ICC International Mediation Competition: Let’s Hear from the Semi-finalists!

The team at the ICC Headquarter in Paris. Left to right, students Alice Catalano and Elisa Ferretto, coach Milena Mottola, and students Elisa Pezzetta and Andrea Dongili.

The 18th ICC International Mediation Competition (Paris, 6-11 February 2023) marked an important milestone for the Conflict Managers of Tomorrow (CMT) Project and its supporters.

Students Alice Catalano, Andrea Dongili, Elisa Ferretto, and Anna Pezzetta – coached by CMT alumnae Milena Mottola and Federica Simonelli – represented Università degli Studi di Trento at the ICC Mediation Competition in Paris. Students Andrea Dongili, Elisa Ferretto, Anna Pezzetta, and coach Milena Mottola, all obtained an LL.M. in Negotiation and Dispute Resolution from Washington University School of Law which has a long-standing partnership with the University of Trento.

The preparation for the Competition at Università degli Studi di Trento took place in a hybrid online-offline format and built on the expertise in training and coaching developed by the CMT staff through the years.

Training within the framework of the Conflict Managers of Tomorrow Project allowed us to fully develop a broad array of soft skills which are fundamental in mediation and that we first approached at Washington University in St. Louis – School of Law thanks to the Transnational Law Program. Professor Silvana Dalla Bontà (CMT founder and coordinator) and our coaches at University of Trento gave us the possibility to delve deeper into ADR methods and accrue first-hand experience in an international environment by participating in the ICC Mediation Competition. 

Andrea Dongili, team member
Left to right, students Andrea Dongili, Elisa Ferretto, Alice Catalano, Anna Pezzetta, and coach Milena Mottola.

Under the guidance of coach Milena Mottola, the team delivered three outstanding performances in the preliminary rounds, which earned them access to the semi-finals and a top-four ranking out of 48 participating universities.

The ICC International Mediation Competition is the largest educational event organized by the International Chamber of Commerce in Paris and the core of the ICC Mediation Week. After two editions online, the ICC Mediation Competition returned to Paris and gathered more than 120 professional mediators and trainers as well as 250+ students and coaches from across the globe.

University teams challenged themselves with three mock mediations during the preliminary rounds, putting their mediation skills into practice and trying to advance to the semi-finals. Students had the opportunity to receive feedback from renowned mediation practitioners and network with them to gain insight into the real world of ADR.

Representing the University of Trento at the ICC 18th International Commercial Mediation Competition has been an honor and a privilege not only because we competed with top law schools from all over the world, but also because we connected with professionals and experts who share a “real interest” in the field of negotiation and dispute resolution. 

Andrea Dongili, team member

We had the possibility to meet and listen to well-known professionals from all over the world. We were evaluated, given insights on how to develop our skills, and also praised by real experts. This was undoubtedly a moment of personal reward. The CMT Project helped us grow and its value was deeply recognised by professional mediators and ICC members. 

Anna Pezzetta, team member
ICC Mediation Competition – Day 1 at the Espace Clery in Paris on Tuesday 7th February 2023.
Team members Alice Catalano and Elisa Ferretto at the mediation table with student representatives of New York Law School and judges Stephen Walker and Claude Amar.

In the preliminary rounds, Università degli Studi di Trento faced teams from the USA (New York Law School), Vietnam (Hanoi Law University), and New Zealand (the University of Auckland, winner of the past three editions of the Competition). The preliminary rounds featured high-quality performances by New York Law School and the University of Auckland, which advanced to the semi-finals along with Università degli Studi di Trento and NALSAR University of Law.

We all felt like we learned a lot in the preliminary rounds, but little did we know we had made it to the semi-finals. After a short celebration, we immediately focused on the following round. We are aware that we worked hard and we are incredibly proud of having represented Conflict Managers of Tomorrow and all the people in the Project that have made this unprecedented result possible. From the first training to the last debriefing after the semi-final round, and everything in between, the knowledge and expertise of the CMT staff has guided us through this wonderful journey. 

Alice Catalano, team member

In the semi-final rounds, NALSAR University delivered a remarkable performance which earned the team a spot in the final. NALSAR University was crowned winner of the Competition after a thrilling final with New York Law School.

Students and coaches at Università degli Studi di Trento were proud of the result achieved and extremely satisfied with the progress made by the team throughout the training and the experience at the Competition.

If someone asked me how I would describe my experience at the 18th ICC Mediation Competition, I would say ‘a rollercoaster of emotions and opportunities’. On the one hand, the training was very demanding and required us to stay focused, listen actively, reflect, and be prepared to challenge ourselves and our assumptions. On the other hand, hearing the announcement of the semi-finalists in the charming setting of Paris was beyond exciting. Further, we had invaluable opportunities to sharpen our legal skills, interact and socialize with students from across the globe, and network with experienced ADR professionals.

Elisa Ferretto, team member

Prof. Silvana Dalla Bontà, founder and coordinator of the CMT, congratulated the team on their excellent performance and expressed her confidence that the CMT Project will keep contributing significantly to the education of students in the field of ADR.

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