On Sunday evening, the Cologne Academies started with a Welcome Reception. It was a great possibility to meet all the other participants and to get to know each other.
The course began with a story introducing the concept of creative problem solving. After that the workshop leader, Professor Nadja Alexander, provided us with a persuasion example from the Crimea negotiations. Engaging in a positional negotiation we discovered the importance of opening a negotiation properly. The different ways of doing that were introduced by the speaker. Monday afternoon began with a comprehensive discussion on terminology and in particular the discussion of positions, interests, issues, bottom line, ZOPA and BATNA. To demonstrate opening the negotiation we were introduced to characters in two videos relating to the case that we have been provided before the beginning of the course. We then proceeded with several group exercises and games pertaining to money in particular that showed us how people perceive fairness. Afterwards there was a discussion of the next stages in the negotiation as well as different strategies and tactics. We finished the day with a city tour in Cologne and in the end we stayed at a traditional brewhouse.
On the second day the main focus was to gain a deeper understanding of negotiation skills and the process of mediation. Therefore, we talked about different types of mediation and their respective advantages and disadvantages. With the aid of video clips we learned about the role of the mediator and the different phases in a mediation. In addition to the theory, we did several exercises, for example practising opening statements with a partner or finding out about emotions and interests behind a story. The day concluded with the obligatory boat tour on the river Rhine, where we also had the chance to talk to experienced practitioners in the field of mediation and arbitration.
On Wednesday we got to know David Owen QC, who has been working as a barrister and mediator in London for many years. Firstly, the participants had the possibility of suggesting the topics about mediation that we wanted to know and that hadn’t been discussed yet. After that the workshop focussed on information gathering, the exploratory phase of mediation, including settlement options. David Owen gave us highly practical and realistic view of the practise of mediation, introducing us to different methods and possible outcomes.
On the last day Professor Klaus Peter Berger focused on the last stage of mediation: phrasing the settlement agreement. Special attention was paid to common mistakes made during this period.
After lunch the arbitration and the mediation group came together for a last, joint session on ADR (Alternative Dispute Resolution) instruments.
In conclusion, we can say that it has been a great experience, and we can only recommend the participation in the Cologne Academies. We will have many fond memories of the Cologne Academies to take home with us.
David Lewis, Iris Synthia Lolou, Brigita Pupsyte
Earn 2 ECTS Points!