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Institute for the Study of Conflict Transformation

Connecting transformative practitioners across the world

A Conversation About Neutrality and Anti-Racist Work in Mediation

  • May 25, 2023
  • 11:00 AM - 12:30 PM
  • online


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A Conversation About Neutrality and Anti-Racist Work in Mediation,

with Ellen Deason, Sharon Press & Isabelle Gunning.

Should mediation help lead change in our racially-divided society? If so, how? What are the barriers to exercising that leadership? Ellen, Isabelle and Sharon will lead a discussion that relates this issue to neutrality/impartiality as guiding principles in our field; what does neutrality/impartiality mean to each of us? How does self-determination interact with neutrality and impartiality?

Participants are welcome to attend the session or receive the recording the next day. Please email to let us know if you will not attend and only want the recording, so we know how many to expect.


Ellen E. Deason: Ellen E. Deason is the Joanne Wharton Murphy / Classes of 1965 and 1973 Professor in Law Emerita at the Ohio State University Moritz College of Law in Columbus, Ohio, where she taught (and still teaches) Mediation, International Commercial Arbitration & Mediation, Civil Procedure, and other Dispute Resolution courses. She serves as Reporter for two Uniform Law Commission Committees related to Dispute Resolution and Litigation. She is a past Chair of the American Association of Law Schools (AALS) ADR Section. Her article Beyond ‘Managerial Judges’: Appropriate Roles in Settlement was selected as the best article of 1997 by the AALS ADR Section. She has been honored with multiple teaching awards, including the Ohio State University Alumni Award for Distinguished Teaching. She and Sharon Press are co-authors of Mediation: Embedded Assumptions of Whiteness?, 22 Cardozo J. Conflict Resol. 453 (2021). For more, see


Sharon Press:  Sharon Press is Director of the Dispute Resolution Institute and Professor of Law at Mitchell Hamline School of Law in St. Paul, MN. She currently serves as President of Community Mediation Minnesota and serves on the board of the Institute for the Study of Conflict Transformation. Press is a Florida Supreme Court certified county and family mediator and on Minnesota’s Rule 114 Roster of Civil Facilitative and Hybrid Neutrals. She also mediates regularly in Conciliation, Housing, and Harassment Courts and for the Minnesota Department of Human Rights. Prior to joining Mitchell Hamline Law, Press served as director of the Florida Dispute Resolution Center where she was responsible for the ADR programs for the Florida state court system. Press was the Association for Conflict Resolution’s representative to the Drafting Committee for the Model Standards of Conduct for Mediators adopted by the AAA, ABA and ACR. She and Ellen Deason are co-authors of Mediation: Embedded Assumptions of Whiteness?, 22 Cardozo J. Conflict Resol. 453 (2021).


Isabelle R. Gunning:  Isabelle R. Gunning is Professor of Law at Southwestern Law School in Los Angeles, California, and a racial/social justice activist, scholar, and teacher who focusses on conflict resolution and dialogue, specifically how to bring together stakeholders from across the political, economic, and social spectrum who do not agree with each other to talk about and resolve the difficult problems that confront us as a society. She teaches in the areas of Conflict Resolution/ADR and Evidence. She writes on conflict resolution and religious lawyering. Her leadership roles include service as a Board member of the Clinical Legal Educators Association and the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California. From 2016-2018, she served as President of the Los Angeles County Commission on Human Relations and presided over the hearings which lead to its report “Redefining Policing with our Community” (2020). She continues to serve as a LACCHR Commissioner and is the chair of its Ad Hoc Committee on Policing and Human Relations. She works as a mediator/facilitator in support of resolving community conflicts and facilitates community dialogues on challenging issues such as policing and homelessness with local groups such as Days of Dialogue and Trust Talks. She has over 15 years of experience as a labor arbitrator and civil service examiner in workplace disputes.

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