This week in Myanmar, NIMD partner the Myanmar School of Politics (MySoP) opened up its newest course. Alongside Dutch mediation experts Result Mediation, MySoP is giving staff at Myanmar’s Union Election Commission (UEC) the chance to enroll in intensive three-day courses on mediation techniques.
For the official course opening ceremony, MySoP and its students were joined by Mr. U Hla Thein, Chairman of the UEC. The UEC is the body chiefly responsible for mitigating interparty disputes on Myanmar, a task all the more important given Myanmar’s often tense political environment and the proximity of elections scheduled for next year.
Why mediation matters in Myanmar
Speaking at the official launch, U Hla Thein said “The most important basic understanding for mediation on the conflict resolution is about building trust and understand each other.” NIMD’s hope is that this conflict resolution toolkit can help both parties, as well as the election commission and others, to do so.
With greater mediation skills at the hands of the UEC, the parties can work together more constructively and build trust on shared issues in their communities. Mediation and negotiation support peaceful elections around the world, as parliamentary work often sees stakeholders having to adjudicate in conflicts and disputes within their constituencies and parties. Myanmar’s diverse regions means there are many different interest groups and political actors in the mix, so disagreements and disputes are part and parcel of the democratic process. NIMD’s aim with this training is to ensure those disagreements and disputes can be handled peacefully, and in good time, by the appropriate authorities.
How the course will look
In the three-day intensive training, participants will take a deep dive into the core principles of mediation. Some of the topics they will cover include:
- Practice the role of mediator and essential skills of negotiation, mediation and dialogue
- Experience how mediation affects the litigating parties
- Learn to focus on desired positive outcomes, rather than grievances
- Help parties to discern opinions from interests
- Learn to move towards a discussion about what is really at stake
MySoP’s new course in mediation techniques follows more than five years of work with Myanmar’s political leaders. Since 2014, politicians and civil servants from Shan State, Mon State, Kayin State, Kayah State and Tanintharyi Division have attended courses, alumni events and dialogue platforms operated by MySoP.
The STEP Democracy Programme is funded by the EU.