I have just read Ian Macduff’s recent Kluwer blog (26 November: “Upheaval and resilience: a note from the Shaky Isles”). What a privilege it is, in this blog, to follow Ian’s erudite writing. He captures so well the spirit of the age, with all its uncertainty, tragedy, hope and opportunity. On that theme, my wife…

Nothing is more fundamental to life than water. Water is also a potent fuel for conflict. Access to water has created many disputes through the ages. Conflicts over water are about scarcity, control, degradation, incompatible use, and quality. Their history goes back to much earlier than 2500 BC, when the city-states of Lagash and Umma…

Recap Last time I wrote as a young mediator about my mediation path, I had just arrived in Tbilisi, Georgia. It was February 2014, when people began being killed at the Euromaidan on Independence Square in Kyiv, the capital of Ukraine. I was trying to ‘break into the peacebuilding field‘ but did not have much…

As I write this, I am looking across the Gulf of Aqaba at the Sinai Peninsula in Egypt, near the place where the Egyptian border abuts Israel, south of the Israeli Red Sea port of Eilat. This morning’s BBC news tells us that Israel is on alert for IS attacks in the Sinai. The accompanying…

This week the South China Morning Post featured an article entitled “Why the theories of Einstein, climate change or evolution can never be proved right”. Referring to recent world headlines that Einstein’s theory on gravitational waves had finally been proven, the writer, Timothy Wotherspoon, argues that a scientific theory can never been proven right. He…

Abraham path was the idea of William Ury and his Harvard colleagues. The idea was to follow in the footsteps of Abraham which is the origin story of the Middle East. The origin story can be phrased: ‘4,000 years ago, a man and his family walked across the Middle East, and the world has never…

This year in the UK we are celebrating the 800th anniversary of the Magna Carta, or “Great Charter”. Signed in 1215, it remains one of the most famous documents in the world, and central to the British constitution. In mediator parlance, it is a “settlement agreement”. It came into being as a compromise between King…

“The key to doing well lies not in overcoming others, but in eliciting their co-operation.” Robert Axelrod “Although negotiation takes place every day, it is not easy to do well. Standard strategies for negotiation often leave people dissatisfied, worn out or alienated…..” Roger Fisher and William Ury For probably the final time, I am writing…

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…