Mediation is viable at every level of society. Where ever there is interaction between two or more individuals, -- whatever the situation-- the opportunity to "step up" to the next level and grow closer is present.
It is this opportunity that engenders "growing pains" commonly referred to as differences, tension and ultimately, conflict. Mediation eases the growing pains and is the catapult for the "step up"process. When all parties adhere to the process the evolution is smooth and rewarding. It is the win-win that we've all heard of.
Conflict, very simply put, is when one party grows out of, away from or reacts differently from what the other party is used to experienceing.
Mediation has always existed: the village sage or palabra, local teacher or spiritual leader, respected leader. It has evolved with time and today its function is to provide a more human choice to address differences and distance that have grown between two parties.
The panoply of typologies of mediation ranges from but not limited to: social, civil & commercial, judicial, family, intercultural, financial, organisational & institutional…. The name of the typology can vary from one area to another. Each one follows the same process. Applications and specificities are incorporated and aligned to suit the precise needs of each type.
This is a cloudy point. Briefly, an arbitrator is a private judge whose authority is sanctioned by the parties. A mediator, is a third neutral and impartial party to a conflict-resolution opportunity. His authority is also sanctioned by the parties concerned. His role is to "guide" the parties to finding a solution to the existing challenge. The mediation process is his roadmap. There are other types of third party members
Mediation is a voluntary process. All parties, including the mediator, can stop the mediation at any point. The parties, with the guidance of the mediator, find a mutual solution to overcome their challenge. The solution is presented in the form of a Mediation Agreement which can then be acted upon by a judge. The Mediation Agreement becomes legally binding.Arbitration is a legal procedure. The arbitrator is a private judge. He decides on the outcome of the arbitration based on the documents and information provided by the parties.