Ep 195: Conflict Resolution and Finding the Third Ground (with Ken Cloke)

by Joan Garry

World-renowned conflict resolution expert, Ken Cloke, shares his secrets for overcoming conflict using proven strategies from his mediation practice that have brought “impossible” conflicts to peace across the world for 4 decades.


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Resolving conflict is not about winning or losing. Or even about finding a compromise. 

Often despite “impossible odds”, Ken Cloke has facilitated successful conflict mediation around the world for almost four decades and has written numerous books on the subject. In this episode, we illuminate the true mission of mediation to resolve conflict. He shares a conflict resolution approach known as “the third ground” that belongs in any nonprofit leader’s toolkit.

 Although it may not seem possible initially, Ken shares that a resolution can ALWAYS be reached. He speaks from deep experience. Thus, through the prism of his expertise, he offers principles and the power of asking the right questions that can uncover empathy, understanding, and yes, a satisfying resolution in which neither party has to lose for the other to gain. 

Every single nonprofit leader can benefit from this frank conversation. Ken provides us with gems that can help all of us who navigate tough conversations and mutually opposing beliefs, in service to making the world a better place for us all.

Key Takeaways:

  • In a conflict, how people feel is more important than what they want.
  • The prime goal is to embrace differences and exchange views.
  • To shift from a conversation about rights to values can illuminate compelling commonality.
  • As leaders, there is an important belief to debunk: that someone must lose for anyone to win.
  • What is a Conflict Revolution and what does it look like?


About Ken:

Ken Cloke is a world-recognized mediator, dialogue facilitator, conflict resolution systems designer, teacher, trainer, author and public speaker. He has been a pioneer and leader in the field of mediation and conflict resolution for the last 37 years. 

He is co-founder of Mediators Beyond Borders, based in Washington D.C. The organization supports individuals, organizations, communities and governments around the world in building conflict resolution capacity and conflict literacy, focusing on under-served communities.   


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