The Supporting Effective Dispute Resolution (SEDR) project, with technical leadership
and coordination by The Asia Foundation (TAF), recently completed a five-day
Advanced Mediation Skills and Techniques training programme for 20 Mediator Training
Officers attached to the Ministry of Justice through the Mediation Boards Commission.
The programme was aimed at equipping Mediator Training Officers with advanced
mediation skills, enabling them to, in turn, train volunteer mediators to effectively resolve
disputes across mediation boards in Sri Lanka.
The SEDR project is a four-year initiative funded by the European Union and
implemented by the British Council in partnership with The Asia Foundation. The project
aims to improve access to justice and increase the use of alternative dispute resolution
mechanisms in Sri Lanka, including mediation services.
The five-day training workshop is a key feature of The Asia Foundation’s work on
enhancing the skills and capacity of Mediator Training Officers, who play a critical role in
the successful implementation of mediation efforts in Sri Lanka. Mediator Training
Officers are tasked with the responsibility of training and furthering the knowledge and
skills of more than 8500 volunteer mediators currently rendering their services to the
people of the country to resolve disputes by reaching a settlement acceptable to all
This advanced mediation skills and techniques training focused on the reaffirmation of
the principles of the interest-based approach to mediation which is in practice in Sri
Lanka and brought in new and improved concepts of mediation which when adapted
into the present system would further ensure the delivery of high-quality and efficient
mediation services across the country.
To achieve this goal, the five-day training covered a range of topics, including the
Mediation Process and its theory and practices in Sri Lanka, Financial Disputes,
Housing, Land, and Property Disputes, Restorative Justice, and Multi-Party Mediation. It
also included practical sessions where participants had the opportunity to apply and
enhance their skills in simulated mediation sessions.
This training was conducted by Jonathan Bartsch, an international expert, and trainer
with over two decades of expertise in the field of mediation. He is the President and
Chief Executive Officer of Collaborative Decision Resources Associates (CDR
Associates) based in the United States of America, which has been a longstanding
partner of The Asia Foundation in improving the field of mediation in Sri Lanka since the
SEDR is a four-year access to justice project implemented by the British Council, in
partnership with The Asia Foundation, and funded by the European Union as part of its
Strengthening Transformation, Reconciliation and Inclusive Democratic Engagement
(STRIDE) Programme in Sri Lanka.