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“The significance of peer mediation in the upbringing of children and youth – theoretical and practical aspects” conference summary

On the occasion of the International Mediation Day, on 17th October 2019 in the Primate’s Palace in Warsaw, PPHS organized a nationwide conference “The significance of peer mediation in the upbringing of children and youth – theoretical and practical aspects”. The event was organized in cooperation with a retired judge Anna Maria Wesołowska. The conference was held under the honorary patronage of the Polish Commisioner for Human Rights, habilitated doctor Adam Bodnar.

During the conference we were guesting the following speakers:
Andrzej Stefański – Director, Chief Social Affairs Coordinator in the Office of the Commisioner for Human Rights;
Anna Maria Wesołowska – retired judge;
Dorota Zawadzka – Developmental Psychologist and independent expert;
Izabela Buszewicz – President of the Świętokrzyskie Mediation Centre;
Dorota Whitten – Peace Education Coordinator, mediator, sociologist;
Joanna Wajda – Peace Education Coach.

Conference highlights [ENG SUB]

The opening of the celebration was graced with Andrzej Stefański’s speech – Director and Chief Social Affairs Coordinator in the Office of the Commisioner for Human Rights. Afterward, judge Anna Maria Wesołowska introduced the topic of peer mediation to the participants and started a lecture in the first thematic session. Dorota Zawadzka followed with a discussion about the issues connected with the role of relations between students and teachers, peer authority, school participation and school self-government as a factor which shapes civic attitudes; whereas, Izabela Buszewicz emphasized the importance of communication and listening skills in the process of conflict solving among the youngest.

During the second thematic session, the House of Peace Foundation representatives – Dorota Whitten and Joanna Wajda held workshops, during which they shared their experience on how to use mediation as a real tool for counteracting and solving problems on a daily basis. During this session, the retired judge Anna Maria Wesołowska underlined also the importance of legal education in the light of modern threats, as well as the role of parents, schools and assistance services in creating a safe environment, a world of values but also establishing borders for children.

Dorota Zawadzka
Dorota ZawadzkaDevelopmental Psychologist and independent expert
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“Mediations work perfectly. It is a kind of making the kids responsible for their actions, therefore giving them a chance to figure out what made them behave in a such way on their own or with a little bit of help from a peer or an adult mediator, multiple ways how to resolve the conflict. It really works out. We only need to ensure kids with time, space and possibility to do so and it will turn out fine.”
Anna Maria Wesołowska
Anna Maria Wesołowska retired judge, expert
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In my opinion, bringing Peer Mediations into life the widespread hate will end our tendency to harm each other will come to an end too.”
Izabela Buszewicz
Izabela BuszewiczPresident of the Świętokrzyskie Mediation Centre
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“It is crucial to teach kids how to talk with each other because it helps to solve conflicts and issues. The key to successful conversation is, not only presenting our own point of view, but to listen actively and attentively, it cannot be only a monologue. To listen actively means to understand, to put ourselves into a positions of the other person, to search for solutions, to appreciate and of course to ask questions.”
Dorota Whitten
Dorota WhittenPeace Education Coordinator, mediator, sociologist
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“Kids put it up straight - if a grown up comes up giving orders such as “shake your hands, make a truce; you sit here and you there” - it does not work. What works is when they come up with a solution by themselves.”
Joanna Wajda
Joanna WajdaPeace Education Coach
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“Peer Mediation is a process during which kids learn about the importance of emotions, and the ability to identify and manage with them (so called emotional intelligence).”

The event was attended by 150 people, in particular, representatives of education, Board of Education, child and family support institutions, as well as curators, mediators and psychologists.

We would like to thank our media patrons: Publishers C.H. Beck, the Psychological Magazine “Charaktery” and the Od.Nowa Publishing House for their involvement and help in promoting the conference.

The program of the conference “The importance of peer mediation in the upbringing of children and young people – theoretical and practical aspects” can be found here.