A&M International to Host Mediation Olympiad Feb. 7

Texas A&M International University will host Laredo's first Mediation Olympiad on Friday, February 7 beginning at 9:00 a.m. in the Great Room of the Sue and Radcliffe Killam Library-Administration Building (room 319).

Forty-eight elementary, middle, and high school students from Laredo Independent School District (LISD) will participate in the Olympiad, said event organizer Dr. Cheryl Dyer Vargas, Assistant Professor of Business Communication at A&M International.

For the Mediation Olympiad, 24 two-member teams will mediate a conflict acted out by members of the University's Drama Club. A panel of judges who are professional mediators will observe and rate each teams' conflict resolution skills.

All of the students slated to participate in the Olympiad received 20 hours of mediation training through LISD's "Student Taking-On Problem Solving Skills (STOPS) Mediation Program."

According to Dr. Dyer Vargas, the Program was started three years ago and LISD currently has over 300 trained peer mediators in over 50 percent of their campuses.

"The Mediation Program was designed to reduce violence and incidents of conflict in the schools and to empower students by training them to mediate conflicts between their peers," Dyer Vargas explained.

"The Olympiad affords the students a chance to hone their mediation skills and showcase their abilities. This is the first such event held in Laredo and, to my knowledge, the first in the nation as well," she added.

Up to 150 observers from LISD and the community at large are expected to attend the Mediation Olympiad.

For more information on the Mediation Olympiad scheduled at A&M International February 7, please contact Dyer Vargas at 326-2527.

Journalists who need additional information or help with media requests and interviews should contact the Office of Public Affairs and Information Services at pais@tamiu.edu