Name: Julia Maciel
Organization: Permanent Mission of Paraguay in New York
Functional Title: Minister Counsellor
Courses participated in: A series of courses on Conflict Resolution and Mediation organized by UNITAR’s New York Office and Columbia Law School
Julia Maciel is a Minister Counsellor at the Permanent Mission of Paraguay in New York. She took a series of courses on Conflict Resolution and Mediation organized by UNITAR’s New York Office and Columbia Law School.
Julia’s background encompasses Architecture, Diplomacy, and International Relations.
The conflict mediation course she took with UNITAR was very hands-on: “We had a lot of training, role-playing with different roles that implies the mediation such as a facilitator, a victim, or as one of the parties involved… So we did a lot of on-site training and that was really very enriching.”
One of the highlights of the course was how diverse the participants were:
“We had judges, we had policemen, there was a lot of variety of participants and that really provided a value-added to the classes because each one brought a different perspective to a mediation case.”
Julia said the course “definitely provided the skills” to help her strengthen her work at the UN.
She came out of the course with more faith in her abilities: “Everything gave me the confidence and the strength to face all the challenges that a facilitator should have.”
The skills she gained from the course have proved enormously helpful in her everyday life: “Unfortunately there is conflict at all levels so you use your skills anywhere on a daily basis, for any situation.” She says she has learnt how to handle differences in opinion: “you need to cope with that and to cope with that, you need to exercise certain values such as respect.”
“You find yourself in situations where you have to mediate among different interests and try to find a balance… Even in daily conversation, everyone pulls in their own way, so you need to respect that. Whether you like it or not, you find yourself exercising mediation between one colleague and another on certain issues.”
She hopes to further her knowledge of conflict mediation in the future: “I would like to explore more, and learn more… There are always opportunities to practice mediation.”
She feels that conflict mediation is essential to ideal work and sustainable peace:
“We need to have mediation skills […] If diplomats are equipped with the tools of mediation, they will be able to engage more effectively in this global environment and all the challenges that it brings.”