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Robert A. Baruch Bush is is the Harry H. Rains Distinguished Professor of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) Law at Hofstra University School of Law, Hempstead, New York. Together with Joseph Folger of Temple University he is the originator, and best known advocate, of the transformative model of mediation. He has authored over two dozen articles and books on mediation and ADR. In 2006 he received the Annual PeaceBuilder Award by the New York State Dispute Resolution Association (NYSDRA) to honor individuals and organizations that have promoted the field of ADR.
Arguably Bush's most important book, written together with Joseph Folger, is "The Promise of Mediation". In the book they articulate the "transformative model" of mediation, which emphasizes empowerment and recognition as methods to build empathy between the parties. According to them, transformative mediation humanized the vision of how the mediation process can help parties in conflict. Mediation would not just resolve their dispute, but build their capacity for self-determination and for empathy. The transformative model of mediation is now being used in such diverse arenas as workplace, community, family, organizational, and public policy conflicts.
One example of Bush's approach to mediation is his criticism of allegedly top-down, directive dispute resolution efforts by international diplomats in Bosnia. In their efforts to pressure parties to sign the Dayton Accords, according to Bush, the parties did not have an opportunity to make their own decisions; rather, the agreements were drafted by the mediators and the parties were pressured to accept them. According to Bush, the mediators were acting according to a stereotype of the Bosnian people not being willing to recognize each other.
Coming from a secular Jewish environment, in his adult life Bush became an orthodox Jew. Recently he authored an article on mediation in the Jewish tradition, discovering that many of his earlier research findings were compatible with Jewish principles of mediation (P'shara).
Bush is a graduate of Harvard University (B.A. in 1969) and Stanford Law School (J.D. in 1974). He has practiced mediation in various contexts since starting a community mediation program in San Francisco in 1976, and has developed and conducted many training programs on mediation and ADR, including training for lawyers and judges. He has been at Hofstra Law School since 1980.
Bush, Baruch: The Dilemmas of Mediation Practice (National Institute for Dispute Resolution, 1992)
Bush, Baruch, and Joseph Folger: The Promise of Mediation (Jossey-Bass, 1994)
Bush, Robert Baruch. "Expectations for International Mediation." Interaction: Conference Report. Summer 1996. V. 8, No. 2. Pp. 5-18.
Bush, Baruch, and Joseph Folger: Designing Mediation: Approaches to Training and Practice within a Transformative Framework (Institute for the Study of Conflict Transformation, 2001).