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The Conflict Mediators' Forum took place at the Biltmore Hotel on Friday September 27. This gathering provided mediators from different vocations the opportunity to share experiences using mediation techniques. This forum was different from usual meetings because of the encouraged level of interaction. Participants were encouraged to “Bring it up so we can talk about it, get to the truth and improve on best practices.”

Aldo Valdez from Conscious Youth Development Programme and Cpl Hortence Hernandez fielded the first session dealing specifically with experiences in the field. Topics discussed included when it was right to refer cases, determining the way forward if pre-mediation reveals deep-rooted issues, the importance of laying ground rules prior to actual mediation and the importance of accountability  and professionalism in a small country like Belize where everyone has an idea of who the different officers of the law are.

Tina Cuellar-Augustus led a stimulating discussion on Best Practices, Challenges and Communication. This far reaching dialogue roamed from the logistics on the physical layout of a mediation space to the importance of confidentiality to the mediation process. 

The role of Monitoring and Evaluation to the mediation process was engaged by Australian volunteer Michael Carmody. He showed how the figures as collected gave indication of certain issues but much more was needed to help chart concrete paths forward. 

Marcia Mohabir highlighted the courts of Belize view that mediation was a necessary tool to the point of developing a court annexed programme. Participants at the forum were pleased to hear that their mediation training thus far with RESTORE Belize was equivalent to the first bit of training the court annexed programme required.

The day ended on a good note with awards being given out to mediators who really brought the practice forward and used the techniques on a day to day basis.  

For more images of the Conflict Mediators Forum, click here.