In May, 2019, CNCR co-directors, Linda Stamato and Sandy Jaffe, offered a course, “Negotiation, Mediation and Conflict Resolution in Public Contexts” in Konstanz, Germany, to graduate students who are enrolled in the university. Among other requirements, students submit briefing papers prepared for an elected or appointed official in a local community or for one who serves on a provincial, federal level, or, for that matter, in the European Union. Each student is expected to assume an identity, becoming an aide, an advisor, a director, or a role of their choice, and, in that capacity, direct his or her brief to the official, recommending a “conflict resolution process” to be adopted in an agency, for example, or to be incorporated in legislation having to do with land use or policy matters, or to deal with a major controversy that may have recently erupted or a matter of complexity (donated organ allocation; welfare policy; water access, size/location of an airport, and so forth….) Students assume an identity and in that role prepare a briefing paper recommending that the person to whom they are writing take a given action, adopt a policy, program or procedure that builds on their growing knowledge of the uses of negotiation, mediation, and/or collaboration.
Superb examples of student submissions are included here: Siting a mosque in the German city of Mengen: mediating the conflict between India and Pakistan over water access: mediation, again, to dealing with water as well, this time, though, over the Renaissance Dam and differences between Egypt and Ethiopia; mediation to manage the wolf population in the German state of Brandenburg; and, finally, a proposal to use mediation to resolve conflicts over free public transportation, a proposal designed to improve the quality of air in the German city of Tubingen.