Roundtable on Public Mediation: A Practical Strategy for Conflict Transformation

On 14 April, The Hague Institute for Global Justice hosted Mr. Howard Bellman, an experienced mediator and arbitrator, who led a roundtable on public mediation practices. His presentation was followed by a discussion on the opportunities and challenges to use mediation in difficult institutional contexts like fragile states.

Mr. Howard Bellman is a mediator who works in private practice. His work has ranged from the most ordinary civil and labor matters to international diplomacy. A significant portion of his practice has focused on high profile, controversial multi-party cases of public concern such as national rule making, spatial planning, large-scale environmental remediation, school desegregation, financing education, and Native-American land claims. Mr. Bellman’s clients have included state governments and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Departments of Interior, Agriculture, and Education, and the Federal Trade and Nuclear Regulatory Commissions.

This roundtable provided participants with a working introduction to public mediation, which has developed as practical approach to managing conflicts over contested questions of policy and governance among groups of stakeholders marked by problematic relationships and contested histories. The talk began with a case-based presentation of mediation practice as it has developed in the U.S. and conclude with a discussion of the possibilities of employing mediation in difficult institutional settings like fragile states. The latter was facilitated by Dr. David Laws, Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science, University of Amsterdam.


  • Mr. Howard Bellman
    Mediaton and Arbitration Services
  • Dr. David Laws
    Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science


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