Brief history of the European area of mediation for social inclusion.


Social mediation already has a European history.  The values of tolerance and openness towards others of Europe has provided social mediation with a natural area for development. 


The CreE-A project has become part of this history by creating “the European area of mediation for social inclusion” aimed at linking together the various social mediation stakeholders and institutions, increasing visibility and providing a stable framework: a collective learning forum.

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Initiated by the French government, during the French presidency of the European Union, a meeting with 42 experts from 12 countries was convened to start exploring the issue of new practices and new actors who consider themselves part of the social mediation field.  The experts investigated the “concept under development” and prepared a list that remains the only one of its kind to this day – of schemes, research projects, researchers, and institutions working in the field of social mediation or in related fields directly involved in the progress of social mediation throughout the countries of the Union. 

All participants agreed on a basic definition for establishing a common reference:

Social mediation is defined as a process for creating or reconstructing social links and regulating everyday life where an impartial and independent third party seeks to improve a relationship or resolve a dispute through the organisation of discussions between individuals or institutions.  Other practices that share the same objective have emerged; they are sometimes referred to as social mediation and also involve a third party. However, they do not satisfy the conditions of third party impartiality or independence.  Such practices should nonetheless be included in the overall review of social mediation.

Noting that various forms of mediation are subject to specific standards (judicial, penal, family mediation), the experts stressed the need for social mediation “aimed at promoting a culture of conflict-resolution and social link-reconstruction”.  Most importantly, the Seminar issued recommendations to member states and European institutions.  Already, the need for a European “observatory” under the supervision of a scientific authority was identified.  Experts also called for a special effort “of European Union States in collaboration with the Council of Europe regarding the ethics and culture of social mediation”.

See:  Médiations sociale et nouveaux modes de résolution des conflits de la vie quotidienne. Proceedings of the seminar organised by the Délégation interministérielle à la Ville during the French presidency of the European Union – Oisin Programme – Paris, Créteil, 21, 22 and 23 September 2000 – Les éditions de la DIV.


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Following on from the Créteil Seminar, the French government commissioned the French sociologist Michel Wieviorka and his research team at CADIS to carry out research for a “European comparison” in all the countries of the Union.

The scope of this task was far from minor:  the task was to check whether social mediation that is “undergoing rapid growth” was not merely a temporary fad or simply a name given to public policy corresponding to wishes or projection of hopes for the future rather than to a social reality.  An enlightening finding was drawn from the study by Mr Wieviorka:  “Social mediation is not the latest invention of ideologues closely linked to political authorities and eager to consider governance of countries or cities solely endowed with reason, but a range of practices extending from the field and not simply implemented from higher levels down”.  The characteristic of social mediation is to help “process certain social problems into conflicts, and to move forward into negotiation rather than into radicalisation”.

Although he points to certain practices producing “ethnic or racial difference when fighting against inequality should be the aim”, he also notes a European development that takes different forms depending on the history or the institutional or political context of each country; forms that all face the same challenges: “de-institutionalisation”, social exclusion, modern individualism, cultural differences and also a quest for new forms of democratic life and fear of crime.

See Wievorka M. (under scholarly responsibility of) – La médiation. Une comparaison européenne. Les éditions de la DIV – 2002  (pdf)

Cf. Wievorka M. (sous la direction de) – La médiation. Une comparaison européenne. Les éditions de la DIV – 2002  (pdf)

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Journées Européennes « Médiations et lien social. Un défi pour la démocratie« , Palais des Congrès, Béziers, 12-13/6/1997,  »

1° Encontro Internacional « A  Mediaçao, Una Cultura de Paz« , Instituto Portuguès de Mediaçao Familiar, Lisboa (Portugal), 22-23/10/1997

Colloque européen « Médiation scolaire » GLYSI/CNRS-AMELY-Fondation de France- Institut Universitaire Kurt Bösch, Lyon 12-13/6/2001,

International Conference « Prevention of School Violence », Universidade Aberta, Commission, Commission Européenne Education et Culture, Connect, Lisbonne, (Portugal), 7/12/2001

Symposium « Médiation Pénale et Justice Restauratrice »

2ème Séminaire International Francophone sur le Justice Restauratrice et la Médiation, Institut Universitaire Kurt Bösch, Sion (Suisse), 26-27/9/2003,

Colloque « Une approche européenne de la médiation », Université du Luxembourg, 11/12/2003, « Etat des lieux de la médiation ».

5ème Conférence du Forum Mondial de la Médiation Crans-Montana, 9-11/9/2005, « La médiation : une culture du changement ? ».

Séminario Tranznazionale : « Territorial Network for the médiation of Conflicts » Trapani, 26/5/2009, Union Européenne, CRESM (Italie), AMELY (France), SICCDA (Irlande,)

Colloque européen « La médiation citoyenne : de la grande cité à la ruralité », Territorial Network for the médiation of conflits, Commission Européenne, MODYS (France), AMELY (France), CRESM (Italie), SICCDA (Irlande,) Lyon, 8/4/2010 [European mediation Conference “Local community mediation : a new method of contributing to the construction of a more integrated and responsible society within european society. The experience of three different community”, Territorial Network for the mediation of conflits, Commission Européenne, MODYS (France), AMELY (France), CRESM (Italie), SICCDA (Irlande,), Dublin, (Irlande),1/7/2010]


Ever since social mediation was defined, Europe has been the area throughout which it has been deployed.

  • Meeting of “relay-women”, intercultural mediators and for facilitated access to institutions (1998 > 2000).

Over a period of 2 years, the relay-women undertook a joint review and held discussions; this period was concluded by a European Colloquium (funded by the European Commission D GV) in Paris on the 26th and 27th June 2000.  Women from Belgian, Italian, German, Dutch and French organisations discussed the “professional and political issues” raised by “social and cultural mediation”.  See the document:  Colloque européen. La médiation sociale et culturelle : enjeux professionnels et politiques. L’exemple des femmes-relais : promotion de l’intégration des migrants. Profession Banlieue, Saint-Denis, France, 2001

  • Daphné project

(Sera complété) 

  • Urban safety project

(Sera complété) 

  • Inter-cultural projects (with M. Cohen-Emerique)

(Sera complété) 

  • Social and school mediation projects

Conflict and violence resolution trough social mediation (school and family) », European Union and Culture-Connect Initiative, 2002 ABERTA University of Lisbon (Portugal) (coordination), with the participation of organisations and universities from France, Italy, Spain, Belgium, Ireland.

« Territorial Network for the mediation of conflits », Modys, Amely, Crems, Siccda, European Commission-Directorate-General for Justice, Freedom and Security, 2010, CREMS (Portugal) (coordination) with the participation of organisations and universities from France, Italy, Ireland.

  • European project «Alternative» (2012-2016)

FP7 Project, for a development of other ways of conceiving justice and security through participatory approaches in inter-cultural contexts.  Project led by the University of Leuven (Ivo Aertsen).


Produced training courses for intercultural mediators, based on the exchange of good practices.


A number of partnerships were developed, mainly through joint diploma

  • “European Masters in Mediation”, Institut Universitaire K. Bösch, jointly with 10 European universities, Sion (Switzerland)  (1999 to 2007); Barcelona University and Murcia University (Spain); Milano Cattolica University (Italy); Luxembourg University; René Descartes-Paris 5 University and Lyon Lumière University (France); Fern Universität Hagen (Germany); Leuven Catholic University (Belgium), Université Lusófona de Humanidades e Tecnologias (Portugal); Sherbrooke University.
  •  Masters in Mediation (Erasmus), (2008 – 2017) Lyon University, Luxembourg University, Murcia University (Masters 1 and Masters 2). The Masters 2 studies of Lyon and Luxembourg Universities are in mediation engineering and include social mediation.


European Forum for Restaurative Justice – The European Forum for Victim-Offender Mediation and Restorative Justice, which subsequently became the European Forum for Restorative Justice, was established in December 2000.  Its objective is the development and establishment of victim-offender mediation and other restorative justice practices throughout Europe.

For further information:


European Forum for family mediation:  Launched in April 1998, the « European Forum on family mediation, Training and Research » is a non-profit association (under the 1901 French law).

The association brings together national, regional and local organisations based in Europe working in the field of divorce and separation.