Mediation has arrived, and it is here to stay. It offers all of us – from governments to lawyers to managers to social workers – a fast, cheap and easily accessible means to sort out a wide variety of disputes. And best of all, it works. Beyond this, mediation encourages tolerance, patience, mutual respect and understanding. It provides a means by which people of widely differing views can be helped to reach agreement where they can, and live in peace with their differences when they cannot. It offers a way for people to take responsibility for their own lives and to make the hard decisions with maximum opportunity to know the costs and benefits in advance.
I am always wary of claiming too much for mediation: it is not, of course, not a panacea for every conflict. But it does provide us with a rational means to find solutions both to our personal disputes, and to some of the most urgent problems humankind faces in the years ahead. It is not a cure for evil, but it points the way to how we may limit and contain the situations in which evil takes root Andrew Acland, A Sudden Outbreak of Common Sense – Managing Conflict Through Mediation (Hutchinson Business Books Limited c1990) 200