My way to mediation and great experience at CDRC Vienna
by Ece Alper*
Why mediation? Because, mediation offers an alternative way to dispute resolution and gives parties the chance to explain their needs and wants. Mediation is for people who don’t want to waste their time and money in courts. Its aim is to find the best solution for both parties. A mediator is not a judge, he is a person who helps parties to express themselves and their needs by asking questions. There are no obligations to stick to conclusions that might have been made during the course of the mediation. All these qualities make mediation the best and the most appropriate method for conflict resolution. Quite naturally, this is the reason why everyday mediation becomes more popular in many countries.
The Consensual Dispute Resolution Competition in Vienna, (“CDRC Vienna”), gives the opportunity to young students to experience almost real life mediations and supports them in improving their negotiation skills. In Turkey, where I come from, mediation has gradually started taking its roots as a viable option for dispute resolution, and that is why in 2015 we created a team in Istanbul and joined this exciting competition because we had decided to be young proponents and pioneers of mediation in our country. This little piece is about my personal experience in Vienna and my journey through the competition, and a few tips here and there.
When I arrived at Vienna, I was very excited because it was my first time in that beautiful city. As a team we were planing to visit many places, and in fact, we had reserved three days for sightseeing. Though we have had good and sufficient preparations before coming, we all had a strange feeling as if we weren’t ready, and so on our first day we incessantly kept doing role plays. Next day, we were thankfully feeling more confident. And then, the time for the opening meeting of CDRC had come where we were going to meet the other participating teams. But before anything, we were warmly welcomed by the CDRC organizing team and each day we met them, they would always be cheerful, polite and helpful. They really made all of us feel like we were part of the whole family. I’ve made so many friends and this has been one of the most memorable things I’ve taken back from Vienna.
On our first day, we had mediation workshops with the experts aiming to enhance our mediation skills. The workshops were not about the problems in the competition, but for something much more important: for the participants to improve their technique and knowledge. It was interesting for me to see the aspects brought out by different experts with different cultural backgrounds. So, don’t miss out anything that these wise men and women tell you. Pay attention because these tips can have a huge impact on your performance and will take you far.
My first mediation round was very remarkable. I was playing the advocate’s role, and my best friend in the University was playing the client’s role. We both were very excited. The judging committee consisted of really experienced people and this doubled our excitement. Five minutes after the mediator commenced his opening statement, it was our turn and we were feeling quite confident by then. It was about keeping your calm. I played four rounds as an advocate and I could notice that I was gradually getting comfortable my role and performing better each time. That’s because you slowly learn what to expect and how to keep the pace going. In all my rounds, the judges feedback were constructive and informative. So, do not forget to apply them as you progress in the competition. Our opposite teams were very well prepared, and so it was a pleasure to mediate with them.
Success wasn’t too far. With the preliminary rounds coming to an end, we were awarded for the best advocacy. The happiness is indescribable! There were many enjoyable moments like the various social events. Almost everyday we were visiting beautiful places. Dinner at Schweizerhaus; trip to the City Hall and Palais Trautson, and in just four days we partied twice! We had the opportunity to travel much of Vienna and we were awed by its architecture, cleanliness and tranquility, and of course tasting Apfelstrudel and Sacher Torte felt like heaven!
The best thing about the whole of it is that you get to meet people from all over the world and make some pretty awesome friends. I met enthusiastic people, who ideated and brainstormed. You get to interact with people who are pioneers in mediation and a simple conversation with them can really inspire you to pursue mediation in your home country. The learning is unending and it keeps coming as you continue to be in touch with so many new friends.
All in all, CDRC Vienna was a great experience for me. I learned so many new things and relished everything about Wien. Mediation is basically finding the most beneficial solution for both parties. Any dispute can be solved, if both parties are solution oriented. CDRC Vienna gives that opportunity to students to experience dispute resolution in very enjoyable way and teaches them to be solution oriented.
Anyone who believes in mediation, should find their way to be part of Consensual Dispute Resolution Competition, Vienna. I wish you all the best of luck and most of all an enjoyable time.
* Ece finished her LLB in Istanbul in 2015. She currently works as trainee lawyer associated with the Istanbul Bar. She participated in the Paris ICC Mediation Competition in February 2015. Then she wanted to enhance her experience and created an University Mediation Team to participate in the CDRC Vienna Competition in 2015, where she undertook the negotiator role of the advocate . She is happy her team won ‘’Best Advocacy Award 2015’’. Ece wants to be a mediation pioneer in her country and she is excited about the recent developments in mediation. She searches for progress in mediation in many countries and maintains relationships with prominent mediators. Ece is very proud to be appointed as CDRC Young Global Ambassador. She aims to contribute YGAP as much as possible. Her areas of interest are Arbitration, International Private Law, Intellectual Property Law and Sports law. Ece likes swimming, surfing and diving in her spare time.
published June 22, 2016