I am a facilitator, educator, and professionally trained mediator specializing in conflict mediation for grassroots political organizations, social change nonprofits, political campaigns, and co-operative living environments.
I began my career as a software engineer. In school, we were told that the problems of the world could be solved by technological innovations, and if you wanted to make a difference, your future ought to be in engineering and science. I realized over time that most of our society’s urgent problems—ecological destruction, poverty, and oppression to name a few—are less technological and more political, sociological, psychological, and even spiritual in nature. Instead of working on technical systems, I decided to dedicate my time to working and volunteering with groups committed to changing our social systems. In supporting these efforts I gained valuable practice in democratic decision-making, co-operative living and working, and navigating interpersonal conflict.
I have observed conflicts arise and unfold from both the outside and the inside and I have felt the frustration of seeing the damage that they can wreak on our earnest efforts to change the world. Our real internal issues like attrition, strategic alignment, and governance go unattended to (or are made worse!) while little to no progress is made on the goals that bring us together in the first place. And for those of us directly involved, the experience can be harrowing and even traumatic. It can be profoundly disorienting when our connections to our lifework and to the people we share it with fall apart and become sources of pain instead of nourishment.
I learned how to transform conflict from my experience and study. I bring my perspectives, insights, and skills into my mediation practice. I offer a non-judgmental, empathetic, and calming presence as a Buddhist practitioner. I practice mindfulness to appreciate the complexity and mystery of life. This helps me be humble and focus on what is needed in the present moment.
As a facilitator, I create a space for people in conflict to listen, understand, and relate to each other. I believe that the best solutions come from the participants themselves. My role as a mediator is to help them have empowering conversations. As an educator, I share resources that can help people deal with conflict in their own lives. I want to show that conflict is not something to fear, but something we can learn how to handle.
Like the social movements I wish to support, I want to create a world where our problems are approached with sensitivity and compassion, and where the solutions we create are created together.
Dan Jin, founder of Movement Mediator