Gini Nelson\’s Engaging Conflicts

March 29, 2007

Engaging Conflicts Celebrates First Anniversary, and Asks Us To Ask: Are Librarians Totally Obsolete? (The Answer Is No) —

Filed under: Wikis and Podcasts and Blogs, Oh My! — Gini @ 9:15 am

intricate-wooden-carving-against-turquise-sky.jpgI’m late writing this, both in terms of the hour of the day (it’s after 10 a.m. local time) and from when I found this article (that was on February 26th, and it was itself published on January 30th). But I want to post today, because today is the one year anniversary of the first Engaging Conflicts posts! (Here is the link to the first post: Why Speak of Spirit and Conflict In the Same Breath?  Thank you, all, very much for your kind support and appreciation and help. I appreciate your kindness.

And I wanted to post about the article Are Librarians Totally Obsolete? because they aren’t, and we need to be reminded of all the reasons why. To me, it’s about literacy, and critical thought, and being able to use the wonderful resources available on the net and elsewhere (like in libraries) without being unduly distracted or lost because of everything else (overwhelmingly) available on the net. I love the net, and I want people to know how to use it well, and to know where else to go.

Here are the highlights of the 33 Reasons Why Libraries and Librarians are Still Extremely Important in Will Sherman’s superb article, and his Conclusion:

1. Not everything is available on the internet

2. Digital libraries are not the internet

3. The internet isn’t free

4. The internet complements libraries, but it doesn’t replace them

5. School Libraries and Librarians Improve Student Test Scores

6. Digitization Doesn’t Mean Destruction

7. In fact, digitization means survival

8. Digitization is going to take a while. A long while.

9. Libraries aren’t just books

10. Mobile devices aren’t the end of books, or libraries

11. The hype might really just be hype

12. Library attendance isn’t falling – it’s just more virtual now

13. Like businesses, digital libraries still need human staffing

14. We just can’t count on physical libraries disappearing

15. Google Book Search “don’t work”

16. Physical libraries can adapt to cultural change

17. Physical libraries are adapting to cultural change

18. Eliminating libraries would cut short an important process of cultural evolution

19. The internet isn’t DIY

20. Wisdom of crowds is untrustworthy, because of the tipping point

21. Librarians are the irreplaceable counterparts to web moderators

22. Unlike moderators, librarians must straddle the line between libraries and the internety.

23. The internet is a mess

24. The internet is subject to manipulation

25. Libraries’ collections employ a well-formulated system of citation

26. It can be hard to isolate concise information on the internet

27. Libraries can preserve the book experience

28. Libraries are stable while the web is transient

29. Libraries can be surprisingly helpful for news collections and archives

30. Not everyone has access to the internet

31. Not everyone can afford books

32. Libraries are a stopgap to anti-intellectualism

33. Old books are valuable

Society is not ready to abandon the library, and it probably won’t ever be. Libraries can adapt to social and technological changes, but they can’t be replaced. While libraries are distinct from the internet, librarians are the most suited professionals to guide scholars and citizens toward a better understanding of how to find valuable information online. Indeed, a lot of information is online. But a lot is still on paper. Instead of regarding libraries as obsolete, state and federal governments should increase funding for improved staffing and technology. Rather than lope blindly through the digital age, guided only by the corporate interests of web economics, society should foster a culture of guides and guideposts. Today, more than ever, libraries and librarians are extremely important for the preservation and improvement of our culture.

 Bravo, Will! 

Please remember to change your bookmark to the new site:


March 26, 2007

Free Workshop On Applications of Psychological Type in Conflict Communication Offered at New Mexico Mediation Association’s Winter Convocation —

Filed under: Business,Theory To Practice,Tips, Treats, and Tools — Gini @ 10:50 am

easel.jpgThe New Mexico Mediation Association’s March 31st Winter Convocation at the UNM Law School offers two tracks of workshops with four free workshops within each track. I’m presenting Communicating with Psychological Type in Mind During Conflict. It’s based on Carl Jung’s principles of psychological type as measured by the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator® (MBTI®), probably the most widely used assessment instrument of its kind (millions are administered annually in the US, and more in other countries around the world). I’ll overview applications in mediation and benefits to mediators and other conflict specialists in knowing and applying the principles, including assisting clients getting through misunderstandings based on type differences, identifying blind spots in the problem- solving process based on type, use of type to bridge cultural and gender differences based on type similarities, and the mediator’s own use of type to identify the kind of practice she wants. I’m a qualified administrator of the MBTI®, and greatly appreciate it as a tool.

Use of this psychological type analysis is better studied in the law practice field than in the mediation practice context. The most notable law-related works are University of Florida Law Professor Don Peters’ article, Forever Jung: Psychological Type Theory, the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator and Learning Negotiation, 42 DRAKE LAW REVIEW 1 (1993); and Florida Coastal School of Law Professor Susan Swaim Daicoff’s book, Lawyer, Know Theyself: A Psychological Analysis of Personality Strengths and Weaknesses, American Psychological Association (2004). Direct works are slowly showing up in the mediation practice context, most notably in Sondra S. VanSant’s Wired For Conflict: The Role of Personality in Resolving Differences, Center for Application of Psychological Type, Inc. (2003).

The other workshops offered Saturday are:


Journey into the Heart of Conflict: A Creative Exercise for Your Inner Author (Using Both Sides of Your Brain) presented by Cynthia Olson, with Wallace Ford


Mediation is the journey into the complexity of conflict, searching collaboratively for the links which can tie the elements of resolution and transformation. The mediator’s own journey and experience contributes to this adventure – we are where we’ve been. Come write a book about your personal journey, take the next step on your quest!



Cultural Competency for Mediators, presented by Tonya Covington


As the country becomes more diverse and the majority population prepares to become the minority, cultural competency is imperative. This is particularly true in New Mexico, where mediators are increasingly called upon to mediate inter-cultural disputes. Learn tips on mediating for other cultures and across cultures.



Engaging Reluctant Parties, presented by Stéphane Trustorff Luchini


Prospective participants in a conflict intervention process may initially indicate reluctance or resistance to participate when approached by a mediator or other intervenor. Such parties may be engaged to participate, and when they do, will likely report satisfaction with the process as do parties who initially readily agree to participate. For mediation and restorative justice that uses mediation to be widely accepted, mediators may have to be able to effectively engage initially reluctant or resistant prospective participants. Stéphane Trustorff Luchini will present research findings and practice applications, and facilitate an illicitive inquiry of this topic with workshop participants.



Building Your Mediation Business, presented by Debra Oliver


Are you one of those mediators and/or facilitators who would like to transform your volunteer practice into a paying proposition or quit your day job? If so, you won’t want to miss Debra Oliver as she talks about the importance of marketing yourself, thinking and acting like an entrepreneur. Debra will also talk about the importance of finding good mentors and the value of mentoring others.



Ethics and Power in Mediation, presented byWallace Ford


New Mexico Mediation Association has a statement of ethics to which all members agree, as does the Association for Conflict Resolution. This statement points the mediator toward the moral and spiritual foundations upon which our conflict resolution is built. This workshop will explore key moral and spiritual themes embedded in the mediation experience, distinguishing the frames-of-reference we use and identifying the metaphors of well-being which guide our work. Particular attention will also be paid on how reason-giving establishes the power dynamic of conflict and ways the mediator narrates balance.




Latino Families and Domestic Violence, presented by Mariana Montejano (Community outreach trainer, New Mexico Coalition Against Domestic Violence)


Domestic violence is a crucial issue for any mediator working with family and divorce mediation to be able to screen for and recognize. Cultural context shapes everyone’s life and domestic violence occurs in most if not all cultural contexts. This session will discuss domestic violence in the context of Latinas’ lives – daily experience, reality (“way of living”), and psyche (“way of thinking”) to better understand domestic violence within the Latino community. Come explore how to work specifically with this cultural group.



Thank you, New Mexico Mediation Association for sponsoring this event, and thank you, to all presenters for their volunteer efforts in enriching the practice of mediation!

March 15, 2007

Governor Bill Richardson Signs New Mexico Mediation Procedures Act Protecting Confidentiality For Mediation Communications —

Filed under: Attorneys and Mediators - No Conflict Here! — Gini @ 4:46 am

red-face dial phone

Governor Bill Richardson yesterday signed the New Mexico Mediation Procedures Act, establishing confidentiality for certain mediation communications. Mediation is broadly defined to include any process that facilitates communication and negotiation between mediation parties, or promotes reconciliation between mediation parties. Mediator is also broadly defined to include any individual who holds herself out as a mediator and who conducts a mediation.

The confidentiality protection is limited, however, to mediation pursuant to mandatory court- or other governmental proceedings, or to voluntary mediation pursuant to a written contract, and includes exceptions for administrative facts (such as when and for how long the mediation occurred), for communications that relate to preventing or correcting wrong-doings, or concerning professional misconduct or malpractice relating to the mediation itself, among other exceptions.

Congratulations to the hard working and persistent New Mexico mediation community for their work with legislators and other governmental officials to effectuate this!

Click here to open a pdf copy:


Please remember to move your bookmark to the new site: www.

March 12, 2007

The Power of Forgiveness To Air As Part of The Fetzer Institute’s Campaign for Love and Forgiveness —

Filed under: Tips, Treats, and Tools — Gini @ 9:47 am

easel.jpgMy thanks to one of Engaging Conflict’s  readers for forwarding me the links for this.  The Fetzer Institute is sponsoring The Campaign for Love & Forgiveness, a campaign extending from late 2006 into 2008 that:

combines public television programming, community activities and events, and on-line discussions to encourage contemplation and conversation about how love and forgiveness can effect meaningful change in individuals and society.

As I like film, I’m particularly interested in the PBS programming, which comprises the broadcast of three documentaries: The Mystery of Love, The Power of Forgiveness, and Unforgivable?

The Power of Forgiveness includes interviews with Buddhist teacher Thich Nhat Hanh, and Nobel Peace Laureate Elie Wiesel. Here’s a description:

This film examines the power of forgiveness in alleviating anger and grief caused by the most dramatic transgressions imaginable and those that are more commonplace. Among its subjects the film will feature families of victims from the tragedy of 9/11 and forgiveness education in Northern Ireland, where unforgiveness has been a way of life for generations.

You can check the film’s special, pre-PBS release screening schedule to see if it is coming to a city near you.

The Campaign’s website also includes Practices, and Resources, of love and forgiveness.

March 9, 2007

Women in Science and International Women’s Day —

Filed under: Theory To Practice — Gini @ 7:40 am

dramatic womanBelated Happy International Women’s Day (it was yesterday)! Omni Brain at Science Blogs used the day to highlight the 4000 Years of Women in Science site, and the Women in Science site. Omni Brain’s post contrasted these women’s real achievements with:

Louann Brizendine, author of best-selling book The Female Brain, which Nature described as “riddled with scientific errors”. In an NPR Fresh Air radio broadcast, linguist Geoff Nunberg announced that Brizendine was the unanimous winner of the first annual Becky Award for “the single most ridiculous or misleading bit of linguistic nonsense that somebody manages to put over in the media.”

Mark Liberman of Language Log disproved her claim that women use 20,000 words per day, and speak faster, compared to men averaging 7,000. (Turns out she referenced a 1970s self-help guru who simply made it up.) But despite his efforts and the bestowing of the 2006 Becky Award, the stereotyped fictitious claims are still being propagated: Elle Magazine wrote about it in their February issue.

EngagingConflicts previously posted about Brizendine’s book here.

Note: Please change your bookmarks to the new site:

March 7, 2007

Colorado Ethics Committee Concludes Collaborative Law Per Se Unethical, Cooperative Law Not —

Filed under: Ethics — Gini @ 6:29 am

blue record disk As previously posted in EngagingConflicts here, there is a significant ethical critique of Collaborative Law, and a growing movement for the practice of Cooperative Law. The main issue is Collaborative Law’s requirement of mandatory attorney disqualification if the process is unsuccessful. Cooperative Law is defined in the Colorado Ethics Committee’s Opinion as identical to Collaborative Law, but without the mandatory attorney disqualification agreement.

This is the Conclusion from Ethics Opinion 115: Ethical Considerations in the Collaborative and Cooperative Law Contexts (Adopted February 24, 2006)(note: date is probably a typo, as this Opinion has just been released):

The Colorado Rules of Professional Conduct prohibit a lawyer from participating in Collaborative Law so long as a contractual obligation exists between the lawyer and the opposing party whereby the lawyer agrees to terminate the representation of the client. Absent such a contractual obligation, a lawyer may participate in the process referred to as Cooperative Law provided that the lawyer complies with all of the Rules of Professional Conduct.

The Opinion lays out the Committee’s analysis, and also provides an extensive discussion of the “myriad potential ethical pitfalls” in a Cooperative Law practice, which include provisions relating to terminating the attorney-client relationship; communications with the client (concerning the applicable range of alternative courses of action in the client’s case); considerations of whether the client is under a disability (particularly if there is a history of domestic abuse in the family law context); and Cooperative Law organizations (as possibly impermissible referral services). These issues are also potentially relevant in jurisdictions where a Collaborative Law practice is not per se unethical.

Colorado does not have a mandatory bar association, and the Committee’s opinion is not per se binding on attorneys. However, it is a powerful statement about the practice of Collaborative (and Cooperative) Law in Colorado, and of the potential issues everywhere.

This is how the Colorado Ethics Committee describes itself (from its website):

The Colorado Bar Association Ethics Committee is a standing committee of the Colorado Bar Association, staffed by approximately 90 Colorado attorneys, existing for the purpose of giving ethics advice to Colorado attorneys. The Committee will answer written requests for ethics advice subject to certain exceptions such as those listed below. The Committee will issue Formal Ethics Opinions concerning topics of general interest. . . .

The Ethics Committee is NOT associated with the Colorado Supreme Court, the Presiding Disciplinary Judge, the Attorney Regulation Committee, or the Office of Attorney Regulation Counsel. Committee Opinions, whether informal written opinions or published formal Ethics Opinions, are issued for advisory purposes only and are not in any way binding on the Colorado Supreme Court, the Presiding Disciplinary Judge, the Attorney Regulation Committee, Attorney Regulation Counsel, or the Office of Attorney Regulation Counsel and do not provide protection against disciplinary actions.

The opinion is not yet posted at its website. If you would like a copy, please send an email to, with “Opinion” in the subject line, and I’ll send back a copy.

Be sure to bookmark the new location of this blog:

March 6, 2007

Collaborative Law Established, Cooperative Law Now Growing —

Filed under: Uncategorized — Gini @ 6:08 am

blue record diskTHE GROWING TREND OF COLLABORATIVE LAW: “Not for all, but a growing trend, and here to stay.”

So I said when I published my first article on collaborative law in the Los Alamos Monitor in July 2002. Indeed, it has continued to grow, and, from it, Cooperative Law, both topics in Engaging Conflicts, with leading Guest Bloggers starting soon. I posted earlier about John Lande’s work in Cooperative Law — John is one of the upcoming Guest Bloggers — but some people would like a basic introduction to Collaborative Law concepts as part of learning more about Cooperative Law. Thus, I’m republishing my article.

Collaborative Law is a form of lawyering that is, to some degree, a hybrid of an unbundled practice approach that uses a mediative negotiation style. It seeks to integrate non-adversarial and cooperative strategies, and relies heavily on the empowerment of the clients as informed decision-makers.

Lawyers who commit to being collaborative lawyers agree that they will never go to court in a particular case if settlement negotiations fail; and they meet in four-way meetings in which the clients are empowered to play a major role.

The clients themselves may conduct the settlement negotiations, with their lawyers there to assure there is also legal protection. Thus, collaborative family practice, where it is established, can become the third primary dispute resolution option for families in divorce and/or separation, together with mediation and litigation.

Like mediation, it isn’t the best choice for everyone, but, also like mediation, it can be well worth considering if some or all of the following are true for both parties:

a. You want a civilized, respectful resolution of the issues.

b. You would like to keep open the possibility of friendship with your partner down the road.

c. You and your partner will be co-parenting children together and you want the best co-parenting relationship possible.

d. You want to protect your children from the harm associated with litigated dispute-resolution between parents.

e. You and your partner have a circle of friends and extended family in common that you both want to remain connected to.

f. You have ethical or spiritual beliefs that place high value on taking personal responsibility for handling conflicts with integrity.

g. You value privacy in your personal affairs and do not want details of your family restructuring to be available in the public court record.

h. You value control and autonomous decisionmaking and do not want to hand over decisions about restructuring your financial and/or child-rearing arrangements to a stranger (i.e., a judge).

i. You recognize the restricted range of outcomes and “rough justice” generally available in the public court system, and want a more creative and individualized range of choices available to you and your spouse or partner for resolving your issues.

j. You place as much or more value on the relationships that will exist in your restructured family situation as you place on obtaining the maximum possible amount of money for yourself.

k. You understand that conflict resolution with integrity involves achieving not only your own goals but finding a way to achieve the reasonable goals of the other person.

Pauline H. Teschler, Esq., Collaborative Law FAQs, [from a site available in 2002, but no longer available. Note: Ms. Teschler, a pioneer in speaking, writing and training in this area, published Collaborative Law, in 2001, and, in 2006, Collaborative Divorce, with Peggy Thompson].

It is different from mediation, in that the mediator is neutral, and cannot advise one side or advocate for one side over the other. While parties in mediation may have attorneys, the attorneys are seldom at the mediation sessions. In a collaborative law process, each party has their own attorney, at their side, to advise them and advocate for them, if necessary, throughout.

Not for all, but a growing trend, and here to stay.

Note: please move your bookmarks to the new site:

March 1, 2007

World Peace Conference In Santa Fe —

Filed under: Tips, Treats, and Tools — Gini @ 8:14 am

easel.jpgThis from a friend here in Santa Fe:

Dear Friends of Peace,
You are cordially invited to attend the Building a Culture of Peace global conference on May 16-17 2007 in Santa Fe, New Mexico.  The conference will be held at the Hilton Hotel in downtown Santa Fe.  Registration and further information is at
This working conference will call together 500 local, national and global leaders for inquiry and strategic thinking on the question, “What would it take to transform the current culture of violence in our societies to a true culture of peace?”

Prominent peace leaders who will address us in plenary session are Arun Gandhi, and Nobel Peace Laureates Rigoberta Menchu Tum and Jody Williams, with H.H. the Dalai Lama joining the conference by video.  The rest of our time will be structured around five Peace Councils:
– Our Youth, Our Promise:
– Demilitarization and a Peace Economy
– Knowing the Others as Ourselves
– The Living Spirit of Peace
– The Politics of Peace

Using an “Open Space” technology that allows for all participants to consider the issues they are passionate about, each Council will spend two days exploring the leading-edge questions related to their Council and our overall topic.  They will be encouraged to identify best practices, share information and resources, build alliances and partnerships and explore (and commit to) strategic action steps.

The output from the conference – the plenary talks, data from the national leaders working with each Council and interviews – will be collected and made available online, as a next step towards a larger process of further galvanizing the global culture of peace movement.

Please join us, by registering at, where you can also find more details on the Councils and the conference theme. Register early as places are limited and the registration price of $45 goes to $65 on April 1.   We have a group rate of 20% off, for prepaid registrations of 5 people or more – contact <> for details.

If you are involved in an organization promoting peace, consider also promoting your work and ideas by taking a table ($25) at the Peace Fair, which will take place during the conference.

Please pass this email along to all your friends, colleagues and networks, so that those who choose peace as the path for our times will know about this rich and rare opportunity.

Blog at