Pulling Tomorrow into Today

“Without a vision the people perish, but without courage, dreams die”

Rosa Parks

Holla!

 

As usual I blog in peace. I had hoped to get to get out my first 2013 blog earlier in 2013, but as it turns out, today will have to do. So first up, happy 2013 to you all! I wish for all of you that 2013 is marked by courage, commitment and intention. Today Che (12) and Luc-Michael (7) had their second day back at school so I treated them to breakfast for kids of a King. So Luc-Michael checked out the sliced melon and goes: “No way! I am not eating carrots!”

 

I got back into the swing of things with a trip to Johannesburg last week. We continue to spread the message of access to justice and alternative dispute resolution processes. And so we had amazing meetings with senior members of the legal profession, key role players in commerce and construction and other business leaders.

 

Our programs, both the correspondence and research-based program as well as our five day workshops continue to grow in momentum and favour, and we have initiated the process of registering ADR Network SA as a higher education institution with the qualifications authority. We will keep you updated on our progress with that.

 

Next week we are honoured to be conducting our five day workshop in Grahamstown at RhodesUniversity. On Monday and Tuesday I will be accompanied by my amazing (no really!) colleagues, Adam Bright and Hilton Mundell. I always look forward to those times when I am kept on my toes with random switching of my ipad to Greek, getting my facebook and twitter accounts hacked with amazing messages about Hilton and Adam and landing up on facebook looking like I am not concentrating during Adam’s training. My message to Adam and Hilton this week is simple: expect the unexpected!

 

On a serious not though, we value what Adam and Hilton bring to the program. They have done profound work around instilling a culture of honour in the way we approach dispute resolution and an authentic internalization of the communication styles and transformative styles they model assist us in producing master mediators and arbitrators.

 

We are really looking some brilliant minds at Rhodes and are also excited to be joined by Prof Collins Miruka all the way from the University of the North West. More about that next week.

 

We have had some insight into two rather significant cases in the last week and will be contributing some of our expertise and efforts in activating for access to justice. Whether we do that via assisting in fund raising efforts or via activating for both matters to go to ADR processes (which naturally is our ultimate plight) we intend to be unrelenting in our fight to ensure that access to justice is never a product of affordability.

 

I must state here that our fight is never with individuals. We are peacemakers after all. Our fight is against unjust systems and mindsets that perpetuate those. The adversarial process is not limited to courts. Adversarial type disciplinary processes exist in schools and workplaces alike. Our view is that learning is never maximized when there is a bent on punishment. Restorative, reconciliatory processes underpinned by a commitment to truth and accountability maximize learning. While the bent should never be on punishment we are committed to holding poor-choice-makers accountable for cleaning up their own messes. This does not mean that relationships never come to an end or that workers are never dismissed or that learners are never disciplined. Interestingly the word discipline has its roots in words that mean to teach or to guide.

 

So we continue in our efforts to sensitize society as a whole to the substance and benefits of alternative dispute resolution processes. And we are seeing growing awareness opening up in every sector-including family disputes, commerce, labour, medical disputes and the list goes on.

 

On the other hand we continue in our efforts to skill up and inspire others to reach for excellence in ADR skills and expertise.

 

As always our view is that esteeming accesses to justice and excellence in skills will naturally take care of case management issues. It is only a matter of time before justice looks more restorative and reconciliatory and we are committed to being a part of pulling tomorrow into today.

 

May I just mention one of our graduates, Butiki Rantso who is tireless in assisting us in activating for change and has recently attracted over 100 trainees to our programs as well as helping us to open up new sources of ADR processes in workplace dispute resolution. Sir, we value your friendship, your courage and your commitment.

 

A final, last but not least mention: my husband Mike, brilliant, committed and HANDSOME! He has always backed me and been my biggest fan. It is amazing what one is capable of when someone who loves you backs you. He is always there, listening, encouraging, providing capital when we have wanted to expand. He was there with me in the sea when I did my first open water swim. Without him I could not get through the breakers-both literally and figuratively. I am so blessed!

 

That’s all for today. Thanks for reading. I would love to hear your thoughts. You can email me on sheena@mediatorsa.co.za or follow me on twitter @sheena_ostjon.

 

For information on either our correspondence or five day program including a workshop schedule, please email adr@mediatorsa.co.za.

 

Until next time, peace!

 

Sheena Jonker

sheena@mediatorsa.co.za

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