How to resolve conflicts with words – EUAM helps cadets to get mediation skills

November 10, 2022

As part of Ukraine’s EU integration, the EUAM Ukraine supports the Odesa State University of Internal Affairs goal to educate cadets in line with the best EU standards. EUAM experts regularly cooperate with the university – they conduct specialized training courses and workshops, give strategic advice on curriculum, meet cadets to share EU best practices and provide practical support.

On 10 November, EUAM finalized a workshop on mediation and conflict management for two groups of cadets of the Odesa State University of Internal Affairs. Future police officers got basic training in solving conflicts and finding mutually agreeable solutions in criminal and non-criminal cases.

In total, 28 cadets participated in the interactive course in the EUAM Knowledge Hub in Odesa. Martins Tols, EUAM Adviser on Good Governance and Human Resources Management, shared his impressions from the workshop, its results, and speaks about the training’s relevance for future police officers.

Martins, can you tell more about the EUAM workshop on conflict management? What was included in the agenda?

To start with, EUAM delivered a unique 4-day workshop with theoretical and practical blocks for two groups of 14 future police officers. The workshop was delivered in an interactive manner of questions and answers with practical exercises included.

This format helped to keep participants engaged during the whole course. On the first day, the participants got theoretical knowledge of mediation. The other training days were full of practical exercises for cadets to apply the knowledge.

What kind of practical exercises did you have for the cadets?

We had different cases of conflict situations taken from real mediation practice in Ukraine, Latvia and the Netherlands. Such realistic cases give the students a chance to understand that conflict management is a difficult task.

The students were required to run through the script of the mediation process and try to mediate the case. After every exercise, the cadets exchanged feedback on what went well and where they needed to improve their mediation skills. This was an excellent experience for them.

The cases we used were from work-related, criminal, and administrative areas. Let me give you an example. The conflict happened in the Netherlands between an old lady and a female student. The lady lost control of her car and caused an accident. As a result, the young lady crossing the street lost her leg. This scenario was difficult for the workshop participants because they needed to deal with the psychological aspect.

What were the main challenges while conducting the offline workshop?

We had to move down to the shelter almost every day due to the air alerts. Nevertheless, despite unusual conditions, we continued. Moreover, the workshop agenda was flexible enough to be changed according to the situation.

Are there plans to continue EUAM cooperation with the Odesa University for developing conflict management skills?

This workshop is only a part of the EUAM project. It is aimed at developing conflict management skills of future police officers and at educating university professors to conduct such interactive workshops.

There are three additional activities under this particular EUAM project. First, a month ago, EUAM and Odesa University conducted an international conference on mediation. Secondly, we are developing a manual on conflict management, which will be applied by professors and used by students as training material. Finally, the EUAM helps the University to equip the Mediation Centre with recording and transmitting equipment to make the educational process on mediation possible within the University premises.

Why is it important for Ukrainian cadets to learn conflict management skills?

Conflict management skills are crucial for police officers. Every police officer must understand the basic tools and concepts of mediation. It will help them to identify a conflict that could be mediated and timely proceed with forwarding it to certified mediators.

The EUAM will continue the fruitful cooperation with the Odesa State University of Internal Affairs and strives to help improve the education curriculum by enriching it with the best EU experience and practices.