Junior Mediators in Italy – A project running in its 5th year

How to cite this journal: Author, Date of the post, WMO Conflict Insight, Title of the post, ISSN:
2628-6998, https://worldmediation.org/journal/

WMO (World Mediation Organization) – Istituto Sommeiller: project on “Junior Mediators” training, an international partnership to introduce teenage students to mediation, life-approach, and to its core principles.

WMO and Istituto Tecnico Commerciale “Germano Sommeiller” share a common initiative since 2014. Istituto Tecnico Sommeiller is an ancient technical high school in Turin, Italy (www.itcssommeiller.it/).

A former Italian Republic president  (Luigi Einaudi) was a member of the Istituto Tecnico Sommeiller teachers team, meanwhile, another one (Giuseppe Saragat) had been graduated here. The common initiative has the target to introduce high qualified students to mediation life-approach and to its core principles.

Istituto Tecnico Sommeiller considers mediation as a fundamental educational skill for its students, useful in their future working life as a new approach to conflicts, allowing them to understand that to file a case in a court is not the only solution available. Moreover, the acquisition of negotiating abilities will give its students a competitive advantage in the job market. Last, but not least, mediation will help the construction of a peaceful environment in the same school.

The project come to existence mainly thanks to the efforts of WMO Fellow (Ph.D. Ermenegildo Mario Appiano), and of a former Istituto Tecnico Sommeiller teacher (Prof. Cristina Armano). 

The Junior Mediatorsproject is  an integral part of Istituto Tecnico Sommeiller programs. It’s open only to selected students, who will be teaching deeply about negotiation and mediation. To be admitted, students have to show a real interest to mediation and should have good results in their general school career. A final exam will check the results reached.

“Junior mediators” training (40 hours) is focused on the following subjects:

  • understanding conflict, responses to conflict, sources of conflict communication skills, the role of the mediator, the mediation process. 
  • bias awareness, social/cultural diversity, advanced communication, uncovering hidden interests, dealing with anger, caucusing.

A new future begins at school. Having said this, it is clear that we create our common future by investing in our children. Wake up and dedicate your time with the peacemakers of tomorrow.

Mario Appiano

Professor at Salesian University in Turin -- Mediator and trainer -- Lawyer admitted to pleading in front of the Italian Supreme Court -- Author of numerous scientific papers on mediation -- Ph.D. in European Law

This Post Has 5 Comments

  1. ermenegildo mario appiano


    please consider that, i my view, it’s a beginning that could be better developed.

    It’s important to uderline that some Italian Universities (like Torino one) start to recognize that students need special formation on “soft skills”, like conflict managment.


  2. Charalee Graydon

    Useful information that has been provided about how the youth in Italy have and continue to embrace mediation.

  3. Louisa Garbo

    Thank you for highlighting the mediation program you established for junior mediator; this was exactly the information I was hoping to get from you through our correspondence. I am in the process of developing a program for young children that focuses on celebrating diversity and cultural differences; teach them to be “curious” instead of in fear of someone that is different. I developed a pilot mediation program when I worked in a small city a few years ago, it was not highly utilized mainly because I didn’t put much effort in promoting the program. I hope to try again once when the opportunity arises. But with this program for youth, the focus is less on mediation, but more on not getting into conflicts in the first place. Will love to learn more about your program, mostly from the perspective of the development of such a comprehensive program.
    When I first went into mediation, I was first trained in the 40-hour program held by the Arizona Attorney General’s office. I learned from the trainer that many people, even after the training, should not be a mediator, because they failed to understand the neutrality concept and inject their perspectives in the mediation session (particularly notorious with retired lawyers and judges). Unfortunately, there was no certification requirement in AZ at the time that will help maintaining certain standards.
    Great program you have! Yes, education is definitely key to promote diversity and peace building.

    1. Claudia Neves

      Very inspiring article. It allows us to reflect on how such initiative could be beneficial for Brazil, where we see with great concern the escalation of violence in schools and where the elected government bets on weapons instead of education for conflict resolution.

    2. ermenegildo mario appiano

      Dear Louisa

      thanks for your appreciation.

      It’s a nice work, even if having so few hours each year makes difficult to establish a strong relation with students, as they have with their professors.
      But it’s a beginning …


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