Who is involved?
Director and Senior Practitioner
Sam is a mediator and facilitator with over 20 years’ experience of dialogue facilitation and conflict resolution work. She worked with Mediation Northern Ireland as their Field Manager in England to develop the practice of civic mediation, sharing learning between NI and England on applying civic mediation processes to issues such as race relations, violent gangs and migration. In 2006 Sam was a Commissioner on the Commission on Integration and Cohesion, which informed national UK Policy on cohesion and immigration matters. More recently Sam returned to her roots to continue to develop civic mediation practice in Scotland. She’s worked on building relations around environmental issues e.g. applying mediative and stakeholder engagement processes with the fishing industry, governments and eNGOs to build transnational, cross-sectoral partnerships in the Celtic Seas, and with the Scottish Deer Sector on their Finding the Common Ground Project. Sam has also worked on developing the role of mediative interventions for marches, parades, protests and demonstrations. One example of this was the Keeping Our Cool initiative at COP 26.
Director and Senior Practitioner
Abdul is a mediator and facilitator with over 15 years experience in facilitating complex multi-party, multi-issue dialogue processes within and between local authorities, the third sector and communities. He has worked across England and more recently in Scotland using civic mediation processes to build understanding and relationships across communities where racial and cultural tensions are evident. He has experience of international conflicts, working with survivors of the Tsunami Disaster in Sri Lanka, and with marginalised Roma communities in Slovenia. Abdul is a qualified trainer in civic mediation and peace-building methodologies.
Mike Waite, Senior Associate Practitioner
Mike Waite is an experienced mediator, trainer and researcher who lives in south west Scotland. He has been a youth and community worker in Lancashire and on Merseyside, and has worked for several charities based in north west England. He was employed in local government for over thirty years and was the senior manager responsible for community cohesion and equalities at Burnley Council after the 2001 ‘northern town’ disturbances, including the years when the BNP was represented on the council.
Esther Brooker, Associate Practitioner
Esther’s background is in marine conservation, with a MSc degree in Marine Environmental Protection and a 15-year career working within a government agency, a research institution and for the last 8 years within the Third Sector. With growing evidence of the scale of the climate change impacts and decline of nature, Esther’s work is increasingly focusing on the intersection of social science and conservation, and the complex relationships between people, society and the natural environment. Esther first became involved in civic mediation work in 2014, supporting a process to build good relations with sea fisheries stakeholders in Scotland. She became an accredited practitioner in 2017 with Centre for Good Relations and co-authored a key paper entitled ‘Civic mediation and social partnership’. Now an associate practitioner with Centre for Good Relations, Esther primarily works on mediation around environmental issues.
Naomi Head, Associate Practitioner
Naomi is a Senior Lecturer in Politics and International Relations at the University of Glasgow and her research and teaching focuses on narratives of conflict, the politics of empathy and emotions in war and conflict, and conflict transformation. Naomi has a longstanding interest in mediation, communication, and forms of non-violence. Her work has engaged with conflict in the Balkans, Israel-Palestine, the Iranian nuclear negotiations, and the coalition wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. She regularly runs training workshops for students on conflict and communication skills and has provided expertise on empathy and conflict to a variety of peacebuilding non-governmental organisations. Naomi has undertaken mediation training with Responding to Conflict, the International Peace and Development Training Centre, the Scottish Community Mediation Centre, and Centre for Good Relations.
David Nasseri, Associate Practitioner
David is from Fair Oaks, California. During his childhood, he spent a good amount of time in nature exploring the American River Watershed which ran adjacent to his family home. David graduated with a degree in Political Science and a minor in Economics and worked as a Public Service Aide with the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC). Seven years ago, he moved to Edinburgh, and began working with CfGR while completing an MSc. During this time, David has contributed to a number of civic mediation and facilitation projects, including the following: Single Use Plastics – Scottish Government and Zero Waste Scotland Consultation; Open Government Pioneers Project UN Sustainable Development Goals; Dialogue on the impact of marches and parades in Glasgow; and the Keeping our Cool initiative – COP 26.