As we approach our 20th anniversary, I am both grateful and honored to be the 2016-2017 President of the International Academy of Mediators (IAM). This elite organization has now grown to 175 carefully selected members from all parts of the globe and continues to be regarded as the pre-eminent collection of commercial mediators ever assembled. Those who have been invited to join, take great pride in the “advanced level” of training which is available to them, both through our exclusive, members-only listserv and our twice per year educational conferences. By combining top-level speakers and candid member discourse conducted in small group settings among the world’s most experienced mediators, we have achieved a level of stimulation and involvement that far exceeds any available elsewhere. This, and our conferences themselves being located at some of the most interesting places in the world, make for an ideal opportunity to enhance our skill levels and love for the very special occupation we share, even for those who previously thought that they had “learned all there was left to learn” about mediation. It is the unique level of collegiality, support and the willingness of our members to share both their triumphs and (upon further reflection) their occasional mistakes, which makes this such a special group.
I have been given the opportunity to preside over three such conferences, our recent venture to Queenstown, New Zealand (boasting a traveling party of 75, including members and their traveling companions) and our still upcoming conferences in Vancouver Canada (September 22-24, 2016) and Memphis, Tennessee (April 27-29, 2017), when we will also be welcoming a change in leadership for the following year. With future conferences beyond those already well into the planning stages in both North America and Europe, it is no wonder that, despite a liberal attendance requirement of only one conference every two years for members in the Northern Hemisphere and one conference every three years for those traveling from other continents, many of us voluntarily chose to attend almost every one of these gatherings, primarily to increase our awareness of new skills, techniques and ethical challenges and to experience the warmth, friendship and collegiality that have become hallmarks of this organization.
Most recognize and rejoice in the fact that this is unlike any other organization: a place not to search for “clients” or engage in puffery for the sake of one’s “image”, but rather a place of extreme solace and support for all of us who engage in a sometimes frustrating, often solitary, and always challenging labor of love. It is upon this foundation that old friendships are enhanced and new ones forged among the brightest and best mediators in the world. If you are a member, you know exactly what I mean. If you are not and are willing to explore the possibility of being asked to become one, we welcome you to this website and urge you to contact our Executive Director, Renee Levine, and/or our Membership Chairman Lee Jacobson, to explore the membership approval process, a pre-requisite of which is attendance at one of our semi-annual conferences, obtaining qualified membership sponsors, submitting a detailed application describing your accomplishments to date in the field of mediation, and making all of this available for review by our Membership Committee and our Board of Governors.
Upon induction at a subsequent conference, you will find a host of activities that you can involve yourself with should you wish to take a more active role in sustaining our organization’s mission; to elevate the level of practice and use of mediation as a means of resolving disputes throughout the world. Some of our members chose to be involved in on-going committees which explore recruiting, diversity and international participation, communications and outreach, conference planning, governance issues, mentor-mentee relationships, revenue creation, scholarships and grants and our on-going and fruitful relationship with the academic community. Others actively seek appointment to our governing body, the Board of Governor’s for three year terms. And still others are simply content to merely attend conferences when they can, as there is no social pressure to do other than if that is what a member prefers. Regardless of what level of involvement you chose, I believe that you, like us, will greatly profit from the positive impact that membership in the IAM will have on your personal life and the enhanced level of career satisfaction to which it invariably seems to lead.
Gene Moscovitch, President
International Academy of Mediators