothly. The cookies are the relationships. After the session, the cookies either turn out good or bad. This depends on how the baker goes through the process. Adding too much or too little of one ingredient does not result in a cookie with a balanced flavour. As such, the baker needs to pay attention throughout the process.


7. Mediation is like an Owl

Mediation Metaphor Owl

Mediation is like an owl. In “Is the Wise Owl Wise?” by Shoo Rayner, the owl guides and helps the fish solve the problem. Instead of telling the fish what to do, it asked a great question. “What do you think you should do?” This tells us that the owl is letting the fish solve the problem for themselves instead of creating a solution for them. This question allowed the fish to think further and find an option to solve the matter. The owl helps the parties solve the problem for themselves. Just like in mediation!


8. Mediation is like Tuning an Instrument

Mediation Metaphor Tuning Instrument

When you tune an instrument like the ukulele correctly, it sounds nice when you play it. However, when you tune it wrongly, sometimes the result doesn’t satisfy you. It’s the same with mediation, where choosing precise words to communicate with all parties can help understand each other more deeply, and thus the outcome would be a better one, with all parties being content with it. However, patience is required for handling conflict. During conflict, not everything is music to our ears. Everyone is arguing for a way to resolve the problem with the best solution. This, much like the correct tune, is not easy to find. Mediation requires patience and precision in picking out neutral words. This is similar to how tuning an instrument correctly requires patience and precision.


9. Mediation is like Subway

Mediation Metaphor Subway

Mediation is like Subway because it represents a 3 way partnership where parties come together along with the mediator to select the different ingredients as parties move along the various stages of mediation. The mediator acts as the server. When the two parties are confused about the steps that they should take in the process of mediation. The server will ask questions that entail various answers about their preferences and tastes. This helps them choose suitable condiments to be added on to the sandwich. In Subway, there are different kinds of sandwiches. This represents the different ways of approaching problems. Some conflicts are easier and shorter like 6 inch sandwiches, while others might be longer like the footlong sandwich.


10. Mediation is like a Rubik’s Cube

Mediation Metaphor Rubik's Cube

Each Rubik’s Cube has 6 different sides with 6 different colours. There is always more than one side of a story. Mediation is like a Rubik’s Cube because solving the cube is a long process and one cannot take shortcuts. Mediators do not add their own substance to a discussion. Instead, they direct and facilitate it, like how one twists and turns a Rubik’s Cube to solve it. Like a Rubik’s Cube, conflicts have many different facets like emotions, logic, misunderstandings, and interests. The mediator has to know and ensure all sides have been taken care of. Just as there is always a solution for the Rubik’s Cube, there is always a way to solve a conflict.


11. Mediation is like Lego

Mediation Metaphor Lego

Mediation is like Lego because:

● You can work together while overcoming obstacles;
● We are building back the relationship that was once there;
● We are building each other up;
● When building, you will face troubles along the way;
● It is a process that might take some time, but the end result is worth it;
● You can solve the conflict block by block;
● It is a process with specific steps and procedures; and
● We can make very good progress.


12. Mediation is like a Sunrise

Mediation Metaphor Sunrise

The metaphor we have selected is the sunrise. Before the sunrise, it is night time. Night time is very dark and gives a negative feeling, which is something we would have during a conflict (like all those sad and angry emotions). However, the sun comes up during the sunrise. The sun has light, which sheds light on the truth because some conflicts might be caused by misunderstandings. Mediation can help both parties to understand the different sides of the story and hopefully help them come to an amicable ending. Mediation is also the release of your different emotions. The negative emotions can be transformed into more positive emotions (like from anger to relief). These different emotions are like different colours that create the beautiful scene of the sunrise.


13. Mediation is like a Wave

Mediation Metaphor Wave

The process of mediation can be reflected in wave patterns. As the sea transitions from low tide to high tide, the waves become larger and more daunting. New waves form while old ones crash in a seemingly endless cycle. This can be overwhelming and it may seem impossible for the serene sea to return. However, over time, the large waves become gentler and low tide returns. The same can be said about conflict. Emotions like anger and frustration tend to make issues seem irreparable. But the more we learn about one another and look at things through new perspectives through mediation, even the most daunting problems can eventually fizzle out. The evident correlation between these two ideas highlight the power of mediation as a problem solving tool, making it the ideal metaphor.


14. Mediation is like a Puzzle

Mediation Metaphor Puzzle

Everything requires a process. When solving a puzzle, you need to find and sort the pieces just like you need to gather and check information when mediating. Every piece looks different. Similarly, every position can have multiple interests and varying perspectives. The process of putting the pieces together and figuring out which fit together and which don’t is similar to exploring different solutions and how they benefit each party. The sense of accomplishment that the puzzle maker feels when that last piece fits into place is the same as what the mediator feels when the conflict is resolved. All the individual pieces work together and a beautiful image is formed at the end of the puzzle. This resembles the relationship between the parties and the agreement they reach. This is why we feel that mediation is like solving a puzzle.


As Singapore’s leading peer mediation experts, Peacemakers has an extensive track record of managing and delivering conflict resolution training for youth at both local and international levels. If you would like to train your youth to better manage conflict, let us know how we can help via email at mediate@peacemakers.sg.

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Peacemakers Conference 2021 – Report

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By Jeremy Xiao on behalf of the Peacemakers Conference Organising Team

The Peacemakers Conference 2021 was the second-ever virtual Peacemakers Conference conducted through Zoom conferencing. From 22 to 24 June 2021, 13 to 16 year olds were taught peer mediation and conflict resolution skills through an engaging online workshop cum competition format.

This year was our largest conference to date, and it was our privilege to host over 330 participants from 23 different schools: Admiralty Secondary School, Anglo-Chinese School (Barker Road), Assumption English School, Bukit Batok Secondary School, Compassvale Secondary School, Dunearn Secondary School, Edgefield Secondary School, Evergreen Secondary School, Greendale Secondary School, HELP International School (Malaysia), Jurongville Secondary School, Nanyang Girls’ High School, Northland Secondary School, NPS International School, NUS High School of Mathematics and Science, Raffles Girls’ School (Secondary), School of Science and Technology Singapore, School of the Arts, St Anthony’s Canossian Secondary School, Swiss Cottage Secondary School, Victoria School, Whitley Secondary School, and Yishun Town Secondary School.

We are also extremely grateful to have had the support of our dedicated team of over 40 facilitators and more than 100 professional mediators who committed their precious time to make this Conference a success.


Teaching Principles, Process, and Practices of Peer Mediation

The Conference introduced participants to peer mediation as a form of amicable dispute resolution. Our lead trainers for this year, Ms Sabrina Chau, Mr Samuel Teo, and Ms Tay Hui Lyi taught a series of engaging lessons imparting the foundational principles and step-by-step process of mediation.

Participants learned the importance of upholding important values during the mediation process such as confidentiality and neutrality. They also learned how to distinguish between positions and interests, and how to generate options for possible solutions. On Days 2 and 3, participants were also taught how to manage emotions effectively and use active listening and reframing. We hope that they will go on to practise these skills in their daily lives, helping to resolve conflicts and promote peace.


Practising and Teaching Mediation Today

As learning moves online, our training team had to come up with innovative methods to engage the participants through Zoom conferencing. To ensure that participants had ample opportunities to put their new mediation skills into practice, we organised role play sessions on each day. Participants acted out roles in a hypothetical mediation, under the guidance of our experienced facilitators and coaches. These scenarios were based on real-world situations which students often encounter, such as disputes between classmates and friends. Following these sessions, our coaches provided insightful feedback and advice to help our participants better resolve similar conflicts in future.

In addition to the roleplays, the training team also designed interesting activities and games to reinforce learning points. Participants got the opportunity to compete in online quizzes, interest identification and reframing group exercises, a choose-your-own-adventure game, and witness “Oscar-worthy” acting in a fishbowl demonstration session. We were able to provide an engaging and fun learning experience for our participants, as well as many opportunities for them to interact with peers from other schools and make new friends.


Mediation Metaphors

As with previous Peacemakers Conferences, participants were invited to create their own visual metaphors to explain what mediation means to them. We received very creative and beautiful submissions from our teams, showcasing the camaraderie among the participants and their unique understandings of mediation.

There were two particularly noteworthy submissions this year. Firstly, the metaphor of how “Mediation is like a Salad”, since different elements and interests are tossed together to create a cohesive and delicious whole. Secondly, our winning metaphor for this year: “Mediation is like Penguins”. The penguins’ black and white signifies truth and neutrality, and their huddling together represents cooperation and peacemaking.




Concluding Remarks

The organising team would like to express our heartfelt gratitude to all the people who made this year’s Peacemakers Conference possible. 

Firstly, we would like to thank the Singapore International Mediation Institute, the Community Mediation Centre, Sage Mediation, Maxwell Chambers, the Asia Conflict Resolution Institute, the NUS Collaborative Dispute Resolution Club, Flavours of the East (F.EAST), foodpanda, Kingdom Food Group, and Lockdown Singapore for your generous support of the Conference, and for richly blessing our participants in various ways.

We would also like to thank our dedicated facilitators and coaches who volunteered their time to provide valuable guidance and feedback for our participants. Your contributions have certainly positively impacted these young lives, and left them with precious skills and memories to treasure for years to come.

Finally, thank you to all our participants for joining us at this year’s Peacemakers Conference. We thank you for your enthusiastic participation, openness in interacting with new peers, and your insightful questions and humorous comments. It has been such a joy interacting with all of you and seeing how quickly you have grown to put mediation into practice.

We hope the Conference has provided all of you with the first step as future Peacemakers in your schools, families, and communities. We urge you to continue practising these skills and transforming conflicts into opportunities wherever you may go. As one of our coaches said during the Conference: the future of Singapore’s mediation scene, and we might add, our youth, is certainly bright.


For more pictures and videos of the Peacemakers Conference 2021, please visit the Peacemakers Instagram and Facebook Page.

As Singapore’s leading peer mediation experts, Peacemakers has an extensive track record of managing and delivering conflict resolution training for youth at both local and international levels. If you would like to train your youth to better manage conflict, let us know how we can help via email at mediate@peacemakers.sg.

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And A Little Child Shall Lead Them – Peacemakers 2020

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On 12 August 2020, our Training and Development Advisor, Professor Joel Lee, published a blog post on the Kluwer Mediation Blog entitled “And A Little Child Shall Lead Them – Peacemakers Conference 2020”. His blog post is reproduced in full below.

For more pictures and videos of the Peacemakers Conference 2020, please visit the Peacemakers Instagram and Facebook Page.


I have in previous entries (July 2012 and July 2013) written about a peer mediation initiative called the Peacemakers Conference. The purpose of the Peacemakers Conference is to teach 13-16 year olds how to resolve conflicts amicably in a workshop cum competition format. This year’s Peacemakers Conference was held from 20 to 22 July 2020.

This year was unusual in that, because of COVID-19, the Peacemakers Conference was run entirely online. While this created its own stresses and uncertainties, it also gave us the opportunity to make the programme available to a much larger number of participants, 300 in total. It also allowed us to benefit from the coaching of mediators from the Singapore International Mediation Institute (SIMI), not just from Singapore, but from around the globe.

As in previous years, we asked students from different schools to work together to create a visual metaphor for mediation. This started in 2015 and has become a regular feature in the Peacemakers Conference. Metaphors from previous years be found in the entries for November 2015August 2016July 2017July 2018 and July 2019.

This year, the students came up with 16 visual metaphors which I would like to share with readers in this entry. For each of these, an image of the students presenting the metaphor is shared along with their description of the metaphor.

I would like to acknowledge the efforts of Mr. Samuel Teo, Mr. Sean Lim and the Peacemakers Facilitation team for capturing the the description and images of each of the metaphors that appear below.

1. Mediation is like an Egg Whisk

Mediation Metaphor 1: Mediation is like an egg whisk

Mediation is like an egg whisk!

The egg white and the egg yolk are two different things.

But when you whisk the egg, you are combining these two different things into one!

In the same way, each party has their own interests, so it is the job of the mediator to combine them and let the parties come up with a compromise.
The harder you whisk the egg, the silkier the egg becomes – synonymous to how the mediator should ask more open-ended questions to get to know the full story better, allowing for the parties to come up with a more effective solution. However, once you whisk the egg a tad bit too hard, you will make a mess. Continuing the metaphor, if the mediator does too much and comes up with their own solution for the parties, a mess could be made :O

That is why mediation is like an egg whisk.

2. Mediation is a Bridge

Mediation Metaphor 2: Mediation is connecting voices, bridging gaps

The process of mediation is like a bridge, it allow two people to connect together and work things out (just like how a bridge is built after 2 cities agree to build it and it connects between the 2 cities). After mediation, the gap that was formed during the conflict would be bridged and the conflict may be resolved.

3. Mediation is a Rubik’s Cube

Mediation Metaphor 3

Our group chose a rubik’s cube because we feel that a rubik’s cube requires us to consider the different sides to solve it. In the context of mediation, it represents the different perspectives we have to take into account of, when mediating a problem. There are stages to take when solving the cube which signifies the structured approach to resolve a conflict.

Furthermore, you may be overwhelmed with emotions — be it experiencing a range of feelings and thoughts. This is when we acknowledge our feelings! For instance, we feel frustrated since the rubik’s cube, or the problem, is difficult and hard to solve, stressed out when knowing that the methods do not work. Thus, we have to take a step back, take a break to calm down our emotions.

When you take a step back, you’ll be thinking out of the box like, what should I do to make it all red on one side? Or Is there another way that I can prevent myself from using the wrong method?

This helps us to think of multiple solutions to solve the cube, while providing us a sense of accomplishment as it challenges us. Ultimately, we’ll be happy and relieved when we know that the cube is solved, just like in mediation!

4. Mediation is like Magnets that repel but when in the right place attract

Mediation Metaphor 4: Magnets

When two different people with two opposing mindsets come together, they would repel like magnets facing the like poles. But when a mediator steps in, they start to come to an understanding and think alike, they turn around and attract.

5. Mediation is the Bridge over Troubled Waters

Mediation Metaphor 5: Bridge

We decided on the metaphor “Mediation is a bridge over troubled waters” because a mediator’s role is to connect both party’s views. This helps each party to step into the other’s shoes to see from their perspective, like people crossing a “bridge” to get to the other side, or a place where they are safe from the turbulent current that is their emotions (i.e: troubled waters). Once the parties reach the other side of the bridge (see from the other’s perspective) they can think rationally and make decisions without any prejudice as understanding each other without their conflicting emotions would make it easier for them to think clearly and come to an amiable conclusion.

6. Mediation is like Autumn

Mediation Metaphor 6: Autumn

It is the bridge between summer and winter, like how it is the connection between two opposing parties. Being the season of harvest, it also reaps bountiful produce, like the bountiful results of mediation, with a comfortable and peaceful atmosphere devoid of the droughts of impulse and the blizzard of violence. The mixing of different leaf colours, red, yellow, green, too symbolise the mix of various emotions that come up, and all equally fall down to the carpet of serene foliage below.

7. Mediation is like a pH scale

Mediation Metaphor 7: PH Scale

A Mediator is like a pH scale.

A Mediator is someone who aims to get both opposing parties together and help them understand each other better, resolving misunderstandings.
Likewise, the alkali must meet the acid in order to neutralise and become stable.

8. Mediation is like Penguins

Mediation Metaphor 8: Penguin

Story: One day, a new animal was to be created, in this new animal, both colours wanted to be different kinds of animals. On one hand, the black colour, remembers its time as a black betta fish. It thought, “How beautiful! I want to be a fish again and swim in the waters! On the other hand, the white colour remembered its time as a dove. It thought, “How graceful! I want to be a bird again and travel at high speeds!” However, the two colours could not decide on what type of animal they wanted to become, and so they fought and fought.
One day, a mediator came into the picture. The creator decided that the fighting was unhealthy and decided to end this conflict once and for all, so the creator invited the two colours to a mediation session to which they both agreed. During the mediation session, both colours shared their interests and positions, after the sharing, they better understood one another and came to a compromise. They decided to create a special animal, a beautiful bird which would swim gracefully at high speeds. Behold, the penguin was born!

Explanation: In mediation, there are two parties who come together with a mediator to allow the parties to resolve an argument and arrive at a solution. In the case of the penguin, the black and white colours represent the two parties, coming together into a singular body in agreement. The black colour wanted to be a fish and swim just like it had done when it created the betta fish. However, the white wanted to be a bird and travel quickly and gracefully like it had done as a dove. The polar opposite animals were too different, and they couldn’t come to an agreement. However, through mediation, they thought creatively and created a new and special animal – The penguin! As a penguin, black got to swim in the waters and white got to move quickly and gracefully, hence resolving the argument.

9. Mediation is like a Diamond

Mediation Metaphor 9: Diamond

In mediation, you need to reflect on the situation you are in which helps you to see and understand the problem better, and a diamond reflects light and shines even more brighter. Another reason can be that before it becomes a diamond, it is a lump of graphite, and it looks like nothing much and seems as if nothing can be done to make it look better, but when it undergoes a process then it becomes a shiny diamond. This can show that the problem you are facing may seem like it cannot be helped at first, but after talking it out then it can be mediated and everyone will be happy. A diamond also refracts light, so like when light enters the diamond it changes its angle and changes direction, so it’s like the diamond (mediator) is guiding the light (thoughts/conversation of the disputants)

Summary: A diamond is extremely precious yet fragile, a diamond has a lot of reflections that can represent different perspectives just like how a mediator sees different points of views.

10. Mediation is Key

Mediation Metaphor 10: Key

The key is mediation while the two chains connected are the two conflicting parties. The lock is the conflict. The aim of mediation is to facilitate a discussion and help both parties understand each other. Thus, unlocking “peace “ between both parties.

11. Mediation is like Polishing a Diamond

Mediation Metaphor 11: Polishing diamond

The diamond signifies the relationship between the two parties that have many problems. The unpolished diamond it was before signifies the misunderstandings and conflicts between the parties. These make the relationship sour and ugly. However, when polished or through mediation, the unpolished diamond or unhappy relationship becomes better. Even though mediation does not always solve the problems, the end product is always better than before the polishing process. Ultimately, mediation is a process. It may be a painful process, with having to open up about the ugly truths and be honest and slightly uncomfortable. But in the end, the outcome is satisfying and priceless. Moreover, the diamond is more reflective after the whole polishing process, signifying that the relationship is more open to new ideas and that there are fewer bumps (literally) in the relationship. Hence, mediation is like the process of polishing a diamond

12. Mediation is like Balancing a Beam

Mediation Metaphor 12: Balancing Beam

Striking a balance between all parties is a key facet of mediation. There are three main people in mediation, two parties, and one mediator. With each party standing on one side with varying (literal) positions and interests of different “weights”, it is inevitable that the beam balance teeters and tilts to one side – signifying an unstable relationship between the two. At this moment, the mediator has to be in the middle to remain impartial and neutral. If he ever moves to either side, the beam balance collapses. But with his prowess in mediation, he has the capability to draw both of the parties to the middle to reconcile their differences. With this, the beam balance achieves a balance and the conflict is resolved.

13. Mediation is Water

Mediation Metaphor 13: Water

Mediation is water. Water molecules are highly cohesive and it shows how mediation brings people together. Water is also pH 7, a neutral ph, so mediation is a neutral part that is unbiased, helping two parties resolve the conflict. Also, water is calming, which shows that mediation should be a calm and slow process. Water is also known to be a universal solvent in our bodies, showing how mediation’s aim is to dissolve any conflict. Water is also a cooling element that extinguished the fire between two conflicting sides. Mediation is water.

14. Mediation is a Lightbulb

Mediation Metaphor 14: Lightbulb

A light bulb, an essential part of our everyday lives, connects the circuit and allows the circuit to work. This is similar to how a mediator connects two or more parties, enabling the mediation to run smoothly. A light bulb can be used to guide us in the dark to allow us to arrive at our final destination with ease, which is similar to how a mediator guides the parties to reach a settlement which they can all agree on. A lightbulb also represents a “eureka!” moment, or realisation, just like how mediation helps parties understand each other and realise their similarities and differences, and help parties take a step closer to talking their problems out properly in future.

The four-step process of mediation is akin to how a circuit functions:

OPENING – Turning on the switch of the electrical circuit

INFORMATION GATHERING AND CHECKING – Electric current runs through the wires of the circuit

PROBLEM SOLVING – The light bulb is lit up, and we can use the light emitted to navigate our way through the dark

CLOSING – We have successfully found our way!

15. Mediation is the Rose from Beauty and the Beast

Mediation Metaphor 15: Rose

The rose has thorns, which symbolises the initial argument and the negative emotions between the two parties. The mediator has to treat the issue sensitively, so as to not induce hurt from the thorns. However, over the course of the mediation, the rose starts to become more beautiful, indicating the “bright” possible outcome of the issue. Just like how the rose brought together Beauty and the Beast, mediation brings together two parties through mutual understanding and building trust. There is also a common end goal to not let all the petals fall. Similarly, if the mediation is not done, the dispute will continue to increase in severity (i.e. the petals keep falling until the beast can no longer turn back into a human). Lastly, the rose is kept in a glass case, just like how whatever is said during the mediation session will stay confidential and within the group.

16. Mediation is like Boba

Mediation Metaphor 16: Boba

Just like boba in bubble tea, the mediator is an additional element during a discussion between parties and is not necessarily present for all conflicts. However, when conflicts occur, it is ultimately the presence of a mediator that grants peace to the discussion, allowing it to come to an amicable conclusion. Like how boba sweetens milk tea, a mediator sweetens a friendship and makes it pleasant for both parties.

Just like a boba in the sea of milk tea, a mediator may be surrounded or even flooded by all the tensions arising from the two parties, whether it be unpleasant emotions or incessant accusations. However, like boba, the mediator must remain strong and cannot crack under pressure, maintaining a game face throughout the discussion. Moreover, just as how boba has an inner view of the milk tea from within, (literally) beneath the surface, a mediator should seek to achieve a deeper understanding of both parties and the underlying Interests beneath their Positions.

While boba is a delicious bubble tea topping, it does not change the essence of the milk tea; likewise, a mediator should not change the essence of the parties’ words when reframing the situation, and neither should they be evaluative and add their own biases to the discussion. In addition to that, boba does not tend to one side of the cup. Instead, they are spread equally throughout the entire drink, giving the taster an equal chance to savour the boba. Likewise, a mediator should remain neutral throughout the discussion and not lean towards either party, being careful not to display any signs of bias in his/her body language or speech. Furthermore, a boba is always spherical and all-rounded, signifying neutrality. Likewise, a mediator should always be sure to put on an appearance of neutrality, regardless of his/ her personal inner judgements, if any.

Like the boba’s smooth texture, a mediator should always be SMOOTH in conversations, taking note of delivery such as pace and volume. Besides that, boba is very chewy and cannot be swallowed immediately. Likewise, it is impossible to reach a compromise right from the beginning, and everyone needs to take the time to digest one another’s’ perspectives in order to reach a satisfying conclusion.

Overall, just as how adding boba to your milk tea is supplementary, a mediator is an extra accessory when it comes to managing conflicts just like when you add boba to your milk tea. However, just like boba, a mediator makes conflicts easier to manage and a nicer process than if you were to just get the milk tea without boba. Without boba, one can still drink the bubble tea, but it might feel like something is missing. Likewise, without the presence of a mediator, two parties may still be able to resolve a conflict, but it may leave a bad aftertaste.


As Singapore’s leading peer mediation experts, Peacemakers has an extensive track record of managing and delivering conflict resolution training for youth at both local and international levels. If you would like to train your youth to better manage conflict, let us know how we can help via email at mediate@peacemakers.sg.

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Peacemakers Conference 2020 – Report

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By Samuel Teo on behalf of the organisers of the Conference

For the first time ever, the Peacemakers Conference 2020 was conducted virtually via video conferencing on Zoom. Taking place from 20 to 22 July 2020, the Conference aimed to teach 13 to 16 year olds valuable mediation skills and how to resolve conflicts amicably.

In total, we were delighted to host over 300 participants from Admiralty Secondary School, Ahmad Ibrahim Secondary School, Assumption English School, Damai Secondary School, Dunearn Secondary School, Evergreen Secondary School, Jurong West Secondary School, National Junior College, Northland Secondary School, NUS High School of Math and Science, Peicai Secondary School, Queenstown Secondary School, Raffles Girls’ School, School of Science and Technology, Temasek Junior College, Welham Girls’ School (Dehradun, India), West Spring Secondary School, Woodlands Secondary School, and Yishun Town Secondary School. This is the largest and most diverse cohort of students that we have ever received in the 11 years Peacemakers Conference has been running. 

Additionally, we were blessed to have almost 60 student facilitators from the NUS Faculty of Law and SMU School of Law, and more than 50 professional mediators who took time off their busy schedules to help out in various capacities at the Conference.

Learning the Principles of Peer Mediation for Effective Peacemaking

Over the course of the Conference, the participants were exposed to mediation as a mode of amicable conflict management. Our lead trainers, Mr Juegan Lingam, Ms Tan Su, and Ms Valerie Seet trained them in the foundational principles of mediation, the process of peer mediation, and the basic elements of collaborative problem solving. 

The participants also learned the importance of maintaining neutrality as mediators, and assuring parties of the confidentiality of the process. In terms of facilitating communication between two disputing parties, the trainers emphasised the importance of gathering information in order to identify parties’ interests behind their positions and to harness that to guide parties to  problem-solve by generating fair solutions that achieve both parties’ desired outcomes. Lastly, our trainers focused on the skills involved in effective communication and managing emotions, such active listening and reframing.

Practising Mediation in a New Virtual World

In the “new normal” brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, online mediation is becoming an increasingly ubiquitous phenomenon. Having to move the Conference online, we wanted to capitalise on the convenience of the online format to reach out to even more students, whilst tweaking the existing workshop model to keep the Conference as engaging for the participants as possible to ensure that they still got the best experience despite the new format.

The participants got to know each other and the facilitators better during the icebreaker activities online, which consisted of games optimised for the virtual platform. The content of the Conference was delivered through a combination of large group lectures, and small group exercises, where participants were encouraged to practice what they had just learnt through a series of challenging but relatable role play scenarios. 

To ensure that participants received constant guidance throughout their learning, a typical small group exercise consisted of three participants and at least one facilitator. The participants took turns to role play as parties and mediators in hypothetical disputes. These role plays were drafted in a way that they would be relatable to students in secondary school, from conflicts between CCA leaders arising out of limited space for training in school, to disputes between school friends over more personal issues.

It was encouraging to see participants enthusiastically taking down notes while listening to our trainers from the comfort of their own home. Participants also actively asked questions over the chat function on the video conferencing platform, and even bonded with their fellow participants during the breaks that were scheduled throughout the session. It was heartening for the organising committee, facilitators, and coaches alike to see so many happy and eager faces over video.

Mediation as a Diamond… or Boba?

As with previous years, participants were given the opportunity to work in groups to create visual metaphors for what mediation is to them. Participants were encouraged to think about how they would complete the phrase ‘Mediation is…”, and as usual, we received very interesting submissions. Each group also did a short presentation on their chosen visual metaphor. 

To give you a taste of their creativity, we will briefly share two metaphors with you. The first is “Mediation is like an Egg Whisk”, and secondly, to commemorate the beverage that took the nation by storm during the Circuit Breaker period, “Mediation is like Boba”! Our participants explained that mediation is like an egg whisk because the mediator’s role involves bringing together two distant parties, represented by the egg white and yolk, and doing so in a delicate manner to avoid making a mess. Participants also felt that mediation is like boba because it adds to the experience of just drinking milk tea – akin the mediator’s presence adding value to the process towards conflict resolution!

Concluding Remarks

The organisers would like to express their heartfelt gratitude to the many people that made the Peacemakers Conference 2020 such a great success. First and foremost, we would like to thank the Singapore International Mediation Institute, the Community Mediation Centre, the NUS Collaborative Dispute Resolution Club, Sage Mediation, ShopBack, and I’m Kim Korean BBQ for supporting the Conference. Without them, the Conference would not have been the success that it was.

We would also like to thank all the facilitators and coaches who volunteered their precious time to invest in the participants’ mediation training. The coaches’ dedication, patience, and wisdom are greatly appreciated, both by the organisers as well as the participants.

Finally, we are incredibly grateful for the energy and enthusiasm shown by our participants. Over the course of the conference, you asked brilliant questions, were incredibly diligent, and very capably put all that you had learnt into practice. It has been such a joy to see how everyone has grown in confidence and proficiency as mediators in such a short period of time. While watching you grow and learn, we have learnt much from all of you as well.

For many of us, this is just the beginning of our journey as peacemakers. We have full confidence that the lessons learnt will be shared with our peers, and hope to see everyone continuously hone our skills and grow as mediators!



For more pictures and videos of the Peacemakers Conference 2020, please visit the Peacemakers Instagram and Facebook Page

As Singapore’s leading peer mediation experts, Peacemakers has an extensive track record of managing and delivering conflict resolution training for youth at both local and international levels. If you would like to train your youth to better manage conflict, let us know how we can help via email at mediate@peacemakers.sg.

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The Youth Shall Lead Us

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Develop a Generation of Peacemakers Through Peer Mediation Programs

Aloysius Goh1, Sean Lim2, Samantha Lek3 & Megan Tay4


Many peer mediation programmes (PMPs) set out to teach youth conflict management. Yet, having offered one such PMP annually since 2010, we have found that we have learnt as much, if not more, from them. 

Humbling as it may be for adults to admit, the sages who can unlock the Golden Age of mediation may actually be the youth.

What is “Peer Mediation”?

“Peer Mediation” describes the process in which a young person facilitates the communication between two or more peers who are in a dispute and leads them to an amicable solution. 

Relevance of Peer Mediation 

Thanks to technology, youth wield phenomenal influence over each other. If you were born in the last century, it can be hard to imagine life as a young person today where you are constantly able to befriend others and become victims of hate speech and fake news. Cloaked as online personalities, hate and frustration can be vented with little fear of the consequences. It is also not unusual for comments to be “liked” and “shared” within minutes by thousands around the globe. In this world, which is by design separate from that of previous generations, conflicts regularly arise and spiral quickly out of control. The youth often find themselves in situations where simple apologies no longer suffice to resolve the original conflict. Prompt conflict de-escalation by friends makes a difference. This is why many schools have introduced PMPs.

Mediation and Leadership in Schools

School-based PMPs go beyond conflict management education.

The Peacemakers Conference5 is one such PMP. Framed as a leadership bootcamp where youth learn key skills like exercising self-control, resilience to negativity, and responsibility for their community, the Conference is in substance a mediation workshop-cum-friendly competition held over 3 days. Led by international mediation professionals and undergraduate students, Peacemakers has trained more than 850 Southeast Asian youth in mediation and has drawn the support of the International Mediation Institute, the Asian Mediation Association and the Singapore Ministry of Law.

Evidence of Peacemaker’s success comes most from the appreciation notes the organisation receives from the Conference alumni. One teacher shared how a Peacemaker graduate prevented a fight between his classmates and not only averted suspension for them but fostered a strong class spirit. Another student confided that she convinced her quarrelling parents to seek professional mediation assistance and saved the family from breaking up.

Indeed, PMPs make the greatest impact for youth from challenging backgrounds. With a richly textured emotional vocabulary, their demonstrations of empathy often bear an authenticity that moves the observer. Their transformation during the Conference from misunderstood delinquent to creative problem-solver proves that leaders and mediators can be nurtured.

When the youth are taught to ask “why” and not just “what happened”, they learn to look beyond angry accusations. Instead of seeking to attribute fault, they learn to suspend judgment, be attentive to the context, and consider the emotions of others. With a new appreciation of the purpose of communication, they guide their friends to exercise self-control, reflect on deeper motivations, and create innovative ways to solve the problem.

PMPs compel the youth to acknowledge that while conflict may be inevitable, violence is not. When someone disagrees with them, it need not be because their comment was wrong or foolish, but because the person did not understand fully. Learning that “there is no failure, only feedback”, they become resilient to criticism and conscious that naysayers often seek to conceal their own inadequacies by pointing out the splinter in the other’s eye.

On a social justice level, the youth discover that resolving conflict amicably is something all of us can and should do. They gain confidence to resolve their own conflicts through communication. They see that the power to resolve conflicts lies in their hands and take ownership of the peace and well-being of others within their community.6

Recommendations

Although there are many PMPs in educational institutions worldwide, the majority of schools have yet to devise and introduce one. One way to improve the situation is for existing PMP providers to share tools for “training trainers” and materials that will inspire and enable teachers to draw on local and international experience. For those interested in running a PMP, three suggestions from Peacemakers’ organisers are: 

Institutional Support and Educator Role-Modelling

Unsurprisingly, PMPs which made the greatest impact were fronted by staff invested in promoting the use of mediation in school. By reducing reliance on authoritarian forms of rule-enforcement-based problem solving, peer mediation represents a paradigm shift in the teacher-student dynamic. Teachers must trust in the students’ ability to lead the resolution of their conflicts. As mediating can be psychologically stressful, peer mediators should know of available mentoring support. This can be trained school staff or professional mediator volunteers who help triage the conflicts appropriate for peer mediation and determine which should be escalated for administrative intervention.

Relevance

Role plays which mirror the youth’s experiences and struggles will help them better appreciate the relevance of peer mediation. Rather than lectures abbreviated by anecdotes, the right pedagogical mindset is practice abbreviated by lectures. The youth generally love a good challenge and have a lifegiving ability to laugh at themselves. However, many also struggle with adolescence and may feel awkward when searching for the correct intervention. With a blend of humour and gravitas, the practices will provide the youth with the self-confidence and competency to be leaders and peacemakers. 

Keep Things Simple

An effective PMP keeps things simple and focused. One of Peacemakers’ greatest challenges has been to include all the well-intentioned advice from stakeholders into a limited time frame. Schools are busy places and sustaining the youth’s interest can feel impossible. While encouraging the young peacemakers to be ambitious, a PMP is most effective when it focuses on the small steps to de-escalate and resolve conflicts. One tool that can help peer mediators beyond the workshop is a behavioural guide printed on a wallet-size card. An example of a Peacemaker Code reads:

  • Don’t be a mere spectator to fights
  • Listen actively
  • Suggest constructive solutions
  • Acknowledge others’ emotions
  • Take a breath before reacting
  • Don’t pass on fake news/rumours
  • Be responsible for your community
  • Communicate empathy.

Conclusion

The following lyrics sum up our thoughts succinctly:

“I believe the children are our future
Teach them well and let them lead the way”7

Let us raise a generation who will serve as agents of peace, and truly bring about the Golden Age of peace we mediators hope for.


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And A Little Child Shall Lead Them – Peacemakers 2019

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On 12 July 2019, our Training and Development Advisor, Professor Joel Lee, published a blog post on the Kluwer Mediation Blog entitled “And A Little Child Shall Lead Them – Peacemakers Conference 2019”. His blog post is reproduced in full below.


I have in previous entries (July 2012 and July 2013) written about a peer mediation initiative called the Peacemakers Conference. The purpose of the Peacemakers Conference is to teach 13-16 year olds how to resolve conflicts amicably in a workshop cum competition format. This year’s Peacemakers Conference was held from 17 to 19 July 2019.
 
As in previous years, we asked students from different schools to work together to create a visual metaphor for mediation. This started in 2015 and has become a regular feature in the Peacemakers Conference. Metaphors from previous years be found in the entries for November 2015August 2016July 2017 and July 2018.

This year, the students came up with 7 visual metaphors which I would like to share with readers in this entry. For each of these, images or videos of the metaphor are shared along with a description of the metaphor.

I would like to acknowledge the efforts of Mr. Sean Lim and the Peacemakers Facilitation team for capturing the the description and images of each of the metaphors that appear below.

1. Mediation is like a Wire

Mediation is like a wire; it connects the handphone to the portable charger. In the case of mediation, when the two parties come together, the mediation session helps them to connect with each other, so that they can find a solution that is agreeable to the both of them. It helps the two parties to work together and cooperatively to reach a certain desired outcome. Just like mediation, a wire connects two appliances together. In mediation, the parties bring two opposing points of view and what they want is very different. This is similar to a phone and portable charger. They are very different things and they serve different purposes. The wire helps them both to achieve their purposes.

2. Mediation is a Flying Cow

Is it a bird? Is it a plane?

NO, it’s a FLYING COW!

Indeed, mediation is a like a flying cow. You might be thinking, holy cow! What a strange metaphor. How is a flying cow related to mediation? Well, the two actually have more in common than you think, especially whenever two parties have beef with each other.

Firstly, a flying cow represents the 3 core pillars of mediation: neutrality, confidentiality, and party autonomy.

Neutrality: The cow is not biased towards any farmer, as long as it is well fed and taken care of, which represents how mediators are not biased towards any party and are an impartial third party. Their hooves are split into 2 equal parts, and their weight is distributed equally on both of these, which shows how the cow is even and fair.

Confidentiality: Have you ever heard a cow talk? Neither have we. This ensures the contents are always secret and private, maintaining confidentiality: everything that goes into the cow, will stay in the cow, just like what is said in the mediation will stay in the mediation.

Party Autonomy: With wings, the cow also has the freedom to fly wherever it wants and these allow it to choose and commit to a destination. Also, the wings can allow it to fly and look at the situation from different perspectives and find a solution. Similarly, parties voluntarily generate their solution which they have ownership of. This represents party autonomy!

Secondly, the cow also represents the mediation process itself as it has four stomachs. When the cow eats, it first chews the food just enough to swallow. The partly chewed food travels to the first two stomachs, where it is stored. These first two stomachs represent the first two steps in the mediation process, opening and information gathering+checking as all the food has not been digested yet, just like how the information still needs to be processed and reframed by a mediator (which are like enzymes in the stomach). Here, the information is still being broken down, and parties may face conflicts or misunderstandings, similar to how cows may face indigestion.

When the cow is full from this eating process, it rests. This is akin to how sometimes, parties may get physically or emotionally tired from the long processes and mediations and may need a break after passionately conveying their feelings. Later, the cow coughs up bits of unchewed food and chews them completely before swallowing again. The food then goes through the third and fourth stomachs, where it is fully digested. This is just like how all of the secrets, which are represented by the unchewed food of the cow, will need to be brought up and broken down further into their underlying problems and interests in order to continue on with a successful mediation. Since cows chew and digest their food very thoroughly, it represents the skill and depth with which a mediator must understand the issue at hand so as to guide the parties to a realistic solution. Finally after all the information has been uncovered and a solution has been found, the mediation can be closed, similar to the fully digested food in a cow’s fourth stomach.

As the food passes through the cow’s four stomachs, only the nutrients from food will be absorbed, while harmful and irrelevant substances will be excreted as… bullshit. This is parallel to mediation; what remains is only positive and valuable information, while the negative and irrelevant sentiments are discarded or reframed during the process, so both parties can mOOve on a happier note.

Lastly, cows are known for their milk. Milking a cow is hard work but no doubt worth it because the milk obtained is really precious. After thinking hard, the 2 parties will be satisfied with the milk of their labours and the mediator is rewarded with the satisfaction of mending a strained relationship. Cows may face stress if they are separated from their herd, or have a change in environment. This is similar to how mediation can sometimes be stressful, because of the high steaks situation, but these feelings get better eventually, just like a calm cow.

3. Mediation is a Life Form

It is the only reason why nature is alive. The reason why we have the environment around us. Why animals have emotions. Why animals live, grow and die. Life form is the only thing that divides the world of living and the dead.

The reason we chose the metaphor of the heart is because all living things have a heart, visible or not. Like a shell, the heart is not alive. The veins that represents life form. They are the reason why the heart is alive.

Just like the deoxygenated blood enters the heart through the veins, mediations first starts off as a conflict entering mediation. Just like how we need to get rid of the deoxygenated blood, we come in into a mediation with conflicts that we hope to resolve.

And the blood exits filled with oxygen – just like in a mediation, where the parties come out with a solution and certainly feeling better.

The heart is necessary to keep all creatures alive, just like mediation is important to sustain relationships and solve problems. The feelings we feel from our hearts are just like a mediation is filled with the emotions of parties.

Emotions may cause arguments, but it could also cause an argument to be resolved. Being alive. Being in this world. Allows you to think, sympathise and empathise with the other which are the reasons why arguments are resolved.

But being alive. But being in this world. You will have different perspectives which lead to arguments. Positivity and negativity do exist within us, and they are what makes us who we are.

This is why we chose life forms in a form of a heart. We chose 3 different hearts and as you swipe you can see how a negative situation can be turned into positive situation through mediation. As the colours slowly seep through the veins it shows the progression of how things surely will get better after a mediation.

Life forms. Being alive. We will be the reason why fights happen but mediation shows us how people can also resolve their fight together. Because mediation is bringing in dark problems but coming out with bright possibilities.

4. Mediation is a Microscope

Mediation is like a microscope 🔬.

The more 🔍zoom in🔎, the bigger the picture gets. The more you focus, you clearer you see 👀.

Whenever you use a microscope, the first thing you have to do is prepare your specimen. Similarly in mediation, you have to ensure that both parties are clear about the mediation session so that they can be prepared to cooperate.

Next, you have to examine your slide. When you look through the microscope, it is similar to how a mediator listens carefully to the parties’ opening statements and hears what they are saying, in order to see the big picture and understand the issues. The microscope also has different lenses to allow the viewer to see different things. The more you look, the clearer it is.

The mediator should also choose an objective lens, by being clear about what objectives the parties want to achieve after the session.

The microscope also requires a light in order to allow you to see clearly. Similarly, although parties may not always understand each other, the mediator sheds light on the issues to help them understand each other better.

In order for the light to reach the specimen, you also need a condenser, which is similar to the mediator’s function of summarizing. When you zoom in, sometimes what you see is not clear. In order to get the clear picture, you need to focus on asking open-ended questions, such as the 5W and 1H.

Finally, the last step is problem-solving. Once the mediator has identified the underlying problem, the mediator can help the parties problem-solve, giving them the autonomy to suggest solutions.

5. Mediation is a Lighthouse

When two ships 🚢 are lost at sea and are battling the rocky waves 🌊, lacking any light 💡 to guide them, they drift further and further away from their destination – the shore 🏝

This is similar to how without mediation, two opposing parties will be battling their unresolved issues (rocky waves 🌊) and will find it hard to resolve their problems, and will end up simply causing further misunderstandings and get worse. ☹️

Moreover, in the darkness 🌘, the ships may crash into each other and cause damage to each other, and themselves.

Similarly, without mediation, actions by both parties may result in hurt on both ends 😔, causing harm to their relationship 😰

Therefore, mediation is a lighthouse, because just as how a lighthouse guides ships 🚢 lost at sea who are at risk of being damaged due to the harsh waves and rocks, mediation helps two parties SEA clearly, water-ver the problem.

Mediation allows you to brave the harsh waves of conflict against all odds and eventually come to an agreement ❤️✨ just like a lighthouse shines light on the solution! (water!) 💦💦

6. Mediation is like Braces

The reason as we think mediation is just like braces is because braces bring teeth closer together, just like how mediation brings people closer together. The gaps between the teeth are just like the gaps between the relationship of the two parties, which is brought closer together by braces/mediation.

The pain that comes in the process of having braces is just like the pain of disputes between the parties. It might seem tough, but eventually, after the pain, the outcome is a beautifully straight row of teeth, just like how the relationship of the parties are made to be beautiful.

The retainers that come after braces ensure that the teeth don’t become crooked again, just like how the parties will keep to their solution and carry it out!

7. Mediation is like a Rainbow

Mediation is like a rainbow, which connects both the sun and the rain cloud. The sun and cloud are very different, they are basically nature’s polar opposites. On their own, they represent each extreme – the sun is very hot, while the cloud is very rainy.

But somehow, the rainbow manages to connect both and the two can form the fruitful conclusion of a pretty rainbow.

Neutrality. The sun does not care about what kind of clouds there are, big or small. Neither do the clouds care what kind of sunlight shines upon them. Either way, a rainbow will still be formed. When the sun and rainbow meet, it signifies that no matter the conflict is, it is possible for the mediator to step in and resolve the conflict.

Party autonomy. The rainbow forms only because the sun and the rain come together as one, and not due to any other reason. This signifies how both disputing parties have ownership of the situation and come together to solve the problem on their own.

Confidentiality. When a rainbow forms, it is actually because the light reflects off the water droplets in the air, but the process is not very obvious and cannot be seen. Therefore, this shows how the process of mediation will be kept confidential.
🌈🌈🌈🌈🌈🌈🌈🌈🌈🌈🌈🌈🌈

That brings us to the end of another installment of visual metaphors for mediation! I hope readers found some of these as inspiring as we did!


For more pictures and videos of the Peacemakers Conference 2019, please visit the Peacemakers Facebook Page.

As Singapore’s leading peer mediation experts, Peacemakers has an extensive track record of managing and delivering conflict resolution training for youth at both local and international levels. If you would like to train your youth to better manage conflict, let us know how we can help via email at mediate@peacemakers.sg.

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Peacemakers Conference 2019 – Report

By Daniel Foo on behalf of the organisers of the Conference

This year’s iteration of the Peacemakers Conference marked the event’s 10th anniversary – a worthy cause for celebration! Taking place from 17 to 19 June 2019, the Conference sought to teach 13 to 16 year olds how to resolve conflicts amicably in a workshop cum competition format.

This year, we were delighted to host participants from Commonwealth Secondary School, Evergreen Secondary School, Raffles Girls’ School, Hougang Secondary School, Jurong West Secondary School, St. Margaret’s Secondary School and Yishun Town Secondary School.


Learning about Mediation as a Mode of Peacemaking

Over the course of the Conference, the participants were exposed to mediation as a mode of amicable conflict management. Our lead trainers, Mr Mark Lim and Ms Madeleine Poh, trained them in the foundational principles of mediation, the process of peer mediation and elements of collaborative problem solving. Our trainers also focused on the skills involved in managing emotions, active listening and reframing. By the end of the workshops, the participants exhibited a keen understanding of what interests were, and how they were important for parties in conflict to generate sustainable options for resolving their disputes.

Just like in previous years, the participants spent the last afternoon of the Conference on a field trip to the Supreme Court of Singapore. They learned about the history of Singapore’s judiciary and legal system at the Supreme Court Heritage Gallery and had an interactive experience learning about court proceedings from the perspective of different persons involved in a court proceeding at the Learning Court.


Practising Mediation in Everyday Peacemaking

The participants got to put what they learned into practice through a series of role play scenarios. Over the course of the Conference, they were given hypothetical disputes that could reasonably occur between students in secondary school, and took turns to role play as parties and mediators in these disputes. This was a chance for them not only to exhibit their hidden acting ability, but also to practise their newly acquired mediation skills – including asking questions, managing emotions and encouraging brainstorming for solutions to problems.

After four gruelling rounds of competition, two teams emerged as the highest scoring participants: St. Margaret’s Secondary School and Raffles Girls’ School. The two teams competed in a final round at the NUS Law Bukit Timah Campus, where Ankita Alevoor Bhat (RGS), Tay Ee Shuen Megan (RGS), Annika Naomi Ee Rui En (SMSS) and Bathar Nisha Barvin (SMSS) mediated a dramatic and emotionally-charged hypothetical dispute. The finals were judged by CEO of Strategic Moves Pte Ltd, Mr Viswa Sadasivan; Deputy Executive Director of the Singapore Mediation Centre, Ms Sabiha Shiraz; and CEO of Sage, Mr Aloysius Goh.

Both teams put up remarkable performances – showcasing in particular their ability to ask effective questions. The judges commended both teams for their ability to stay neutral and refrain from suggesting options. The judges also raised the importance of ensuring that both parties feel safe to discuss freely in the negotiation, and that they reach a settlement that both are comfortable with. In the end, the team from RGS was awarded champion for their impressive ability to stay calm and ask effective questions quickly yet sensitively. Besides the prizes sponsored by Singapore Mediation Centre and Singapore International Mediation Institute, both finalists were awarded finely crafted ORIENT watches, kindly sponsored by BIG Time SG.

Additionally, five participants were recognised for their overall attitude and performance throughout the Conference: Hoo Ping Zhi from Yishun Town Secondary School, Malabanan Ace Brendan Malones from Hougang Secondary School, Koya Kavyanjali Sai from Jurong West Secondary School, Wong Ke Ning Clarisse from Commonwealth Secondary School and Ooi Jia Xi from Evergreen Secondary School.


Promoting Mediation as a… Flying Cow… with Braces?

Participants also got the opportunity to get their creative juices by inventing visual metaphors for what mediation is to them. This year saw what could be the most creative submissions. Participants likened mediation to a wire, a microscope, a lighthouse, a rainbow, and even a life form.

After each group’s presentation on their metaphors, it was decided that the top two metaphors were “Mediation is like Braces” and – probably the most imaginative metaphor to have ever featured in the history of the Peacemakers Conference – “Mediation is like a Flying Cow”. They explained that mediation is like braces because the process can be painful, but it can also bring parties closer and more aligned with each other. Mediation is also like a flying cow – with each of its four stomachs representing each stage of the mediation process. The cow’s behavioural features also symbolise the principles of mediation, while its wings represent the possibility of reaching a solution.


Concluding Words

The organisers would like to express their heartfelt gratitude to the many people that made the Peacemakers Conference 2019 such a great success. First and foremost, we would like to thank the Singapore International Mediation Institute, the Singapore Mediation Centre, the Community Mediation Centre, the NUS Collaborative Dispute Resolution Club, and BIG Time SG for supporting the Conference. Without them, the Conference would not have been the success that it was.

We would also like to thank all the judges who volunteered their precious time to invest in the participants’ mediation training. The judges’ dedication, patience, and wisdom are greatly appreciated, both by the organisers as well as the participants.

Next, we would like to express our special thanks to St. Margaret’s Secondary School for graciously hosting the Conference, and especially to Mrs Foo Kar Hiang for her help with coordinating the event. We would like to thank the National University of Singapore’s Faculty of Law for hosting the finals. We would also like to thank all the trainers and facilitators, who worked tirelessly to ensure the smooth running of the Conference.

Finally, we would like to thank the participants for their enthusiasm and willingness to learn. They have impressed us with their ability, creativity and potential to be peacemakers in their respective spheres of influence. As the Managing Director of Peacemakers, Mr Sean Lim, said in his closing remarks: our world is filled with strife, and sometimes it can seem overwhelming. But if we can just make a difference where we are – to our families, our friends and our communities – we are already making a step in the right direction.



For more pictures and videos of the Peacemakers Conference 2019, please visit the Peacemakers Facebook Page.

As Singapore’s leading peer mediation experts, Peacemakers has an extensive track record of managing and delivering conflict resolution training for youth at both local and international levels. If you would like to train your youth to better manage conflict, let us know how we can help via email at mediate@peacemakers.sg.

Insyirah

Peace Talks – Insyirah Isham

In our interview series, entitled “Peace Talks”, we speak to peacemakers with different backgrounds and life stories, and ask them to share their thoughts and reflections. 

This edition of “Peace Talks” features Insyirah Isham from Jurong West Secondary School:

 

Q: How was your overall experience at the Peacemakers Conference 2018?

My overall experience at the Peacemakers Conference 2018 was that it was one of the best Conferences that I’ve ever attended. They taught me different methods to cope with different types of issues, and also taught me how to handle different types of people coming in for mediation sessions (some can be angry, sad or even quiet). Their way of teaching was easy to understand and fun at the same time! All of this wouldn’t have happened without the help of the amazing, engaging, and lively facilitators who guided us from the start till the end.

 

Q: What was the most unforgettable part of the Conference for you?

One of the most unforgettable moments was when my school managed to clinch the position of Best Mediators of the Peacemaker Conference (Competition) 2018! We didn’t expect to win as other schools were better in the way they presented themselves confidently. It was definitely shocking to hear that we won as this was our first time participating in the Peacemakers Conference.

 

Q: What is an example of you applying what you learned in the Conference in real life?

I’ve applied the skills that I’ve learnt in various events such as in class, amongst my batch mates, my families, and even my close friends. Without any hesitation, some even came back for more mediation as they found it very calming, effective, and convenient! With the skills that I’ve learnt, I managed to ensure that all my friends, family members, and even schoolmates were not worried about information being leaked etc. This has helped make the school environment much brighter as there is now less tension between us.

 

Q: If you could give one piece of advice to the incoming participants of the Peacemakers Conference 2019, what would you tell them?

One of the many pieces of advice that I could give to others is to always look up and never give up after every round of mediation competition round. The competition is made to be challenging after each round but other than being nerve-wrecking, it will also spark joy in your heart after the parties have resolved their issues because of your help. Always take down notes of the judges comments and use it to improve from the next round onwards. Good Luck!

 


Like what you see here? Sign up for the Peacemakers Conference 2019 today!

For more pictures and videos of the Peacemakers Conference 2018, please visit the Peacemakers Facebook Page.

As Singapore’s leading peer mediation experts, Peacemakers has an extensive track record of managing and delivering conflict resolution training for youth at both local and international levels. If you would like to train your youth to better manage conflict, let us know how we can help via email at mediate@peacemakers.sg.

Eunice

Peace Talks – Eunice Ho

In our interview series, entitled “Peace Talks”, we speak to peacemakers with different backgrounds and life stories, and ask them to share their thoughts and reflections. 

This edition of “Peace Talks” features Eunice Ho from Holy Innocents’ High School:

 

Q: How was your overall experience at the Peacemakers Conference 2018?

My overall experience at Peacemakers was enriching. I wasn’t expecting to learn much but I was wrong. Going to Peacemakers Conference 2018 taught me what mediation is. The facilitators shared their experiences and brought us through the process of mediation. The students from other schools were very approachable too and I’m thankful to have met all these people 🙂

 

Q: What was the most unforgettable part of the Conference for you?

The most unforgettable part would be the mediation sessions! The sessions were very interesting because everyone was given a chance to be both a mediator and a party. It was truly an eye-opening experience and I will never forget how enthusiastic and fierce the parties were haha!

 

Q: What is an example of you applying what you learned in the Conference in real life?

When my friends were faced with conflicting issues, they decided to talk it out and I became their mediator. I applied what I learnt from the Conference by asking how both parties felt and led them to talk it out on their own. There were some misunderstandings and I asked both parties to come to a conclusion that both of them could agree on. In the end, they managed to talk it out and became friends again after the “mediation session”. Yay!

 

Q: If you could give one piece of advice to the incoming participants of the Peacemakers Conference 2019, what would you tell them?

It’ll be a fun and fulfilling journey! Go with a mindset of learning new things and you will leave with knowledge that can be used in the future. Remember to have fun and make new friends! It may seem boring but going to the Conference will prove you wrong, I am confident that most of you will enjoy Peacemakers Conference 2019!

 


Like what you see here? Sign up for the Peacemakers Conference 2019 today!

For more pictures and videos of the Peacemakers Conference 2018, please visit the Peacemakers Facebook Page.

As Singapore’s leading peer mediation experts, Peacemakers has an extensive track record of managing and delivering conflict resolution training for youth at both local and international levels. If you would like to train your youth to better manage conflict, let us know how we can help via email at mediate@peacemakers.sg.

Girish

Peace Talks – Sudheer Kumar Girish

In our interview series, entitled “Peace Talks”, we speak to peacemakers with different backgrounds and life stories, and ask them to share their thoughts and reflections. 

This edition of “Peace Talks” features Sudheer Kumar Girish from Commonwealth Secondary School:

 

Q: How was your overall experience at the Peacemakers Conference 2018?

It was an enjoyable and enriching experience in which I managed to learn a lot more about mediation and become a better mediator in general, also with a great company of people! Although there was this prevailing atmosphere of tension and fear that probably lurked in every other participant’s minds due to competitive nature of the Conference, the hospitality offered by the facilitators managed to make a gradual transition from that to a Conference that was exciting and fun rather quickly!

 

Q: What was the most unforgettable part of the Conference for you?

The most unforgettable part would be the various discussions we managed to have within pockets of friends that weren’t limited to our school. The Conference was an opportunity to meet students from different schools and backgrounds, rooted with the same interest to encourage peacekeeping within our own friends. The discussions and outing within those groups itself during the Conference only served to strengthen the bonds we forged. It’s an unforgettable experience, to be put in that kind of environment where we have people with a common, shared interest and really relate to one another whilst having fun and learning.

 

Q: What is an example of you applying what you learned in the Conference in real life?

As a mediator, I’ve managed to pick up language which entails empathy. Through the various problems and situations presented, as well as the true simulation of the actual conflict as the core part of the competition, I’ve acclimatised myself to handling conflicts, and learnt to empathise in-depth with others, while paying close attention to their word choice. Through the conference, a major skill I’ve picked up was the ability to empathise with others to a deep degree. Although there was no direct conflict between two parties that I had experienced after Conference, as a friend, I’ve managed to empathise with my friends better and comfort them better in times of difficulty. I am deeply grateful for the Conference that managed to equip me with such pertinent skills.

 

Q: If you could give one piece of advice to the incoming participants of the Peacemakers Conference 2019, what would you tell them?

Don’t let Peacemakers Conference be a competition –– it’s a lovely experience that nurtures you!! Let it be an avenue to develop your passion in mediating and problem-solving 😀 Stay confident and trust yourself enough to help others with the skills that you’ve picked up during the Conference!

 


Like what you see here? Sign up for the Peacemakers Conference 2019 today!

For more pictures and videos of the Peacemakers Conference 2018, please visit the Peacemakers Facebook Page.

As Singapore’s leading peer mediation experts, Peacemakers has an extensive track record of managing and delivering conflict resolution training for youth at both local and international levels. If you would like to train your youth to better manage conflict, let us know how we can help via email at mediate@peacemakers.sg.

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