Summary

Managing the Mediation Process offers an overview of the process of mediating interstate and intrastate conflicts. Each of its six chapters covers a different step in the process, identifying what needs to be done at that step and how best to accomplish it:

  • Assess the Conflict
  • Ensure Mediator Readiness
  • Ensure Conflict Ripeness
  • Conduct Track-I Mediation
  • Encourage Track-II Dialogue
  • Construct a Peace Agreement

Consolidating the practical wisdom of managing a mediation process into an easily digestible format, this handbook is designed to help mediators identify areas where they may need more research or preparation, as well as options and strategies relevant to the particular case on which they are working. Examples from past mediation efforts are provided.

About this Handbook

This handbook is part of the series the Peacemaker’s Toolkit, which is being published by the United States Institute of Peace. For twenty-five years, the United States Institute of Peace has supported the work of mediators through research, training programs, workshops, and publications designed to discover and disseminate the keys to effective mediation.

The Institute—mandated by the U.S. Congress to help prevent, manage, and resolve international conflict through nonviolent means—has conceived of The Peacemaker’s Toolkit as a way of combining its own accumulated expertise with that of other organizations active in the field of mediation. Most publications in the series are produced jointly by the Institute and a partner organization. All publications are carefully reviewed before publication by highly experienced mediators to ensure that the final product will be a useful and reliable resource for practitioners.

About the Authors

David Smock is vice president of the Institute's Center for Mediation and Conflict Resolution and associate vice president of the Religion and Peacemaking program, one of the Centers of Innovation. Previously he served as director of the USIP's Grant program and coordinator of Africa activities. He has worked on African issues for over thirty years and lived in Africa for eleven years. As a staff member of the Ford Foundation from 1964 to 1980, he served in Ghana, Kenya, Lebanon, Nigeria, and New York.

From 1980 to 1986, Smock served concurrently as director of the South African Education Program, a scholarship program that brings black South African students to U.S. universities, and vice president for program development and research for the Institute of International Education. After serving as executive associate to the president of the United Church of Christ from 1986 to 1989, Smock became executive director of International Voluntary Services, supervising development projects in Africa, Asia, and Latin America.

He is editor of Interfaith Dialogue and Peacebuilding, Making War and Waging Peace: Foreign Intervention in Africa, and co-editor of African Conflict Resolution: The U.S. Role in Peacemaking. He received a Ph.D. in anthropology from Cornell University and holds an M.Div. from New York Theological Seminary.

A senior partner in the consulting firm Social Insight, Amy L. Smith writes on a variety of international issues, including conflict management, transitional justice,public health, and education issues. Her work generally concerns extracting public policy recommendations from scholarly research. She has conducted research for, taught for, and worked with a variety of advocacy and policy organizations in the United States, Brazil, and Switzerland. She is the author of A Forced Agreement: Press Quiescence to Censorship in Brazil.

Related Publications

U.S.-Iraq Dialogue Opens Door To Reset Relations

U.S.-Iraq Dialogue Opens Door To Reset Relations

Wednesday, June 10, 2020

By: Sarhang Hamasaeed

Since October 2019, Iraq has been rocked by multiple crises. Protesters hit the street last fall to demand an end to corruption and foreign interference, an overhaul of the political system, and economic justice, leading to the resignation of Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi in November. Several attempts to form a new government failed until Mustafa al-Kadhimi succeeded in May. At the beginning of 2020, the U.S. airstrike that killed Iranian commander Qassem Soleimani resulted in ratcheted up tensions between Washington and Tehran that largely played out on Iraqi soil. Then the coronavirus descended up Iraq.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Mediation, Negotiation & Dialogue; Fragility & Resilience

Amid Libyan Crisis, Two Hostile Towns Build a Basis for Peace

Amid Libyan Crisis, Two Hostile Towns Build a Basis for Peace

Monday, June 1, 2020

By: Abigail Corey; Esra Elbakoush

Libya’s escalated warfare and the COVID pandemic are hindering formal diplomacy and thus prolonging the risks the conflict poses—from the Mediterranean to Africa’s Sahel region. Yet even as international peacemaking on Libya is stalled, long-time foes in the country’s west have overcome old enmities to cooperate amid the coronavirus crisis. It is the latest of several grassroots advances in Libya that show how local dialogues can build peace amid warfare—even when global diplomacy is impeded.

Type: Blog

Mediation, Negotiation & Dialogue; Global Health

Yes, we can meet on online. But can we negotiate peace there?

Yes, we can meet on online. But can we negotiate peace there?

Friday, May 15, 2020

By: Juan Diaz-Prinz, Ph.D.

The spread of the coronavirus has forced mediators and their international partners to halt the face-to-face meetings typically used in building peace. Feeling a sense of urgency, practitioners have scrambled to upgrade their use of alternatives—notably online consultations, dialogues and workshops. Digital tools are being quickly developed that could provide opportunities for peacebuilding unimaginable just a couple of years ago. How can we ensure that this development, now accelerated by the COVID pandemic, remains viable in practice?

Type: Blog

Global Health; Mediation, Negotiation & Dialogue; Peace Processes

Venezuela: Could the Coronavirus Threat Be an Opportunity?

Venezuela: Could the Coronavirus Threat Be an Opportunity?

Wednesday, April 8, 2020

By: Keith Mines; Steve Hege

Helping Venezuela resolve its political crisis will be vital to containing the potentially catastrophic COVID-19 pandemic there. A truce in the country’s power struggle is urgent, and last week’s U.S. proposal for a transitional government offers useful ideas, even for a naturally skeptical governing regime. Advancing them would benefit from mediation, perhaps by the Vatican or the United Nations, and will require cooperation among the major powers—the United States, Russia and China—involved in the crisis. If Venezuelans and outsiders can join against the common human threat of coronavirus, that could lay foundations for an eventual political solution to the decade of turmoil that has brewed the hemisphere’s worst humanitarian disaster.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Global Health; Mediation, Negotiation & Dialogue; Peace Processes

View All Publications