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The Situation in Ukraine – what role for mediation?

The Situation in Ukraine – What Role for Mediation?


Prompted by the war in Ukraine Scottish mediator John Sturrock reflects on the role of mediation in crisis. He asks if there are situations where dialogue, even in the most threatening of situations, is not appropriate. Read about his three different examples of dialogue and join the conversation.

The escalating situation in Ukraine brings challenges to those of us committed to mediation and peace-making. Is there a time when what we stand for does not work and cannot be pursued? When dialogue, even in the most threatening of situations, is not appropriate? I don’t pretend to have the answers but I have been reflecting on three very different examples of dialogue in the face of seemingly awful situations. What, if any, parallels or lessons might we draw? As you read what follows, what thoughts occur as we consider the Ukrainian situation?

The first example is the deeply personal engagement between Jo Berry, daughter of the murdered British MP, Sir Anthony Berry, who died when the Irish Republican Army attempted to blow up Britain’s senior political leadership in 1984, and the man who planted the bomb which killed him, Patrick Magee. For more than twenty years they have met, initially courtesy of an intermediary, and talked privately and publicly about what happened and why.

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