Carrie Menkel-Meadow (UC-Irvine) received an honorary doctorate from the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven (aka KU Leuven) in Belgium in conjunction with a two-day conference to “Beyond Mediation – Building Blocks of Constructive Conflict Management.” Here is a great video of the event and her remarks. The local press had this to say about Carrie and the event:
“An unflagging desire to heal the world”. That is how promotor Alain Laurent Verbeke (co-promotors: Martin Euwema and Koen Matthijs) described the motivation of Carrie Menkel-Meadow. The American Professor of Law and Political Sciences gives shape to that passion in her pleas for mediation, creativity, and empathy in dispute resolution. For one thing, a good lawyer has to find solutions in conciliation, not in conflict. Cooperation, dialogue, and listening skills are the core concepts of her teaching and her influential publications. Both in minor disputes between individuals and in major international conflicts, these skills can be the decisive factor, Menkel-Meadow argues. International work is her current preference: she wants to examine how her mediation concepts may be used in different cultures, as a kind of Esperanto of the 21th
In her acceptance speech, Professor Menkel-Meadow admitted that her job – unlike that of her fellow honorary doctors – does not involve ‘tinkering’ with the human genome or complex chips. But her work – tinkering with something that is very hard to change: humankind – may be even more complex. In a dispute, it’s not about how you can win or prevent loss. It’s much more productive to look for a real solution with the input from various parties. To do so, you have to “think out of the box. Create your own field. Alter the ones that already exist. And most importantly: realize that, while we all commit ourselves to the betterment of this life, we can only do it together”.