Last month, Al Jazeera carried a piece called “‘Mama Boko Haram’ grasps for peace in Nigeria”. It detailed the activities of Aisha Wakil (pictured above), a Nigerian lawyer who has become a de facto mediator between Boco Haram and the Nigerian government – often at considerable risk to herself. “Mama Boko Haram”, as she has…

The legendary cellist Pablo Casals was once asked why he continued to practice at the age of 90. “Because” he replied, “I think I’m making progress”. It is an extraordinary acknowledgement from a man widely regarded as one of the greatest ever cellists. Let’s be clear – Casals was a colossus in his world. Fritz…

Recently my good friend Canon Andrew White (aka “the Vicar of Baghdad”, as he is the Anglican priest at St George’s Church, Baghdad) convened a meeting of religious certain leaders from Iraq and Israel, bringing together senior Iraqi Muslim and Israeli Jewish figures in Cyprus for several days of talks about peace. It was by…

Like many of us, I listened with rapt attention to the reporting from Geneva of the Syrian peace talks last week. So much is at stake. And so much of it feels very familiar to me as a mediator. One particularly interesting item was a radio interview last Saturday with a Syrian media officer who…

My December blog was centred around a 15th Century occurrence. This month, I am in the final two years of the 14th Century. Last night, I went to see Shakespeare’s Richard II at the Barbican Theatre in London. The title role was played (quite brilliantly) by David Tennant – a piece of trivia for all…

I am indebted to my friend and fellow mediator Mark Lomas QC for sending me the following email recently: ‘I have come across what I think may be one of the earliest recorded mediations in England, and conducted at the highest level. An Italian called Tito Livio dei Frulovisi wrote an account of the life…

Mediators deal in words – not exclusively, but a great deal (and perhaps sometimes too much, but that’s another blog). So it pays for us to think carefully about what words really mean. A couple of years ago, I came across an article entitled “US facilitation yes, mediation no: Omar”. It detailed how Pakistan, through…

Here is a confession. I have a theory (in the best traditions of Monty Python). It is totally untested. I am pretty certain that it would not survive rigorous, double-blind trials. It may, however, contain some seeds of insight. My theory – wait for it – is that mediations where one or more of the…

A few years ago, the mediation world was alight with gossip about the proposed launch of IMI, the International Mediation Institute (see www.IMImediation.org if you have never heard of it). Proponents and opponents in equal measure gathered either to welcome a fresh initiative, or to man the barricades against an attack on cherished turf. The…

Sometimes, I look around at mediation events at a sea of grey hair (mine included!). Where, I wonder, are those to whom we are handing this torch? And more importantly, what do they think? So as the dust settled on last month’s ICC mediation competition in Paris, I took the chance to capture some of…