Conflict Resolution|Human Rights|Teaching

Rutgers Law Students Get It

My friend and colleague Jonathan Hyman asked me to visit his ADR Survey class at Rutgers Law School a few weeks ago.  Teams within the class had been assigned special topics to study and then present to the larger group, and one team was concentrating on the Corporate/Community Dialogue films that I had worked on and that CEDR had recognized.

The team’s presentation was very capable.  What blew me away, however, was a half-page handout that they distributed at the end of the presentation.

The text of the handout, in its entirety, was:


Approach issues as a problem to be solved and not as a statutory obligation.

Put away the idea that you are well-read and that you know what is best of others, because you don’t.  You should listen, talk to different people and get involved in the communities where you operate.

At the root of human rights lies the concept of human dignity and respect.  Mediation processes build people’s sense of personal dignity and their sense of being respected.

Mediations do not necessarily provide happy endings.  They are positive mid-points in processes where people feel that they have gained something from the conversation.

Negotiations set the stage for relationship building in which the community and company could come together in the future to solve new issues that may arise.

Be humble; always have a listening attitude.

Never get sued for a problem you don’t already know about.  Identify problems early.

Look beyond your borders.  Try to have a complete vision of the problem.

When the students had finished, Prof. Hyman asked me if I had anything to add.  I said nope.

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