By: Theodore A. Deckert
Published: October 2016
As most lawyers who practice in Florida are aware, “Alternative Dispute Resolution” (ADR), and in particular mediation, have become more and more common over the last few decades. Whether by contract, statute or rule, it is often the first resolution process parties with a dispute must utilize before they can “go to court.” As such, it has become no longer the “alternative” but in fact the primary process for resolving many types of personal and business disputes.
October has become a time to promote and celebrate peaceful conflict resolution practices worldwide. Conflict Resolution Day was conceived in 2005 by the Association for Conflict Resolution, commonly known as ACR. Per its website, “www.acrnet.org”, ACR is national professional association for mediators, arbitrators, educators and other conflict resolution practitioners. ACR was formed in 2001 when several professional dispute resolution organizations merged. ACR works in a wide range of settings throughout the United States and around the world enhancing the practice and public understanding of conflict resolution.
Each Year ACR celebrates Conflict Resolution Day the third Thursday of October. This year is it October 20, 2016. Conflict Resolution Day was conceived by ACR to:
- Promote awareness of mediation, arbitration, conciliation and other creative, peaceful means of resolving conflict;
- Promote the use of conflict resolution in schools, families, businesses, communities, governments and the legal system;
- Recognize the significant contributions of (peaceful) conflict resolvers; and
- Obtain national synergy by having celebrations happen across the country and around the world on the same day.
Additional information about the ACR Conflict Resolution Day programs and activities can be found by clicking on the “Education” Tab at the ACR website.
In addition to Conflict Resolution Day, in 2011, the ABA declared the third week of October, ABA Mediation Week in part building on the efforts of ACR and many other national, state, and local organizations, which have traditionally celebrated conflict resolution during the month of October. Mediation Week this year is October 16-22. The theme for this year is “Celebrating Mediation in All Its Diversity” Per their website, “The ABA Mediation Week initiative is a celebration of the strides we have made in institutionalizing mediation as one of several appropriate dispute resolution processes.” Information and resources for programs and activities can be found at the ABA Mediation Week website http://www.americanbar.org/groups/dispute_resolution/events_cle/mediation_week.html.
In Florida, for the past several years the Governor has issues a Proclamation recognizing Mediation Week in Florida. This year Governor Scott has declared October 14-20 as “Mediation Week” in the State of Florida. Locally, the ADR Committee of our bar association has over the years organized school essay and art contests and other community activities to promote mediation. This year it will be reaching out to organizations to offer speakers as part of its goal to promote ADR and inform our local community about ADR. Anyone who has a civic or other organization that would like to have a speaker should email me at “firstname.lastname@example.org”.