While certification and ethics for mediators continue to be hotly debated in the U.S., a new organization has come on the scene with the goal of offering a certification that will be accepted as the global mediator competency standard. International Mediation Institute (“IMI”) was created by the Netherlands Mediation Institute, Singapore Mediation Centre/Singapore International Arbitration Centre, and the International Centre for Dispute Resolution/American Arbitration Association. Ultimately, by helping to ensure the quality of mediation, IMM hopes to increase the use of mediation worldwide.
IMI has posted its draft standards for mediator competency certification on its website at http://www.imimediation.org/?cID=80. The draft standards are very thorough, including:
• Code of Ethical Conduct
• Disciplinary Commission Process
• Minimum Professional Conduct Standards
• Model Mediation Agreement
• Minimum Training Standards for IMI Certified Mediators
• Minimum Standards for IMI Recognized Training Entities
• Standards for Independent Testing and Assessment
• List of training courses meeting IMI’s training standards
• Criteria for Experience Qualification (“Grandfathering”)
• Criteria for Education Points
• Guidelines for Feedback Digests and Feedback Points
• Criteria for Leadership Points
IMI has developed additional standards for those seeking IMI certification as intercultural mediators.
All in all, this looks like a very ambitious effort—and it is possible that it could get further faster than our own, homegrown certification forays. In the interests of full disclosure, by the way, I’m a member of IMI’s Independent Standards Commission which is currently responsible for reviewing the comments that IMI has received in response to its draft standards.