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6th Cologne Summer Academy Business Negotiation and Mediation

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This year´s Cologne Academy on Business Negotiation and Mediation provided a unique introduction of the process of alternative dispute resolution. Using professionally edited video clips, we became quickly involved and familiar with what was happening between the parties - from the beginning of the dispute when the parties tried to negotiate the issues by themselves to the mediation process once it was clear that the help of a third party would be necessary. At the very end of the academy, we also explored the basics of the arbitration process, the final stage of the dispute resolution. 



On the first day, Professor Ian Macduff introduced us negotiation as a way, in which the parties can maximize their own gains. We have learned that negotiation depends on various factors and deals with different levels of interaction among the parties. Professor Macduff skilfully used interactive “games” to allow us to learn and explore different types of negotiators.


IMG_0137.JPGOn the second day, we moved on to the next step in the process of dispute resolution. Professor Macduff now focused on the heart of the Academy, namely on mediation e.g. a process of alternative dispute resolution, in the course of which an independent third party facilitates and moderates the discussion among the parties of the dispute in order to prevent escalation. Again, the video clips simulating “real life” were very helpful and allowed for a better understanding of the dynamics of the mediation setting and the different methods and “tricks of trade” the mediator may use to achieve his or her goals. 


oddy3.pngOn the third day, Dr. Oddy added valuable views of the attorney - practitioner assisting parties in disputes in order to enable them to effectively prepare for and engage in the mediation procedure. He illustrated important aspects of the mediation procedure and the “traps” that both the parties and the mediator have to be prepared for. He illustrated his inside knowledge and experience using the videos from the model case.


On the last day, the group, supervised by Professor Berger, tackled the problem of transforming the solutions agreed by managers into a legally enforceable agreement. This is the phase where the help of lawyers is essential. The afternoon session was devoted to the similarities and differences among the various methods raised throughout both the Arbitration and the Mediation Academy.


Of course, even if the Cologne Academy is about learning and exploring legal issues, one must not forget to mention the other – social – dimension of this undertaking. The social program is just as rich as those of the workshops – guided walk tour, boat trip, brewery night – just to mention a few. Participants of both Academies make quite a diverse group – students and practitioners, from different parts of the world, they all come to Cologne to talk and spend some good time together, all backed with perfect organization by Professor Berger and his team. It is no secret that people attend the Academies multiple times, though “they have seen it all”, they still cannot resist the atmosphere.

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This event should certainly be on a “must do” list of every student of arbitration or mediation.

Slavomir Halla and Ivan Cisar