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3rd Cologne Summer Academy on Business Negotiation and Mediation

I had little idea of what to expect when I applied to attend the Cologne Summer Mediation Academy. I saw the Aacademy advertised, and since I had developed an interest in alternative dispute resolution while in law school in the United States, and I would be spending the autumn in Europe, I decided to apply. At the least, it was a good reason to visit Cologne, a city I had never seen before.

The Academy exceeded my expectations in every way.

CIMG4724.JPGThe agenda of the four days was ambitious in its scope, but it succeeded splendidly. It aimed to give participants a truly complete picture of either mediation or arbitration, with presentations ranging from actual demonstrations to updates on the latest developments in the field. The speakers were top practitioners and professors from across Europe, each an entertaining and talented presenter. We were also given a generous abundance of detailed refernce materials—both print and DVD—which I know will be useful in my future practice.


The Academy’s staff demonstrated incredible hospitality and organization. In addition to excellent coordination of lodging, meals and the all-important coffee breaks, the staff organized a different social outing each evening, designed to familiarize us with Cologne. We enjoyed a historic walking tour of the city, a dinner in a German beer hall, and a beautiful sunset cruise on the Rhine River. These outings left me with fond memories of Cologne, and of the people I was shared the conference with. Far more than a few lectures, the Academy gave us a rich, full experience.

P1000215.JPGPerhaps the most special aspect of the Academy was meeting the other participants. The Academy gathers advanced law students and young lawyers from around the world who share an interest in alternative dispute resolution. Our group included people from every corner of the world, with a range of ages and levels of professional experience. Our common desire to develop friendships in the field, and to bring the latest ADR developments back to our home countries, made for a warm and wonderful atmosphere.

This was a valuable experience that I am so glad I did not miss!


 Anne Gifford