Mediation, Leadership and “Tangerines”

Plenty of people in Bulgaria do not know what Mediation is and even if they have heard about it, they do not know how this method for alternative dispute resolution can be useful to them.

With this article we would like to tell you about mediation and all its advantages and we will also put a sign for equality between the mediator and the leader the way we see them. So…

What is Mediation?

Mediation is an alternative dispute resolution, which allows parties to resolve a present conflict or prevent an upcoming one. Apart from the parties, the mediation process involves a mediator as well – a neutral and impartial third party, who helps them protect their interests and maintain their relationship.

Mediation is a voluntary, informal and confidential procedure for dispute resolution, which, if successful, ends up with the signing of an agreement, based on mutual compromises and concessions from the parties.


A great illustration of the mediation procedure is the movie “Tangerines”. On a first glance, this is a story about war. It takes place in a small city in Abkhazia (Georgia) during the war in 1992-1993, which caused many Estonians to leave their homes. However, two men – Ivo and Margus, decide to stay in the city to pick up all the ripe tangerines. While picking the fruits up, they find themselves exposed to crossfire between two hostile military groups. Two of the soldiers manage to survive. Ahmed, who is a Chechen mercenary, fighting on the Abkhazian side, and Nico, who is a Georgian from the оpposing army.

However, this is hardly a war story. This is a story about the conflict between two guys from opposing, hostile groups – Ahmed and Nico and the natural leader and mediator in the story – Ivo, who helps them overcome their differences. Ivo is a person, who brings balance in their relationship and manages to reconcile two “mortal” enemies in the irreconcilable situation of a war. Such is the role of the mediator as well – to comply with the opinion of each parties involved in the dispute, to establish a better communication between them, to bring clarity on the problematic issues, what are the needs of each of the parties and what are the options for a solution. Therefore, mediation is the most intelligent choice. It is based on considering personal interests and mutual respect.

The mediation procedure starts at the discretion of the parties involved in the dispute, as each of them can propose a settlement of the dispute through mediation. As a beginning of the procedure shall be considered the day the parties have reached an explicit agreement for its commencing, and if there is no explicit agreement – the day of the first meeting between all parties and the mediator.

Mediation – a last resort or a way of life

Most probably each one of us has been in a situation of a conflicting “impasse” like the characters in the “Tangerines’’ movie. And if one has not gone to court, at least this was his only desire. Sometimes our emotions are so intense and overwhelming, that we can hardly find value in mediation until we have run out of options with all the court battles, causing irreparable damage to our relationships. However, even in the worst situations, it makes sense to be human and to try to find a solution of your problem with kindness and understanding. Thus, I believe that mediation should be a way of life, a philosophy, which shapes our approach towards everything, whether it comes to choosing a spouse, a business partner or managing a multinational corporation.

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