30 Years In – My Reflections on Thirty Years of Mediation Study & Practice

This year marks my 30th year of study and practice of the Conflict Resolution technique of Mediation!

I fell in love with Mediation as a student in High School. I was one of the first generation of students to receive training in it, as part of a comprehensive rollout Conflict Resolution programming to K-12 students in the early 1990’s.

I remember it vividly.

The mention of it.

My interest in the topic.

My fascination with it and how deeply it mattered to me.

How by practicing Active Listening, Reframing and Analysis – I could better understand myself and others.

I could become a better person and more helpful to those around me.

It felt revolutionary.

I remember being so excited at the possibility of learning these skills – and how that could then help others and myself.

It felt like a breath of fresh air and something that I craved deeply in my bones.

In 1990, I received my initial training in Mediation as part of our school Peer Mediation Program.

That following summer, my mother took me to the Lombard Mennonite Peace Center (LMPC) to complete their Mediation Skills Institute.

I was one of the youngest students they had ever trained at 16.

I remember how excited I was to be part of an ‘official’ training taught by adults with other adults as fellow ‘students.’

I also remember hearing Cat Stevens Peace Train for the first time that week and feeling the magic of it all. The sense that it may be possible to help others become more peaceful and thus our communities and societies too.

(Ahh, to be young and idealistic….)

Nonetheless, I stuck with it.

I completed the training.

Went on to study Conflict Resolution at Conrad Grebel College. Live in Northern Ireland for a year and study at the University of Ulster. Eventually earn my Masters in Conflict Analysis and Resolution from George Mason University. Then, Georgetown University for Leadership Coaching.

And it all ties back to Richard Blackburn and the Lombard Mennonite Peace Center.

So, thank you Dick for all that you have given me at the start of my journey.

I can’t believe I’m 30 years in now…

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One Comment

  • Hi Stephen!

    What a wonderfully personal analysis of your journey in our beloved field! I enjoyed reading yours and feeling that same enthusiasm and joy when I first found (or did it find me) mediation! When I read in the bible “Jesus is our Mediator” I knew I was in the right vocation! God-given gifts, talents and abilities to bring peace to our world – can’t get more idealistic than that! Keep on bein’ blessed!


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