Marje Burdine Receives 2017 Susanna Jani Award for Excellence in Mediation

The recipient of this year’s Susanna Jani Award for Excellence in Mediation has a longstanding history leading, promoting and facilitating effective conflict resolution. I think you’ll agree that she has had an impressively positive impact.

Since the late 1970’s, she has volunteered with:

And been a Board member for:

In 1981 she began providing training and holding conferences around BC on family violence. She then went on to design a course, and write the manual for the first mediation course at the JI which she delivered in 1983. Within a year of that first class, she established the Justice Institute’s Centre for Conflict Resolution Training. She continued to develop collaborative conflict resolution courses for the JI well through the 1990s.

In 1990, she received her Master’s Degree of Education in Counselling Psychology and began turning her mind to the conflict and pain she was seeing workplaces. By 1995 she developed and taught the harassment and discrimination mediation course at the JI which was followed by being part of the team to develop one of Canada’s first Respectful Workplace Programs. She continued to work with Crown Corporations and correctional facilities to change the conflict culture of these institutions.

It is my privilege to announce that the 2017 recipient of the Susanna Jani Award for Excellence in Mediation is Marje Burdine.

About the Susanna Jani Award for Excellence in Mediation

The Susanna Jani Award for Excellence in Mediation, established in 2009is an annual award acknowledging a person who has made a significant contribution to the field of mediation in BC. Previous recipients include Ron Tucker, Gordon SloanSharon Sutherland, Peggy English, Lee TurnbullCarole McKnightSally CampbellM. Jerry McHale, QCJoyce W. Bradley, QC and Kari D. Boyle.

How is Conflict Managed in Cuba?

Presentation at the Higher Institute of Applied Sciences and Technology (InSTEC)
University of Havana, Cuba

During a recent trip to Cuba in February 2016, I was fortunate to have an opportunity to discuss alternate dispute resolution across cultures. I was invited by Dr. Maritza Lau Gonzalez, a director at the University, to lead a discussion on the topic of managing conflict in Cuba. Faculty at the university shared what types of conflicts they have and how people respond to them. Professor Ramiro Zayas Frutos acted as interpreter. Approximately 15 people participated in the session.Alternative dispute resolution students in Havana, Cuba

During the discussion people touched on general themes that included institutional conflict avoidance, interpersonal disputes, and different expectations for the learning environment.

More specifically, they shared the following observations:

  • People in authority often did not address and manage conflictual issues, leaving on-going issues unresolved.
  • Some students did not respect the professor’s role and teachings.
  • Co-workers did not always work collaboratively.
  • People tended to avoid conflict
  • There are power struggles between departments and colleagues.

It became apparent that subtle norms affect the way conflict is handled in a culture where the collaborative ethos of socialism shapes perceptions of conflict. For example, one of the participants talked about how she approached her supervisor for assistance and he said he would look into it. After repeated requests, with no action being taken, she just gave up. The issue was never resolved. She felt frustrated and hopeless. Even though the prevailing cultural norm is the leveling of social hierarchies, this woman suggested that it is difficult to be assertive with a person in power in her culture. Participants talked about unacknowledged hierarchies complicating the management of conflict.Donna Soules and  Dr. Maritza Lau Gonzalez presenting dispute resolution skills

People were enthusiastic about learning more skills such as listening and assertiveness. I recommended that skill development coupled with a shift in collaborative thinking would prepare them for a more successful exchange. People want to learn how to approach another person they are having difficulty with and learn how to help people be patient and listen when they have a disagreement. They hoped to set up a follow-up session with me while I was in Cuba but it was justnot possible to organize an all-day event on such short notice.

We discussed the type of conflict management training offered at some Canadian schools and I also shared examples from my mediation practice involving university environments. They mentioned the learning they acquired from a workshop Cheryl Picard presented during a recent trip to Havana (a Canadian author of books on mediation and conflict).

The complexity of Cuban society infiltrates institutions and complicates the management of conflict. Denial and defensiveness clearly shape how power is negotiated in this institution of higher learning.

Most surprising was the similarity of their challenges to issues I have mediated in university settings in Canada, frequently involving interests of respect and trust. Despite coming from diverse cultural backgrounds, our conflicts may be different but our interests are remarkably similar. Cuba’s socialism and culture of collaboration and interdependence have not eliminated personal and professional conflicts resulting from hierarchies embedded in institutional life.

Donna Soules
Donna Soules

Donna Soules is a Civil Roster mediator and educator. She holds a Masters degree in Conflict Resolution in Mediation and teaches at the Justice Institute of BC and Vancouver Island University. Donna maintains an active mediation practice based in Ladysmith, BC.

Thank You Volunteers!

BC is really blessed with a generous and engaged dispute resolution community. One doesn’t have to look far to find DR professionals giving their time and talents to a variety of projects.

By participating in our public awareness events, contributing to this blog, engaging in peer training opportunities, or shaping the direction of professional DR standards in BC, volunteers have contributed thousands of hours to make mediation effective and accessible. Volunteering is an enriching experience for everyone involved.

We look forward to continuing to increase the ways in which we engage with our community and offer more opportunities to become involved. Keep an eye out for volunteers calls in our newsletters. If you have ideas for new ways Mediate BC and Roster Mediators can support your organization or volunteering, please get in touch!

As April is volunteer recognition month, we wanted to end it with a heartfelt thank you to our 2015-2016 volunteers. We appreciate your spirit of generosity and support!

Rahul Aggarwal
Lisa Alexander
Rebecca Alleyne
Pater Altridge
Nigel Argent
Lisa Arora
Grace Baker
Sheila Begg
Kathleen Bellamano
Annina Bernardo
Fazal (Fuzz) Bhimji
Joan Braun
Jereme Brooks
Debbie Cameron
Nancy Cameron
Colleen Cattell
Matt Chritchley
Bev Churchill
Anouk Crawford
Jenifer Crawford
Tim Cullen
Sarah Daitch
Nicholette D’Angelo
Julie Daum
Nick de Domenico
Ina Ergasheva
Jory Faibish
Bob Finlay
Rob Finlay
Gary Fitzpatrick
Katherine Fraser
Carrie Gallant
Nicole Garton
Brian Gibbard
Deborah Giunio-Zorkin
Martin Golder
Leanne Harder
Brandon Hastings
Richard Horne
Darrin Hotte
Jennifer Hubbard
Kyra Hudson
Paul Jacks
Lindsay Jardine
Aurora Johannson
Noriko Kawaguchi
Wendy Lakusta
Bill Larose
Laura Matthews
Shelina Neallani
Alex Ning
Chris Ortner
Preston Parsons
Ella Pearle
Robin Phillips
Wayne Plenert
Emily Pos
Bobbi Poushinsky
Janko Predovic
Donna Rintoul
Amy Robertson
Adam Rollins
Marlene Russo
Jaime Sarophim
Richard Scott
Glenn Sigurdson
Maria Silva
Richard Singer
Ronald J. Smith
Susan Smith
Donna Soules
Colleen Spier
Sharon Sutherland
Paul Taberner
Yannie Tai
Janine Thomas
Tammy Van Hinte
Catherine Watson
Michael Welsh
Lori Williams

 

We’d also like to thank our Board of Directors and Roster Committee who all serve on a volunteer basis. These time-consuming and intense roles provide invaluable guidance and oversight to Mediate BC. Thank you!

Board of Directors

  • Brian Gibbard
  • Wayne Plenert
  • Jane Morley
  • Bill Keen
  • Gayle Bedard
  • Judge Andrea Brownstone
  • Lori Charvat
  • Paul Taberner
Roster Committee

  • Wayne Plenert
  • Carol W. Hickman
  • Arlene H. Henry
  • Nick de Domenico
  • Angela Stadel
  • Richard N. Stewart

 

Thank you all so much!