Social mediation as a means to promote harmony and unity within the country

By Syafiah Sakirin

GOMBAK, 26 July 2022: A social mediation training program that involved a collaboration between International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM), Komuniti Rukun Tetangga (KRT), and the Department of National Unity and Integration (PERPADUAN) was held for nine days starting from 13th July until 21st July at IIUM Academy.

The social mediation training is held under the Certificate in Social Mediation (COSM) and was officiated by the Deputy Director General (Planning) Kementerian Perpaduan Negara, Tuan Mohd Fardhi bin Ahmad.

Since the signing of the Memorandum of  Agreement (MOA) between IIUM and PERPADUAN in 2018, the certificate program has trained four batches of grassroots leaders from KRT and Kementerian officers on mediation and other related skills that include communication, listening, negotiation, problem-solving, and conflict resolution skills.

The certificate program consists of 72 hours of training, a combination of lectures, simulations, and assessments that exposed the participants to structured mediation protocols and ethics when resolving conflicts faced by disputing parties.

The participants would acquire the skills of maintaining neutrality and objectivity to obtain trust from the disputing parties in order to guide them to a win-win solution. 

In an interview with IIUMToday, one of the trainers who is the Deputy Dean of Postgraduate and Responsible Research at Abdulhamid Abusulayman Kulliyyah of Islamic Revealed Knowledge and Human Sciences (AHAS KIRKHS), Assoc. Prof. Dr. Haslina bt Ibrahim underlined that the program aimed to mainstream negotiation, mediation, and conciliation by making them easily available for the public to resort to resolution, dialogue, and progress instead of litigation and violence.

“Mediation is the way forward and it is crucial for maintaining unity and upholding the spirit of harmony in this country,” she shared when asked regarding the objectives of the collaboration between IIUM, Kementerian, and KRT in conducting social mediation.

“We aspire that all grassroots leaders will be empowered with the relevant skills when trying to resolve conflicts that take place in society. They are frontliners of unity and most of them are volunteers in society. Giving them the right skills is more than a positive gesture; that they are the important catalyst in society. This is the sense of inclusiveness and seriousness of the government in promoting unity and harmony among people at the grassroots level,” she told IIUMToday.

She further shared that the fourteen coaches involved were affiliates of the International Social Mediation Center (ISOMEC) which is a research-based center at AHAS KIRKHS. The coaching team led by Prof. Dr. Ainul Jaria Bt Mydin consists of academic staff from AHAS KIRKHS, AIKOL, KENMS, and KOED. ISOMEC hopes to synergize teaching, consultancy, research, innovation, publication (TCRIP), and community engagement activities.

Hence, ISOMEC hopes to further develop mediation modules that are research-based and conduct the modules as part of its action-research orientation.

“In the long run, ISOMEC expects to assist policy-makers to adopt mediation as a required skill for every community leader and establish a mediation center under PERPADUAN, and to further enhance its structure and activities for unity’s sake in Malaysia,” she added.

The fourth batch program consisted of 30 participants from both KRT leaders and Kementerian officers around Malaysia. They will receive a certificate of attendance and successful participants will be conferred with a certificate in social mediation at the university convocation ceremony.***

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