The driving force behind CEDR’s existence is to change the world in a positive way for public benefit. We undertake a range of projects that span from access to justice and legal reform – which is primarily through promoting ADR (Alternative Dispute Resolution) as an effective means of dispute resolution – to examining the roles that collaboration and the management of conflict can play to improve business life.
As part of this outreach work, in the past few weeks my colleagues and I have participated in several University-based activities. Frederick Way and I had the pleasure of working with London South Bank University students in promoting mediation as an effective method of dispute resolution. We spent the morning with 3rd year law students who came armed with a host of questions that spanned from Civil Procedure Rules to questions in how commercial and civil mediation compared with family mediation. Due to the international nature of the programme at the University, we had many different perspectives offered of how commercial mediation works within jurisdictions ranging from the US to China. Perhaps the most rewarding aspect of the day was organising mediation role plays as a means for the students to experience mediation (all be it within a training setting!). They certainly seemed to enjoy playing the mediator or role playing the parties!
In another setting, Susanne Schuler, Assistant Director of Training, led two intercultural communication classes for MBA students held at Birkbeck, University of London. The classes focused on understanding how different conflict-handling styles affect interpersonal and group dynamics. Again, with a largely international student-base the questions and debate revolved around what techniques may be more appropriate in different situations and with a range of background and the role that culture plays.
Certainly an interesting few weeks – now how does mediation in Japan differ to that in China…?