The International Academy of Collaborative Professionals (IACP) has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize 2023, for international efforts to transform the way families resolve conflict.
We, at Bridges, are all members and supporters of the IACP. It is the pinnacle of our local, state, and national organizations. The announcement was made last weekend at the annual Forum where Collaborative professionals, mostly in family law, come from all over the world to teach, learn, reflect, bond, celebrate and have fun together. This is how the Collaborative movement has evolved from its birth in 1991 when two lawyers had the courage to meet together with their clients in a conference room around one table to resolve a divorce dispute. The lawyers had to request permission from the local court to even try such a thing without running the risk of a bar complaint for violating rules of professional conduct. Now, only 30 years later, those practices are worthy of Nobel Peace prize nomination. How inspiring!
What is it about Collaborative practice, including Collaborative mediation, that contributes to peacemaking? My take is that peace is a perspective which comes from understanding and compassion.
The necessary ingredients of understanding are looking at more than the legal aspects of the divorce by emphasizing the financial, emotional, and relational aspects of the transition as well. Understanding is looking at more than the superficial information and automatic reactions to see what is behind and below them. What is really motivating the conflict and how is it to be addressed? This kind of understanding comes from what has historically been considered other separate disciplines. By now they have become part and parcel of every Collaborative case by using different professionals and, because we cross-train, we all have a measure of knowledge and appreciation for the emotional, financial, and relational issues to refer to other disciplines in a multi-disciplinary approach.
Next with calm reflection we learn to appreciate the change in perspective that understanding brings. It moves us from anger and judgment to compassion for ourselves and others. From this space decision-making is a lot easier and becomes constructive for all parties, including the children.
Peace is a perspective, a different way of looking at things. It’s a knowing that comes from new information and understanding. It’s a way of being. If you find this in times of trouble and carry it with you in other relationships and interactions, the world will change to be a more peaceful place. This starts at the root of society – the family, where we first learn how to live. Even when parents are separated and divorced, what are we teaching our children? How to live in peace with compassion, no matter what the circumstances, within the boundaries of decency and care.
This will expand through our natural connections with others, to other countries and cultures. It’s already happening. And we’re proud to be part of this movement.
Dona Cullen, Attorney at Law / Mediator
5200 Meadows Rd Ste 150
Lake Oswego, OR 97035