Use English to learn conflict resolution; use conflict resolution to improve English.

About Us



Mediation as a Second Language (MSL) began in 2002 as a small experiment in a single classroom at UC Berkeley: Could 14 international students learn basic conflict resolution skills - in English - during a 6-week summer session, and if so, with what results?

The short answers were “yes” and “great success." The 14 university students from Asia and Europe improved their fluency, accuracy and confidence in English while focusing on something entirely different: Conflict resolution skills they could use for the rest of their lives. “Two for the price of one!” according to one satisfied student.

Since 2002, MSL has expanded to include workshops and courses for ESL instructors, university professors, law & LL.M. professors and students, court interpreters and others.  And courses that incorporate MSL continue to grow at UC Berkeley in the Summer English Language Studies (SELS) Program and throughout the year. 



About Barrie J. Roberts

Barrie J. Roberts has worked as a public interest attorney for Legal Services of Northern California, Inc., as the Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) Administrator for two southern California courts, and as an ESL/ ESP instructor at UC Berkeley. She created the term “Mediation as a Second Language” (MSL) to describe her approach to teaching mediation and negotiation to non-native speakers of English. She has over 20 years of experience teaching mediation and negotiation to international students at UC Berkeley, and has taught negotiation to international lawyers and LL.M. students at the Chapman University Fowler School of Law. With Maria Ceballos-Wallis, she is a co-founder of InterpretADR, which provides online and in-person ADR trainings for court interpreters.