When I arrived at CEDR in July the first thing I began working on was the CEDR Annual Dinner 2013. Back in July the Dinner seemed to be in the distant future but all of a sudden it was 21st November and we were on our way to the British Academy of Film and Television Arts. This year we were lucky enough to have guests attend from across the globe and we were delighted that so many could join us and enjoy an evening together in such a prestigious location.
At 6pm guests began to arrive for a champagne reception in honour of Frances Maynard, part of CEDR faculty and one of the UK’s leading mediators until her recent retirement. Eileen Carroll QC (Hons), Deputy Chief Executive of CEDR, paid tribute to Frances with a speech about her extensive career.
We then moved into BAFTA’s David Lean room to sit down for dinner at our movie-themed tables. Lady Elizabeth Vallance, chair of CEDR, welcomed us before an army of waiters arrived with our first course, cured ‘Loch Duart’ salmon.
After dessert, a baked ‘Rosary’ cheese cake, CEDR Chief Executive Karl Mackie spoke of the year’s highlights and achievements before introducing the guest speaker. This year we were fortunate enough to have Dermot Ahern, senior Irish politician until his retirement in 2011, as guest speaker. As we enjoyed our coffee and petits fours Mr Ahern spoke about his experience of negotiation as a politician during the Northern Ireland peace process and the role of ADR in his time spent as Justice Minister.
At 10.30pm guests began to depart and slowly the evening began to wind down. I would like to thank everyone that helped to make the 2013 Dinner a success and I do hope that many of you will be able to join us for the 2014 CEDR Awards.