Senator George Mitchell, last week's recipient of the 2013 ABA Dispute Resolution Section's D'Alemberte-Raven Award, concluded his remarks upon receiving the award by noting several things about conflict and its resolution.
While each person and each conflict are unique, Senator Mitchell identified three key principles:
There is no such thing as a conflict that cannot be ended.
Patience, perseverance and determination are required.
There must be a willingness to compromise.
These principles were catalysts in the context of his experience in Northern Ireland, when political leadership helped create an attitude of success - believing that the conflict could be ended. A clear and determined policy to not to yield to violence was also essential. Finally, the parties held and demonstrated a willingness to compromise.
A belief in the possibility of success; patience; and a willingness to compromise are as essential in resolving lawsuits as they are in resolving disputes among geopolitical and cultural disputes.