Conflict Resolution Day and beyond

October 16 is celebrated as International Conflict Resolution Day all over the world. It is its tenth anniversary. It is always the third Thursday of the month, and the day is just part of an international effort celebrating October as Conflict Resolution Month.

Conflict Resolution in its simplest terms means solving a problem between two or more people, respectfully and intelligently. It is not concerned as much with who is right and who is wrong, as it is about how to get peoples’ needs met, and issues resolved.

That’s not always an easy task, especially when each party believes that it is right, and the other side is wrong, and they each want the other side to pay or do something.

The National Association for Conflict Resolution enhances the practice and public understanding of conflict resolution. There is a Hawaii chapter. ACR Hawaii’s mission is to “promote and support peaceful conflict resolution and collaborative decision making at all levels in our society whether in our home, school, ohana, workplace, or community.

“We are mediators, arbitrators, facilitators, educators, social workers, lawyers, psychologists, child and family advocates, peace educators, problem solvers and concerned citizens all dedicated in meaningful ways to the pursuit of peace, and to the development and support of peacemakers thought educational programs and services provided to our membership and community.”

Members of ACR Hawaii are from all the islands, including the Hawaii Judiciary for Alternative Dispute Resolution. Hawaii’s Chief Justice Mark E. Recktenwald has this to say about ADR: “Cases filed in our courts present a wide range of issues and circumstances, and no single process can be expected to meet the needs of all cases. However, many cases can be successfully resolved through alternative dispute resolution (ADR). The Judiciary offers a range of ADR options. Parties have the opportunity to use the procedure that best fits the particular circumstances of their case.

“… ADR processes can offer numerous advantages over both formal litigation and direct negotiations between parties. ADR procedures may lead to resolutions that are: faster, less expensive, more creative, better tailored to all parties’ underlying interests.

“We urge you to consider using an ADR process in your case. The Judiciary’s Center for Alternative Dispute Resolution is available to help answer your questions about ADR and how ADR may meet your needs.

“We are confident that parties who use our ADR programs can obtain satisfying results while saving significant time and money. We are therefore committed to providing opportunities for ADR, and to ensuring that ADR is conducted in a manner that is fair, transparent, and accessible.”

More and more lawyers are discovering the positive aspects of mediation to resolve differences, even in cases where medical negligence is involved. In fact, the Hawaii State Bar Association has an alternative Dispute Resolution section, and they are just one of many Hawaiian organizations that are a part of the Association for Conflict Resolution’s Hawaii chapter, and one of the partners with ADC Hawaii in celebrating Conflict Resolution Day. There are events planned on every island.

Kauai Economic Opportunity holds the contract with the Hawaii Judiciary for providing mediators for all small claims court cases, and temporary restraining orders. There will be a celebration on Oct. 16 at 1 p.m. in their conference room at 2804 Wehe Road, Lihue. After a welcome from MaBel Fujiuchi, CEO of KEO, The Honorable Mayor Bernard Carvalho will be presenting a proclamation declaring Oct. 16 as International Conflict Resolution Day. Members of the Kauai Council will also be presenting a certificate declaring it Conflict Resolution Day. Peer mediators from Waimea HS will be presenting posters about conflict resolution, and peer mediators from Kapaa HS, will be showing an anti-bullying video that they made.

What makes conflict resolution techniques work is that somewhere inside us, we want them to work. It is exhausting to maintain conflict and anger with others. It is healing to feel at peace.

One of the techniques in mediation is that both disputants get to tell their side of the story and how they feel, while the other listens respectfully. Sometimes that in itself has caused enough empathy between the parties to come to a graceful win-win solution. After all, it is all about perspective and perception gained by a person’s experience with the world.

“Tales From the Night Rainbow” was written by Pali Jae Lee and Koko Willis in 1983 for the keiki of the “Ohana Kame’ekua”. So much of the foundation of true “Aloha” is from this parable on p. 17. “All people climb the same mountain. The mountain, however, has many pathways-each with a different view. A person knows and understands only what he sees from his own pathway, and as he moves, his view will change. Only when he reaches the top of the mountain will he see and understand all the views of mankind. But who among us has reached the top of the mountain? Tomorrow, we too will see a different view. We have not finished growing.”

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Hale Opio Kauai convened a support group of adults in our Kauai community to “step into the corner” for our teens, to answer questions and give support to youth and their families on a wide variety of issues. Please email your questions or concerns facing our youth and families today to Annaleah Atkinson at aatkinson@haleopio.org

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