Talking About Mediation with the Young Global Ambassadors – Dr Rosemary Howell

Young Global Ambassadors Programme


Interviewee: Dr Rosemary Howell, Strategic Action Pty Ltd | Professorial Visiting Fellow, University of New South Wales | Member of International Advisory Board of IBA-VIAC CDRC Vienna

 Interviewer: Ivo Bari, Young Global Ambassador (Brazil)

YGAP:  Tell us a little about yourself.

RH:      I am fortunate to have a most interesting life as a ‘pracademic’. I have a professorial role at the university where I teach Dispute Resolution and Negotiation at undergraduate and postgraduate level. I also have a busy practice as a mediator, facilitator, coach and trainer. In my private life, I am an artist and I am fortunate enough to have my own studio where I work on the weekends.

YGAP:  How did you get involved with CDRC Vienna?

RH:      I was fortunate to meet Claudia Winkler when she was undertaking her consultation process prior to creating what is now the CDRC. She was aware of my experience with the ICC Commercial Mediation Competition and the perspective that had given me about competitions of this kind. I was very impressed with the way she was going about her investigation and planning.


YGAP:  What stimulated you to come to CDRC Vienna 2016?

RH:      It was actually quite a difficult decision. My university is not providing funding to any new competitions and it is a big financial outlay for students and a coach to go to Vienna. However, I did have a group of students who were enthusiastic about developing their mediation skills and we were excited about what the competition had to offer. We all saved very hard and it was a great privilege to be part of the competition in 2015 – its first year. The feedback from the 2015 team to other students after they returned from Vienna maintained the enthusiasm and encouraged more students to apply for 2016. We are still hoping we might get funding somehow but in the meantime, we are all saving like mad.


YGAP:  Do you think that CDRC Vienna is contributing in popularising, creating credibility and acceptance of mediation as a tool for dispute resolutions? 

RH:      This is a very well organised competition. It draws students from many regions and provides a challenging multi-cultural environment. The students have a terrific experience and become deeply engaged in the tools of mediation. They are the next generation of lawyers and business people and this means they will bring into their professional lives an understanding of mediation and its value.


YGAP:  Have you come across any notable developments about the competition in comparison to the 2015 edition?

RH:      The increase in team numbers has added extra challenge and more diversity. The rules have been strengthened and the working committees have a better sense of their tasks.


YGAP:  How do you feel about the level of the student negotiators and -mediators in this edition?

RH:      Students come with very different levels of training and experience and they all leave with a significant development in their skill levels. Everyone benefits.


YGAP:  Do you have any suggestions, tips or advice for our young negotiators and mediators in the making?

RH:      I have 4 pieces of advice:

  • Read widely – there are terrific books available in many languages
  • Subscribe to the (free) Kluwer blog – it has great articles to prompt our thinking about mediation
  • Try to find mediators who will let you attend their mediations as observers (law firms are often helpful in arranging this)
  • Watch as many YouTube mediation videos as you can. They provide very rich examples of a wide range of mediation styles and techniques


YGAP: Would you like to make any additional comments to our readers?

RH:      This competition is the most important competition of its kind in the world. It is the only competition to offer an understanding of what hybrid processes might look like and how the can be useful. The relationship with the Vis Moot and its arbitral process showcase arb-med (a process which combines arbitration and mediation in a particular way). There is considerable reluctance from practitioners to engage in hybrid processes and they are not well known or understood.  This competition offers students, and the practising professionals who support them as coaches and assessors, the opportunity to experience a realistic example of a hybrid process in action. This is a terrific contribution to the development of thinking about and the practice of mediation.


published April 23, 2017