Brave New World MII Annual Conference 2020





Registration is now open for our exciting Annual Conference with contributions from Dr Dale Bagshaw, Ken Cloke and Michael Lang as keynote speakers. We also have four Mastery Breakout Sessions for you to choose from and a showing of the video: Women's Voices, Building Networks: Voices of women in peace mediation on the island of Ireland

The conference will take place on Zoom from 13.15 - 17.30 on Thursday 3rd December
A nominal fee of €10 is required to book your place and all proceeds (after booking fees) will be donated to Focus Ireland.

Conference Programme

13.15 – Conference opening and programme outline from Conference Chair, Dan Hurley.

13.20 – President’s Address from Margaret Considine

13.30 –  Keynote Address from Dr Dale Bagshaw followed by Questions and Answers

14.30 – Mastery breakout sessions

  • His Honour Judge Keenan Johnson, Judge of the Circuit Court 
    Mediation in the Family Court Room: A Conversation with Judge Keenan Johnson
  • Gerry O'Sullivan 
    How to ask challenging questions of a party, in a neutral and safe way.
  • Patty Abozaglo  
    Graceful Connexions
  • Dr Heidi Riley, Adjunct Research Fellow, University College Dublin 
    Recognising mediative practice amongst women peacebuilders.

 15.00 – Break and showing of video: Women's Voices, Building Networks: Voices of women in peace mediation on the island of Ireland

15.15 – Keynote Address from Michael Lang followed by Questions and Answers

16.15 – Keynote Address from Ken Cloke followed by Questions and Answers

17.15 – Closing remarks from Conference Chair, Dan Hurley.

17.30 - Close of conference

Download event flyer

Dale Bagshaw:
‘Empowering Elders in the Brave New World’.

Elder mediation is a relatively new and complex approach to decision making and requires mediators to rethink the way they handle interventions involving elders and to be mindful of elders’ rights, including their right to participate in decision making about their lives, directly or indirectly, and with or without capacity. To practice ethically in the brave new world, qualified elder mediators require special sensitivities and knowledge of age-related policies, issues, practices and processes; and an awareness of the rampant and subtle effects of ageism on themselves and others, including elders. The World Health Organization has predicted that by 2050, the global population of people aged 60 years and older will more than double, from 12% to 22%, and the number of people aged 60 years and older will outnumber children younger than 5 years. In addition, elder abuse is predicted to increase, with around one in ten older people experiencing abuse every month. It is therefore unsurprising that mediation involving issues related to elders is rapidly emerging as a necessary and specialized approach to practice.


Michael Lang
Back to the Future…something old, something new

The sudden and sweeping change in the nature of our practices resulting from the pandemic has unsettled us and our clients.  In response, we have retooled of our methods.  Now, there is speculation that mediation practice may be forever altered.  There is no doubt.  We will not return to what has been familiar.
However, as we adjust, as we pay greater attention to technology, we need to remember our roots, the basics, the methods we relied upon.  There is a risk that the quality of interpersonal engagement diminish as we pay less attention to the interaction and focus more on the outcome.  We must not resign ourselves to the notion of a form of practice that is mechanistic; our challenge is to find ways to harness the technology, to accept the benefits, without abandoning what we has worked so well.  The task for us is honoring our roots as we adapt and adjust to the new circumstances. 

Kenneth Cloke
Politics, Dialogue and the Evolution of Democracy:  Toward a Mediative, Interest-Based Approach to Political Conflicts

We are in the midst of a global political crisis, filled with hostility, hatred and personal attacks.  The problem is, we haven’t figured out how to talk to each other about political ideas and beliefs, or discuss social, economic, and political disagreements in ways that can lead to learning, win/win outcomes, increased empathy, mutual understanding and collaborative problem solving.  Yet we are all citizens of the same countries and care about their futures. 
How, then, do we talk to each other about difficult and dangerous issues?  How do we exercise our responsibility as citizens without losing what we’ve learned as mediators, negotiators, and conflict resolvers?  How do we advocate for what we believe in without becoming biased and adversarial?  What is an interest-based form of political discourse?  What higher order skills do we require for democracy to work?  How do we design, organize, and facilitate dialogues over political issues?  How do we conduct meaningful discussions of highly contentious, values-based topics without degenerating into pointless diatribes?  What are the limits of collaboration and democracy in political conflicts?  How do we respond democratically and humanely to authoritarian and inhumane actions? How do we build trust between adversaries in difficult circumstances where time is limited, history is long, and positions have hardened? What can interest-based approaches to conflict teach us about political conflicts?  What is politics anyway, and what are the components of political conflict?  Are we slipping into fascism, how can we know, and if we are, what do we do about it as mediators?  So many questions, so few answers. 


Mastery Breakout Sessions

Judge Keenan Johnson, Judge of the Circuit Court

Mediation in the Family Court Room: A Conversation with Judge Keenan Johnson





Gerry O'Sullivan How to ask challenging questions of a party, in a neutral and safe way.

This break-out session will outline the methodology of asking challenging mediation questions to avoid engendering a sense of threat or vulnerability in a party. if a party feels threatened by a question, this may activate a threat response from them that could influence their capacity to think rationally and logically and their subsequent contribution to the mediation process.

 Gerry O’Sullivan has authored ‘The Mediator’s Toolkit: Formulating and Asking Questions for Successful Outcomes.’ Published by New Society Publishing, Canada (2018)






Patty Abozaglo  Graceful Connexions

This year has been a very different year for us to say the least. Our resilience and inner resources have been challenged by the pandemic. This is a session to take time for ourselves, to make connections within and hopefully with others through gentle mindful movement and breathing techniques of the Capacitar International Wellness Programme and Laban Dance and Body Movement.  A moment to ‘be’ and to gracefully enhance our own inner capacity to connect from the heart.

No previous experience required.







Dr Heidi Riley, Adjunct Research Fellow, University College Dublin, Recognising mediative practice amongst women peacebuilders.

This session focuses on the voices, perspectives and experiences of women peacebuilders that use mediation within their peacebuilding practice. The discussion examines how the primary focus of peace mediation within the context of high-level peace negotiations often has the effect of overlooking the extensive mediation experience held by women working in peacebuilding at the grassroots level and subsequently perpetuates a disconnect between local and global peacebuilding processes. Although the session takes its starting point from a global perspective, the key issues raised in the discussion are drawn from recent empirical research carried out across the island of Ireland as part of the project ‘Women’s Voices, Building Networks: Voices of women in Peace Mediation on the island of Ireland’, which is also the short title film that was made as part of the project.