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8th Cologne Academy on Business Negotiation and Mediation

On Sunday, the Cologne Academies started with a nice and friendly opening at the German Institution of Arbitration (DIS). It was a great possibility to meet all the other participants and to get to know each other. One of the highlights was a skype date with Prof. Martin Hunter who talked about his last years teaching and enjoying the Cologne Academies.

IMG_0605.JPGOn the first day of the Mediation Academy Professor Ian Macduff started with an introduction to negotiation and presented an exclusive view of the techniques and methods. We made our own experiences by working in groups and practiced negotiation by representing the parties of the exercise case. We then analyzed case videos helping us understand the difference between conflicts and disputes. With the help of theoretical exercises combined with extended impressions of Professor Ian Macduff we learned how negotiation works in “real life” and became aware of its effectivity. After class we joined a guided city tour through Cologne and had a nice get-together afterwards at the brewery Malzmühle.

IMG_0614.JPGDay two of the Cologne Academies included an introduction to the issues of mediation and an overview of the first phases of it. We learned about the important but difficult role of a mediator, and it was especially interesting to find out about the other participants` different impressions acquired in mediation worldwide. The class ended with an overview of  the lawyer’s role in mediation given by Fabienne Klass, who was a participant in the last years. She provided us with some excellent advices coming from her experience on this topic. The evening program included a boat trip on the Rhine with an excellent dinner buffet and a great atmosphere.IMG_0675.JPG

On Wednesday the workshop was held by David Owen. Working as a mediator in London he was able to explain us the various ways of mediation by giving examples and words of advice based on his experience. We were shown different possibilities and techniques to approach mediation. Addtionally we had the possibility to try it on ourselves in short role plays.

On Thursday Professor Berger explained us how to convert the settlement agreements of our previous mediation into an agreement. He pointed out the difficulties a mediator is faced with in this last phase of the mediation process and was able to exemplify the conditions of a successful mediation.

In the afternoon we had a joint session with the participants of both academies in which we compared the different approaches to alternative dispute resolution. It was really interesting to see the differences and similarities of mediation and arbitration.

IMG_0607.JPGAltogether the Cologne Academy offered a great and interesting program not only during the day but also in the evening which gave us the chance to meet some great people from all over the world.

Anna Kaufmann and Suse Weinhausen