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Parallel Mediation: Ordering the Chaos of Multiparty Mediation

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Abstract The proliferation of actors in the business of making peace has led to an increase in the frequency of multiparty mediations, with both positive and negative consequences. The purpose of this article is to simplify the complexity that often accompanies multiparty mediations by applying the structuralist and social-psychological dichotomy of negotiations to a model of parallel mediation. I propose that coupling structuralist and social-psychological mediations together in a parallel mediation can leverage the respective strengths of each to more effectively find a negotiated solution. Given the fiscal and political realities facing peacemakers, finding ways to increase the frugality and simplicity of cooperation between mediators is essential. The limited cooperation needed in parallel mediations does just that. This article analyzes how the parallel mediation model has been applied to two conflicts, the intrastate Tajik civil war and the interstate Ecuador-Peru border dispute. This analysis identifies five characteristics that were observed in these two successful examples of parallel mediation, and serves as a starting point for additional research.

Affiliations: 1: Conflict Management Program, School of Advanced International Studies, The Johns Hopkins University 1740 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20036 USA


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