Attorney Barry S. Moller, a Cramer & Anderson Partner whose practice focuses primarily on Workers’ Compensation and Personal Injury, traveled to Northern Ireland this spring to participate in a unique mediation course offered through Corrymeela, Northern Ireland’s oldest peace and reconciliation organization.
“It’s just a remarkable process, a remarkable place. We were there for a week for intensive training on mediation. It was all people from NGOs from around the world,” said Attorney Moller, who was joined by his wife, Attorney Gina A. Pasquini. She lived in Belfast in the early 1980s while she worked for Gingerbread NI, which assisted one-parent families, at a time when IRA officer Bobby Sands died in prison as the result of a hunger strike protesting the British government’s treatment of IRA members as criminal, not political, prisoners.
In addition to Attorneys Pasquini and Moller, the other American participating in the course was a woman with a doctorate in anthropology who is assembling profiles of death row inmates in Texas. Fellow participants also included a resident of Sweden, which has the highest murder rate in Europe, and a woman from Holland who lives in the Sudan, where she’s working to create sports camps as way of dissuading Africa’s youth from risking death to steal people’s cattle or join armed militia groups.
The course at Corrymeela was conducted by Dialogue for Peaceful Change (DPC), a global training initiative developed by those who have worked in international conﬂict settings. They offer a toolkit and methodology for managing conflict, as part of a preventative training methodology covering four areas: The Nature of Conﬂict; The Conceptual Framework and Models; The Tool Kit, and The Practice and Application. “Participants then have the opportunity to apply these new skills through intensive coached role-play based on real global mediation scenarios,” the course description explains.
“You discuss what motivates people, what generates conflict, how to deal with conflict, and how to resolve conflict. That’s first half of the week,” Attorney Moller said. “The second half is focused on mediation,” and exploring the methodology for successful mediation in which “essentially you encourage a guided discussion and dialogue among the parties, not negotiation,” Attorney Moller said. “You let the parties do that themselves. In mediation, you say, ‘Tell me what happened,’ and you rephrase what they say so you and they understand the issues and then you roll them out.”
Attorney Moller was impressed by the “iceberg model” of conflicts created by Colin Craig, the former Executive Director of Corrymeela who went on to found DCP with Jaap van der Sar. The “iceberg” example studied in Attorney Moller’s course concerned the aftermath of the Good Friday Agreement of 1998, also called the Belfast Agreement, a peace accord between the British and Irish governments that marked an end to “The Troubles” and established the framework for peaceful governance of Northern Ireland.
The post-accord iceberg model delineates how the parties that were so vested in the Northern Ireland conflict, and had power and status because of it, didn’t want it to end. “That’s the top of the iceberg, the people who drive the conflict,” Attorney Moller said. “Then you go underneath to the people who have been subject to it but are less vested. You have to get to that level and break it down.”
“I really feel fortunate to go there, live there, experience their philosophy and engage in this course and learn a whole new analytical network for dealing with conflict,” Attorney Moller said of his time at Corrymeela. “That’s what we’re dealing as lawyers, conflict and reaching a resolution. As a lawyer, it gives me a whole new insight into conflict resolution.”
Located in Ballycastle, on the water, Corrymeela was founded before “The Troubles” and continues its role in a peaceful Northern Ireland. The organization has approximately 40 full–time staff and dozens of volunteers who host 11,000 visitors every year to the residential center, which is the anchor for a “dispersed” Christian community with 150 members, 50 associate members, and thousands of supporters around the world—described on the website as “teachers, writers, people looking for work, retired people; we are young, middle–aged and old; we are people of doctrine and people of question. We are people who seek to engage with the differences of our world.”
In addition to Workers’ Compensation and Personal Injury, with a focus on motor vehicle accidents, Attorney Moller also handles Premises Liability, which involves dealing with property hazards that cause harm. To learn more about Attorney Moller’s practice, see his profile page. He may be contacted by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, and by phone at (860) 355-2631.
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