New tools to facilitate training of mediators

The EU project IncludeMe has developed materials to train mediators for European countries. At the end of the project in October, the team was able to present a MOOC, a Good Practice Guide and an Innovative Course for Trainers. 

A mediator is a person who has been trained to provide support on issues such as immigration law, family reunification, government services and labour market integration. Mediators are already used in several places across Europe and have proven to be a successful way of working with new arrivals. You can find mediators in, for example, educational organisations and the municipal sector, but also in the voluntary sector. The aim of the IncludeME project has been to strengthen and train skills related to mediation, communication, conflict resolution and conflict management.

Intercultural mediation can be seen as a key strategy for social inclusion and cohesion. Mediation helps to support conflict prevention, increase mutual understanding between parties with different cultural backgrounds and beliefs. It also supports knowledge of rights and access to community services. A guiding principle of the project has been the objectives set by the EU in the Europe 2020 strategy, which states that a higher level of social inclusion is more important than ever to combat tensions in society. To this end, the project team has developed a guide to good practice. As a basis for the guide, the project team analysed various institutional and individual initiatives, different projects and European programmes and, based on these insights, identified difficulties and problems that mediators may encounter. On this basis, it has developed action strategies for different dimensions, ranging from classical and formal mediation to social intervention, including social awareness.

The Good Practice Guide provides examples of how mediation can serve as a tool for conflict resolution in social conflicts and highlights how to promote the social integration of migrants and refugees. It further introduces and identifies both formal and non-formal mediation activities as a tool for mutual knowledge, social cohesion and peaceful approaches to conflict resolution.

The Good Practice Guide shows how the role of mediator can more effectively influence and use the capacity of intercultural mediation methods to contribute to social change and social justice.

By training immigrants, refugees and people in the social sector in mediation, the project can contribute to a change in the social dynamics of society.

The poject ”IncludeMe: Inclusion through mediation” is co-funded by the Erasmus+ of the European Union. It has been led by Åbo Akademi University in Finland and project partners are: European Universities Continuing Education Network in Belgium, European E-learning Institute in Denmark, Momentum Marketing Services Limited in Irland, Tuzla Kaymakamlığı in Turkiet and Fundacio Solidaritat UB in Spanien.