10th ICC Mediation Week opens with International Mediation Roundtable

  • 6 February 2015
Hearing center ICC

Mediation Week has kicked off at the International Chamber of Commerce’s (ICC) Paris headquarters with roundtable talks for mediators and ADR academics taking part in the 10th ICC International Commercial Mediation Competition on 6-11 February.

Involving 67 university teams and about 130 mediators, including some of the world’s leaders in the field, this 10th anniversary competition brings together more than 500 participants from more than 40 countries, making it the biggest and most diverse yet.

The collaborative spirit of ICC Mediation Week is reflected in today’s kick-off event, the 2nd ICC International Mediation Roundtable. Designed by experts in cross-border mediation, the global forum enables mediators and academics to exchange best practices and new techniques, and foster the development of an international network of mediators.

“The ICC Mediation Roundtable is a great event for experienced mediators from around the world to brainstorm on some of the major issues that they meet every day in their respective jurisdictions. It’s an opportunity to see great ideas pop up for future reflection and discussion between mediators,” said roundtable moderator Thierry Garby, Mediator and Trainer, who has participated as judge or mediator at all ICC Mediation Competitions so far.

Hannah Tuempel, Senior Counsel, and Manager of the ICC International Centre for ADR, the body that administers the ICC Mediation Rules, added: “Our first ICC International Mediation Roundtable last year sparked such productive, lively discussions between mediators and academics that we kept it on the agenda for this year – and have a completely booked out event! We hope the ICC International Mediation Roundtable will promote higher mediation standards worldwide.”

A new feature of this year’s roundtable is the first ICC MED(iation) Talk. Speaker Bill Marsh, one of the UK’s leading commercial mediators, said: “The idea of ICC MED Talks is to use a provocative, punchy format similar to TED Talks, and then to throw the subject matter open for discussion around the room”. Entitled Saving Joint Sessions!, Mr Marsh set out the advantages of using sessions with all disputing parties in one room to work towards settlement instead of using “shuttle diplomacy” with the mediator carrying messages between the parties.

Peace negotiations

Particularly high on the agenda was the question of how commercial mediation techniques can help resolve high-level public policy disputes and international disputes. A short film explored the use of mediation to resolve complex disputes involving companies and communities in the Philippines, Peru and Nigeria.

The ICC Mediation Roundtable is a great event for experienced mediators from around the world to brainstorm on some of the major issues that they meet every day in their respective jurisdictions.

In a panel debate on New Horizons to Commercial Mediation – Public Policy and International Disputes, Moti Mironi, Professor of Law, called on commercial mediators to put their ‘thousands of hours of experience’ into facilitating dialogues at national and international levels.

Mr Moti, who has mediated disputes in the public sphere in Israel and Ukraine, said: “Peace mediation is usually done by high-level politicians, or governments. Neither have any expertise in mediation; they don’t know how to solve disputes. But we know. We have no power, we have no wallet, we have no political prestige, but we know how to mediate, and this is our profession: to bring a dispute to understanding and to an agreement.”

Excellent opportunity

Roundtable participants now face six intense days as mediators and judges in the 10th ICC Mediation Competition, drawing on their own professional experience in solving cross-border disputes. Some take on the role of mediator, facilitating negotiations between competing university teams in over 150 mock commercial disputes. Others volunteer as judges, testing each university team for their skills in representation, problem solving, and handling differing cultural approaches to mediation.

“The ICC Mediation Competition is an excellent opportunity for students to develop their skills in negotiation and collaborative problem-solving and to meet their peers from all over the world,” said Susan Hammer, US Attorney and Mediator, who has taught mediation of medical disputes in Shanghai through the Yale China law programme.

Competition participants apply the 2014 ICC Rules of Mediation in settling disputes over a range of life-like problems, from a space tourism project suffering from its sponsor’s damaged reputation, to a newly acquired vineyard producing lower-than-predicted yields.

Although each student can only compete once, many universities – from Brazil, Singapore, Lebanon, the US and elsewhere – apply to send new teams year after year. They are joined in this 10th ICC Mediation Week by 18 universities fielding teams for the first time, from countries as diverse as China, Nigeria and Tunisia. And Finland is represented at the competition for the first time ever.

ICC wishes to thank the range of sponsors for their support, in particular headline sponsor KPMG, as well as gold sponsors Clifford Chance, McDermott Will & Emery, alongside the Centre for Effective Dispute Resolution and the Ordre des Avocats de Paris.

Other sponsors include a wide range of media partners and supporters such as TDM (the Network for International Arbitration, Mediation and ADR, International Investment Law and Transnational Dispute Management) and YIMI, the young branch of the International Mediation Institute.

Follow the latest Mediation Week developments on Twitter via the hashtag #ICCMW @ICCMediation.

For more information on ICC mediation services, visit the ICC International Centre for ADR.