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UIA World Mediation Forum, Malaga, 16-17 September 2022

The UIA has sponsored the World Mediation Forum every nine months since 2004. Alas, the gatherings were suspended after the meeting in Zurich in February 2020. Now it has resumed, and the 30th Forum was held in Malaga, Spain, on 16-17 September 2022, to general relief and happiness.

Created by Colin Wall and Thierry Garby, the Forum is now co-led by Fabienne van der Vleugel of Spain and Ross W. Stoddard of the United States. They offered a packed schedule, as always, and a heady mix of work and play.

So many excellent presentations were featured that it is possible only to pick some indicative highlights. It is customary for the Forum to feature an in-depth profile of dispute resolution in the country that plays the host of the event, and so we were treated to perceptive and comprehensive explanations of the status and organization of Spanish dispute resolution associations and centers, moderated by Ramon Pena Gonzalez-Concheiro. Speakers included Urquiola de Palacio del Valle de Lersundi, who is President of both the Madrid Business Mediation Center and the UIA itself; Manuel Diaz Banos, General Secretary of Mediation Center Fide (a provider, think tank and thought leader); and Fernando Bejerano, of the Madrid Bar Association‘s Mediation Center.

An insightful discussion of mediation in China was led by Milan’s Stefano Pavletic, who was joined via video by CCPIT Deputy Secretary General WANG Fang and, in-person, by Madrid mediator and arbitrator Marta Lazaro and Milan mediator Antonietta Marsaglia.

Jeff Abrams of Houston, Texas, can be relied upon to liven these affairs with his unique energy, flair and commitment. He moderated a panel of mediation experts that comprised Catherine LeClercq of Paris, Thiruvengadam BC of Bangalore, and Kim Kirn of St. Louis, Missouri. A particularly interesting discussion of “The Impact of Culture on Mediation” was moderated and organized by Susanne Schuler of London’s CEDR. Among her speakers were James South of CEDR, Sven Stuermann of Alicante, Spain, and Mona Hanna of Beirut, Lebanon.

I always look for opportunities to learn from corporate end-users about what they seek in mediation and in mediator performance, and this Forum offered a particularly insightful panel. Sophie Romaniello of Brussels moderated a discussion with three experienced lawyers: Celine Haye-Kiousis, Group General Counsel of BPCE Group in Paris; Marie-Aude Ziade, former GC of Dispute Resolution for ORANO Group in Paris; and Denis Musson, former GC of IMERYS.

This is bit a superficial indication of the genuinely engaging two days in Malaga. The next Forum is scheduled for Frankfurt, Germany, on 30 June and 1 July, 2023. I encourage all to join the UIA and plan to attend.

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