The international website has been publishing a series of peer reviewed articles under the collective title Seven Keys to Unlock Mediation’s Golden Age. The objective of the Seven Keys is to encourage discussion among all stakeholders on navigating mediation’s best future.

The seven keys are: Leadership, Data, Education, Profession, Technology, Government and Usage. Each key has between two and four articles, each no more than 1,111 words in length, contributed by some 40 leading authors around the world. The series is full of inspiring and thought-provoking pieces.

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John Sturrock has contributed two articles, one reflecting on the 2018 Edinburgh Declaration of International Mediators and encouraging its wider adoption: 

“Back in May 2018, I had the privilege to host and chair a really uplifting and wonderfully diverse conference in my home city, Edinburgh, Scotland, under the auspices of the International Academy of Mediators (IAM).

Around 100 mediators from over 20 countries attended and shared deep discussions about how we as mediators can look outward and work towards a “new enlightenment” in the tradition of the great Scottish Enlightenment of the 18th and early 19th centuries which made Edinburgh, for a time, the “Athens of the North” and led to leadership in economics, philosophy and physics by such as Adam Smith, David Hume and James Clerk Maxwell. …At the conference we learned about Adam Smith’s lesser known work (after The Wealth of Nations) entitled The Theory of Moral Sentiments in which he spoke of the importance of finding common ground and “the pleasure of mutual sympathy”.

We were inspired by such writing and aspiration. At the conclusion of that conference, in a ceremony in the Scottish Parliament building following superb addresses emphasising the value of principled and interest-based negotiation delivered by world-renowned negotiation expert William Ury (who also signed the Declaration) and Scotland’s First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, almost 100 mediators signed a Declaration setting out what we believe in and commit to.”

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The other, co-authored with Tim Hicks from Oregon, comments on psychology and brain science and its importance in effective resolution of disputes and enhancing mediator practice:

“Mediating entails working with people in relationship. And given the nature of relationships, this means verbal and non-verbal communication, the stories people have about their world, what people believe, understand, think, know, what they think they know, and what they think is real and true. Mediators engage with people’s thoughts, feelings, understandings, perceptions and conceptions, as well as their attributions and projections, biases and prejudices. They work with issues of power, control and survival, with fear and aggression. Fundamentally, mediators work with people’s psychologies and identities, their worldviews and self-views – everything that makes up what it is to be a human being. A tall order!”

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Source:, June 2020


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