Towards a Global Network of International Family Mediators

The publication of the Charter for International Family Mediation Processes laid the foundation for the development of cross-regional cooperation among family mediation practitioners and with legal and administrative authorities (read more under the Project 3).

To follow up on this important collective endeavour, ISS organised a professional meeting gathering 27 experts from 18 countries and representing all continents in May 2017. The Collaborative Process decided to pursue work with the creation of a global network of international family mediators with the mission to ensure the protection of children involved in parental conflicts (read the Report of the Meeting).

The purpose of such a network is to facilitate searches for competent and qualified international family mediators working in all regions of the world, and to reinforce cooperation with administrative and legal authorities. This initiative intends to strengthen and spread International Family Mediation globally. The idea is to promote any existing expertise, training offer and regional/transregional network for the advancement of this endeavour.

ISS was granted the mandate to coordinate the creation of The Network of International Family Mediators and to establish an Interim Steering Committee. The Chair and its 7 members appointed by ISS (who is a member by right) were drawn from a list of volunteers from the Collaborative Process. The criteria of geographic representation, diverse professional background and working languages were duly taken into consideration.

The appointed Interim Steering Committee submitted its Proposal to the Collaborative Process in May 2018 (read the ISC Proposal).

In addition, ISS GS created an institutional Review Board composed of a number of political organisations and institutions dealing with cross-border family conflicts in all regions, which has seemed to be a way to engage these institutions into cooperating in IFM development and recourse. This Board reviewed the ISC Proposal and answered the individualised questionnaires in the light of their own mandat

The outcomes of the work reflected and built upon following scopes and principles:

  • Representation: preserve the variety of mediation cultures while working on strong standards for competency; include professionals from all continents and a maximum of cultures by creating an appropriate system of membership;
  • Reliability: ensure that members of The Network are competent and knowledgeable in specific matters such as the international legal framework, cross-cultural awareness and the child perspective.
  • Sustainability: develop strategies for financial sustainability of The Network; explore potential market for IFM on the long term; strive for professional recognition among administrative and legal authorities and families; explore ways to assess the relevance of services offered by The Network.
  • Collaboration: ensure that The Network operation reflects the needs of practitioners; gather a substantive overview of existing professional networks; strengthen cooperation with all bodies and professionals related to cross-border family conflicts to promote mediation across the world.

ISS wishes to wholeheartedly thank all members of the Collaborative Process for their active participation and their willingness to discuss practices, which brought to light the span of knowledge, experience and commitment developed throughout the world.

Video Clip of the 2017 Meeting:

MFI Réseau