Tuesday, May 5

The rise and rise of AIM

I've been watching the newly founded American Institute of Mediation since it launched a couple of months ago with interest.

This blog has no particular connection with AIM but I do admire its founder Lee Jay Berman, who speaks with real commercial common sense and passion on both the business and practise aspects of mediation (see his great interview with Vicki Pyncon just posted yesterday).

We desperately need a high level training clinic that is cross disciplinary and advocates for mediation as an at-the-table-oral-sport and if this is AIM, it would be a fresh addition to an over populated training landscape.

So far AIM seems to be ticking the boxes;

1. It has a well respected core faculty

2. AIM's upcoming programs look innovative and fresh, for instance; Post-Disaster Mediation Training and Mediating Mortgage Foreclosures.

And the blurb says
AIM is teaming with 'successful trainers to create cutting-edge courses that they are most passionate about, offering attendees the courses that the experts in the trenches deem most valuable'

3. AIM is wisely elitist, pitching to the seasoned practitioner with good ideas like the its $5K Gold Card for the 'Complete Mediator'.

'Our Gold Card Members are our VIP's. They pay an annual membership fee and are not only invited to attend every course offered by the AIM Institute for FREE, but they also receive other special offers, including faculty dinners, priority registration at our annual gatherings with the entire faculty, and other special benefits from time to time'

4. Looks like it will have a selection of online courses soon.

5. AIM is creating its own virtual community using Web 2.0 which is just starting to get the attention it deserves from mediators - to join sign up for AIM's mailing list or join AIM at either its Facebook (96 members) or LinkedIn (75 members) page (you will need to be a FB/LI member).

As well, Aim is building its f2f community with the Gold Card idea and affiliating itself with mediation organisations so as to tap into those memberships and is painting itself as a '
community where trainers thrive and synergize, and mediators connect, learn and gather to discuss the field’s growth and development'.

6. AIM is positioning itself as a place where 'leading mediators turn to continue their learning and career development' and emphasising that AIM 'is free of academic constraints and embraces other disciplines so as to expand the frontier...'

So if the training does live up to all this hype - and is really a sophisticated offering for mediators who are done with active listening, breaking impasse and other skills that are now considered part of a mediation 101 course - then build it Lee Jay, and they will come.

7. AIM is holding its courses at 'one of the world's most dynamic cultural institutions and educational venues', the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles.


8. Don't leave the under construction signs up too long on those yet to be populated areas of the website.

9. Let's have more content detail of the training offerings up on the web.

To some extent AIM's emergence on the US west coast is mirrored by the Master Mediator Institute's creation in the east. Like AIM, MMI pitches to seasoned mediators only.

Founded by Pittsburgh mediator
Bob Creo, MMI is limited to 66 "colleagues" (it appears to have about 20 thus far) and runs a series of immersion courses and forums by invite only.

MMI describes itself as a 'diverse group of mediators and executives who make complex decisions and negotiate multifaceted transactions'

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