On July 15th, the Riverdale Impact Justice Barbados team touched down in beautiful Bridgetown to commence a full week of training for faculty and staff of the University of the West Indies (UWI), and its numerous Open Campuses across the Caribbean. Despite an initial set-back involving one of our teaching team’s inbound flight to Bridgetown, our team consisting of Daniella Wald, Jared Norton, Mina Vaish and Elizabeth Hyde, began instruction the 40-hour Mediation training for Impact Justice.
Members of the UWI community come from all over to attend this particular training session: Anguilla, Antigua, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Jamaica, Montserrat, St. Lucia, and Trinidad and Tobago. It was immediately apparent to our team, these students of 7 professors, deans of departments, university HR professionals, and other university members were impressively proficient in absorbing skills and competencies in mediation and negotiation.
Day 1 of training began with a warm welcome from Professor Newton to our teaching team. The participants were guided through preliminary theoretical concepts in conflict, negotiation, and mediation. A simple role play allowed for the group to connect and meet each other more personally. Day 2 was focused on gender and culture considerations, and a lively discussion ensued on process considerations and challenges relating to inclusivity and mediation. Day 3 was the first major role play, and the participants negotiated a simple contract negotiation. On Day 4, equipped with basic and advanced skills in mediation, the participants conducted a multi-party mediation role play allowing them to experience the complexities of multi-party and multi-interest mediation. On our last day, the participants immersed themselves in the roles of Denise and Jean with Academy Award winning acting zest (and some tears) in enacting an emotionally charged family mediation, and our week culminating in words of thanks from our team, the participants and Professor Newton.
The Shell Center of the UWI was our home for 5 days, and both the logistical and food staff were exceptional. Our teaching team were deeply appreciative for our hosts at the UWI, who graciously organized any logistical needs, and even a trip to Oistins for a lively end-of-training group outing to enjoy the sights and sounds of this famous outdoor Barbadian Fish Market.
By the end of our training, both our team and our participants had formed collegial friendships and share an enduring appreciation for mediation as an agent for effective conflict resolution.