Conflict Resolution|Europe|International|Mediation

World Mediation Forum Meets in Florence

The World Forum of Mediation Centers is sponsored by the Union International des Avocats.  As its name implies, the Forum attracts the world’s leading mediation centers and organizations, and meets every nine months to share developments, assess progress, exchange ideas and strategies, and network between developed and developing mediation markets.

The 13th meeting of the Forum was held in Florence, Italy, on October 2-3, 2009.  Forum President Thierry Garby joined with Florence attorney and mediator Carlo Mastellone in designing a very interesting and completely enjoyable two days’ sessions.

I have previously lauded Michael McIlwrath, Senior Counsel of  GE Oil & Gas, whose podcasts on CPR’s web site is “must” hearing.  I was honored to join him in a session predicting future trends and areas of growth for mediation and other non-adjudicative commercial problem-solving.  Both of us expressed the hope that business managers would see ADR as a management tool that, like “Six Sigma,” will yield efficiencies to business processes in the course of identifying and correcting past flaws.

Jane Gunn of the UK, Anka Stojan of Slovenia and her colleague Simona Mlakar gave a presentation on the risks and rewards of co-mediation.  Jane reported doing quite a bit of commercial co-mediation with her colleague David Richbell, to great effect.

Mike McIlwrath re-joined the podium in the afternoon of the first day, with his colleague Maria Varsellona and Carlo Mastellone of Florence, to ask why mediation is resisted in contract negotiations, as well as once a dispute arises.  The corporate insight was very revealing.

A session was held on drafting dispute management clauses in contracts.  Many of those present were practicing attorneys, and it was interesting to hear Mercedes Tarrazon of Spain, Giovanni de Derti of Milan, and Alessandro Bruni of Viterbo respond to the principles of contract drafting that had been set forth a few months ago on this blog. 

On the second day, Irina Vanenkova of the International Mediation Institute gave an update on the growth of that orgianization and Mike McIlwrath (once again!) shared the unique perception of the corporate purchaser of dispute resolution services, seeking some assurance of quality and/or information on mediators in various markets around the world.  Later, Paul Randolph of the UK Civil Mediation Council gave a lecture demonstration on the psychology of mediation and its use when things go “pear-shaped” in an emotional mediation session.

An announcement was made of the International Chamber of Commerce’s upcoming moot competition for law students in mediation.  (Hurry — registration closes at the end of October!)  A very interesting development was announced, partnering the AAA’s International Center for Dispute Resolution with Bahrain’s newly created Chamber for Dispute ResolutionColin Wall of Hong Kong announced a survey to be conducted in the near future to supply metrics on the frequency, terms and effectiveness of experts in mediation.  Alessandro Bruni announced the creation of the Italian branch of Mediators Beyond Borders.

The next meeting of the World Forum of Mediation Centres will be held in June 1020 at Ljubjiana, Slovenia.  I strongly encourage all who are interested in cross-border dispute resolution to plan to attend if at all possible.  UIA membership is not a requirement — check with the UIA for further details in Spring 2010.

  1. Thank you for summarizing and thank you for your contribution to the conference. It was a ‘must’ to hear you. Hope to see you in Romania.
    We kindly ask you to allow us use your text for our very new Romanian blog. We shall translate it in Romanian and share the link to your blog for the ones who can read english.

    In the informal time of the Conference we heard all kind of opinions about the Conference. Altogether, taking the variety of participants, experienced and beginers and the short time we had, we found it useful. Meaning we found new practical things to try at home.
    Best from Romania,

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