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Conflict Managers of Tomorrow…in the Books!

Dalla Bontà S. (ed.), Le parti in mediazione: strumenti e tecniche. Dall’esperienza pratica alla costruzione di un metodo (2020) is now available in open access.

The book is the result of a synergy between the core team members of the Project. The chapters cover different aspects of the preparation for moot mediation competitions and provide practical tips on how to master the mediation process. Thanks to its interdisciplinary approach, the book is an invaluable tool for those who seek to develop practical skills in mediation and effective communication.

“Le Parti in Mediazione” reviewed by Rebecca Attree

International mediator and solicitor Rebecca Attree reviewed “Le Parti in Mediazione: Strumenti e Tecniche. Dall’Esperienza Pratica alla Costruzione di un Metodo”, the first e-book by the Conflict Managers of Tomorrow team.

We feel extremely honored and humbled to have received this review, which we are delighted to share:

I have had the pleasure of collaborating with the Faculty at the University of Law in Trento and in particular the innovative Conflict Managers of Tomorrow Project, pioneered by Prof. Silvana Dalla Bontà. As part of this collaboration I have had the pleasure to read this publication. It is written in both Italian and English as it is the result of the project’s long experience in training and coaching students in both languages.

It is a very thorough, detailed and clear analysis of conflict resolution, particularly aimed at students attending mediation competitions. It should be essential reading for any team thinking or preparing to compete. It actually should have a broader audience and has much to inform anyone involved in conflict analysis and dispute resolution, whether lawyers, mediators or parties in dispute. 

The publication adopts a practical approach, with contributions from both academics and practitioners. Great store is placed on preparation, both on the part of the lawyers and the parties. This is the case for any real- life mediation. As an author of a role play case study for the ICC used in a semi-final at the competition I found the incisive advice as to how a student should read, analyse, dissect and work through a role play invaluable for anyone preparing for a mediation competition, or indeed planning to engage in mediation. Advice on how to engage with the mediator is illuminating – many mediation advocates would be well served to read this. The advice is given in the context of the ICC competition where parties are encouraged to remain in a plenary session and opportunities for caucuses are limited by the rules. This makes it more pertinent to those reading from jurisdictions where joint sessions are the norm (such as Germany) rather than say the UK and US where for commercial mediations private caucuses are very prevalent.

In addition to the varied topics covered there are comprehensive bibliographies at the end of each chapter which provide excellent springboards for those wanting to research further. The authors have consulted many of the great works on the subject across the globe in a variety of languages and incorporated concepts from different jurisdictions. This makes the work truly international. 

Aspects of cross -cultural communication and psychology are also considered and dealt with sensitively and from a global rather than Italian perspective. A useful addition if the publication were to go to a second edition would be a full chapter dedicated to the psychology of conflict, as this forms an important part in negotiation and mediation. A further future addition would be a chapter on online mediation, given that the 16th competition held in 2021 was entirely online. But, of course, it takes time for publications to keep up to date with changes to practice due to world events such as a pandemic.

The inclusion of a real- life experience from a participant at the ICC Mediation competition is invaluable and encouraging. In common with most skills training, the importance of practice and having a “can do” attitude is emphasised. As a judge myself at the competition, I was heartened to read how valuable the feedback from the judges to the teams was and how much the participant felt they improved during the competition as a result of this and the “hands on” practice they gained. 

As the old Chinese proverb says, ‘Tell me and I’ll forget; show me and I may remember; involve me and I’ll understand.’  The practical approach to teaching conflict resolution at the University of Trento is exemplified by its enthusiasm for its students to participate in mediation competitions. Further the creation of this excellent publication that serves as a textbook to assist those students in this experience is laudable. Prof. Silvana Dalla Bontà and her colleagues are doing excellent work in developing Conflict Managers of Tomorrow, people we are likely to need increasingly, and who cannot be replaced by AI and the many other technological developments we are seeing in the world.  

Congratulations to the team from the Faculty of Law, University of Trento, Italy, for winning the Special Award for Best Creative Solution Generation at the 16th ICC Mediation Competition in February 2021.

Rebecca Attree M.A. (Cantab) International Mediator and Solicitor, London 2021
Visiting Lecturer at faculty of Law, University of Trento, Italy.

16th ICC Mediation Competition: UniTN Team Earns Special Award for Best Creative Solution Generation

Left to right: coaches Luca De Rosa and Rachele Beretta, students Elettra Prati, Carolina Battistella, Claudia Galatioto and Alberto Bason, and CMT alumna Milena Mottola.

Students Alberto Bason, Carolina Battistella, Claudia Galatioto and Elettra Prati, coached by Rachele Beretta and Luca De Rosa, participated in the 16th edition of the ICC International Commercial Mediation Competition.

The Competition, organized by the International Chamber of Commerce in Paris, took place online from 5 to 11 February. 48 university teams from all over the world engaged in four rounds of mock mediations and received feedback from renowned ADR practitioners. Four teams gained access to the final rounds and the University of Auckland (New Zealand) eventually took the win over the University of Sofia (Bulgaria).

During the months prior to the Competition, UniTN students trained under the supervision of their coaches and benefited from the guidance of CMT alumnae Milena Mottola and Silvia Pizzo. The students’ commitment and dedication earned them the Special Award for Best Creative Solution Generation.

This accomplishment confirms the quality of the training within the Conflict Managers of Tomorrow project and adds to the history of remarkable results achieved by Università degli Studi di Trento at national and international ADR competitions.

Banca Dati della Mediazione Civile

Nel quadro della collaborazione con la Facoltà di Giurisprudenza dell’Università degli Studi di Trento, l’organismo di mediazione MedyaPro ha messo a disposizione degli studenti iscritti al corso “Clinica in ADR” la Banca Dati della Mediazione Civile.

La Banca Dati della Mediazione Civile è il primo motore di ricerca nazionale per i professionisti legali e raccoglie oltre 700 provvedimenti dei tribunali nazionali, documenti, notizie, eventi di formazione ed approfondimenti in materia di mediazione.

Gli studenti potranno accedere liberamente e consultare la Banca Dati previa registrazione sul sito www.adrmedyapro.it.

L’iniziativa è stata promossa dall’Avv. Mario Antonio Stoppa (Resp. MedyaPro Lecce e Curatore della Banca Dati) d’intesa con la Prof.ssa Silvana Dalla Bontà (Prof. Associato di Diritto Processuale Civile e Resp. Conflict Managers of Tomorrow Project).

Training and Coaching in Negotiation and Mediation: It’s a Wrap!

Conflict Managers of Tomorrow – online negotiation and mediation training.

After completing the preparation course “Training and Coaching in Negotiation and Mediation”, UniTN students participating in the Conflict Managers of Tomorrow project (“CMT”) are now ready to compete in international negotiation and mediation competitions.

As a traveling team member of the ICC Mediation Competition team, I am really looking forward to testing the skills I acquired during the training. Not only am I excited to meet – and face – students and professionals from all over the world, but I am also extremely proud of being part of the first online edition of the Competition. Online mediation is the future!

~ Alberto Bason, International Mediation Team

In compliance with Covid-19 protocols, the training took place entirely online. This was undoubtedly challenging, but coaches and students quickly adapted to the new environment to make the most of the learning experience.

At first, I thought that engaging in simulations behind the screen would have deprived us of many important aspects of negotiation and mediation – such as setup, empathy, body language, etc. – and I was very skeptical. Then, during the training, I realized that those obstacles could be overcome through good preparation and a bit of effort. By the end of the training, simulations and feedback conversations had become engaging as if we were all sitting around the same table!

~ Giulio Catalani, International Negotiation Team

Before starting the training, I was doubtful about the online format of the training not only because I thought it would make it harder to learn how mediation works, but also because it would make it more difficult to interact with the other members of the team. In the end, however, it turned out to be a great experience: a thorough preparation and the exchange of feedback between team members and the coaches prepared us for online competitions, allowed us to work together as a team and, above all, to have fun!

~ Carolina Battistella, International Mediation Team

Training online enabled students to get acquainted with videoconferencing applications and tools. This will certainly be an asset for the teams, as all competitions scheduled during the current academic year will be held online.

Despite my initial skepticism, I believe that the online training allowed us to delve into mediation from a different perspective and taught us to pay attention to numerous details we would otherwise have neglected because they might have been taken for granted, approached differently, or simply because they are not relevant in face-to-face settings. For instance, we learned how to cope with technical problems and to dedicate particular attention to body language, which is more likely to be underestimated in online environments. Overall, it was challenging. Nevertheless, we became more familiar with videoconferencing platforms and learned how to use online tools to effectively manage the process.

~ Alberto Rocco, Italian and International Mediation Team

After six weeks of intensive but extremely rewarding training, not only do I feel excited about the upcoming competition but also confident. I was doubtful about the effectiveness of this new approach to mediation and negotiation, since sitting behind a screen makes it harder to efficiently convey your emotions to the other party. However, after the first weeks, thanks to our coaches and the commitment and hard work of our teams, I soon realized that even though role-plays were hard, they were definitely within our capabilities. This experience allowed us to better understand the dynamics of online mediation and how to strategically use the various tools at our disposal. We learned how to perform and communicate as effectively as we would have done in an in-person competition. Overall, this experience was a great lesson, since I truly believe that we were offered the opportunity to familiarize and work with a tool that will be widely used in the future.

~ Nicoleta Sendrea, International Negotiation Team

During the six-week training, students engaged in several mock mediations and experienced different simulation modalities, ranging from fishbowl exercises to co-mediations.

We had the possibility to act as parties, mediators or co-mediators, and attorneys. Taking part in the role-plays was extremely useful. Personally, I gained a deeper understanding of the roles I felt more confident in performing and the ones I needed to put more effort into. But in general, we for sure learned how to build a team strategy and how to manage feedback, opinions, and appreciation.

~ Sofia Falcone, International Mediation Team

Playing different roles was key to the success of the training since it gave us the opportunity to constantly challenge ourselves. I feel that having the chance to act as client, mediator, and attorney gave me a deeper insight into what mediation and negotiation really are. What is more, the various simulation modalities helped us understand how to develop the best strategy on different occasions and the importance of teamwork both during the preparation and simulation phases.

~ Silvia Barbati, International Mediation Team

During the past six weeks, every Friday we were asked to perform a different role in mediation. This allowed us to see through the eyes of every actor at the mediation table, improving our skills and learning when it is appropriate to intervene and when it is not. The fishbowl modality taught us to think fast and to be flexible, reminding us that even a solid strategy needs to be adapted to unforeseen situations. The practical approach and the different simulation modalities allowed us to constantly improve and better understand mediation and negotiation techniques.

~ Riccardo Masaro, Italian and International Mediation Team

Through learning-by-doing, feedback, and self-reflection students developed a deeper understanding of ADR processes and acquired a solid set of practical skills in the field.

I really valued and appreciated the learning-by-doing approach, it personally forced me to step outside my comfort zone and to think on the spot. I feel I learned the technical aspects of mediation and negotiation quicker and in a more efficient way. Besides, the feedback we had to give and were given enabled us to be objective about our performance and acknowledge our mistakes, but also understand what we did well. 

~ Giulia Marrama, International Mediation Team

Based on a student-centered approach, the training prompted me to move beyond the theoretical framework and proved to be an invaluable educational experience. The learning-by-doing method played a key role in our development. Applied to mediation simulations, it consisted of taking part in mock scenarios and then reflecting on our performances. It created an engaging environment and provided an opportunity for continuous improvement during the sessions as well as in the preparation phase. What I valued the most was learning from the mistakes of others and strengthening personal competencies through feedback and self-evaluation in a sort of virtuous circle.

~ Francesca Valastro, Italian and International Mediation Team

The training was highly participated, not only by current team members but also by CMT alumni. Former team members joined in as volunteers to share their expertise, facilitating and encouraging learning in the spirit of the Conflict Managers of Tomorrow project.

When Rachele and Luca told me about the possibility of volunteering and supporting the training, I felt enthusiastic about the idea! Volunteering allowed me to stay involved in such a great project, stay in touch with the friends I made through it, and give back what I learned as a team member. Further, observing the mediation process from a different perspective actually made me aware of aspects I didn’t consider as a participant. I love the idea of this never-ending learning process. This year’s team members are brilliant and motivated. I’m sure they will do a great job and make Università degli Studi di Trento even more proud of having them as students. Best of luck to all of them!

~ Marco Baio, CMT Alumnus

After my wonderful experience at the 15th ICC Mediation Competition, I volunteered to help with the training. This way, I wanted to give back to the Project, but I actually kept learning myself! This year’s team is talented and passionate about what they do. I am looking forward to seeing them compete: break a leg!

~ Daniele Isidoro, CMT Alumnus

Coaches Rachele Beretta and Luca De Rosa could benefit from the assistance of CMT alumnae and aspiring coaches Milena Mottola and Silvia Pizzo. After participating in the Online Mediation Competition and ICC Mediation Competition respectively, Milena and Silvia decided to continue their training within the CMT project as assistant coaches.

Being an assistant coach within the CMT project has been a true learning experience. Getting to understand how to deliver valuable feedback and effectively prepare students for international competitions has been challenging but fun!

~ Milena Mottola, CMT Alumna

Being part of the CMT project has been a great opportunity both from a personal and an academic point of view. Since last year, when I first joined the CMT project, I never stopped learning: first as a member of the ICC Mediation Competition team and now as an assistant coach. Preparing students for the competitions is challenging but also very rewarding in seeing how they improve along the way.

~ Silvia Pizzo, CMT Alumna

Coaches Rachele and Luca are extremely satisfied with the effort students put into the training and are looking forward to the upcoming ICC Mediation Competition, which will be the first testing ground for the team. 

Adapting the training program to the present circumstances was beyond challenging, but the effort we put into redesigning the course format paid off. Luckily, time and experience were on our side. Last Summer we had the opportunity to participate in the First Online Mediation Competition, which allowed us to gain insight into the dynamics of online competitions and understand how to possibly structure an online training program. Thanks to the input and suggestions of CMT alumni, we managed to find a suitable formula that successfully integrated theory and practice without losing the key component of interaction (it never comes easy in an online environment!). Students did a tremendous job, demonstrating great commitment and dedication at all times. I feel very proud to have facilitated their educational experience while at the same time learning from them.

~ Rachele Beretta, Negotiation and Mediation Team Coach

Back in March, after training, coaching, and competing in in-person mediation and negotiation competitions for half a decade, I had misgivings about the prospect of continuing our activities in an online environment. However, nine months into the ‘new normal’ of the online reality, thanks to a shared effort of Prof. Silvana Dalla Bonta’, CMT alumni, and – most importantly – the participating students we were able to set up and successfully conclude the training for the forthcoming competitions. I am extremely proud of our students, who made the most out of this experience not only by visibly improving their skills but also by fully embracing the peculiarities of online communication. To me, the outcome of the training is proof that – while scary at first – online venues can be a valuable alternative for dispute resolution also in a post-Covid world.

~ Luca De Rosa, Negotiation and Mediation Team Coach

Prof. Silvana Dalla Bontà, Project Founder and Coordinator, expressed her satisfaction regarding the outcome of the training and was greatly impressed with the students’ progress throughout the course.

Right from the start of the Conflict Managers of Tomorrow Project, I have strongly supported the coaching and training of students in mediation and negotiation. Based on my teaching experience in the field of ADR, I am absolutely convinced that mock mediations are the best way to make students understand how mediation works. Given the current situation and social distancing rules, role-plays and simulations had to be organized online. This was a great challenge, but coaches and students reacted quickly and faced it. They have shown to be able to adapt to the new context. On the one hand, Rachele and Luca were able to rethink their excellent coaching method and adjust it to the online environment. They also involved former participants in mediation competitions (Milena, Silvia, Marco, and Daniele), who not only gave their precious support to the training but also learned from this new experience. 
On the other hand, students demonstrated a remarkable commitment to learning key mediation and negotiation skills. Their progress was visible day after day.
In conclusion, I must say that I am really proud of what the coaches, students, and volunteers accomplished. I have no doubts: they will succeed in competitions as well as in their professional life!

~ Prof. Silvana Dalla Bontà, CMT project Founder and Coordinator

Italian Mediation Competition: Let’s Hear from the Team!

Top left to bottom right: Dr. Lorenzo Zoppellari (coach), Luigi Milella (Team Member), Duilio Cirilli (Team Member), Prof. Silvana Dalla Bontà (CMT Project Founder & Coordinator), Bianca Adami (Team Member), and Lorenzo Ardenghi (Team Member).

Preparing for the 2020 Italian Mediation Competition gave me the chance to delve into the ADR world and put theory into practice. The past few months were intense: thanks to the expert guidance of ADR professionals and academics, and to good teamwork, we developed new skills and competencies. In particular, we focused on case analysis, development of creative solutions, active listening, and effective communication. Learning to master these skills proved fundamental during the Competition and will likewise be key to succeeding as a legal practitioner. Overall, it was a very positive experience and I feel proud of the Award we earned.

~ Bianca Adami, Team Member

The Italian Mediation Competition allowed me to improve my knowledge of ADR and to experience ADR proceedings first-hand. Thanks to the help of ADR professionals and academics, and the effort put into preparation, I acquired a thorough understanding of the dynamics of mediation and of the skills required to master the process. We focused – among other things – on how to deliver an effective opening statement, on how to explore the other side’s interests and needs, and on how to develop options for mutual gain. Regardless of the placement at the Competition, this experience made me acquire skills and competencies that will prove fundamental throughout my academic path and future professional career. I am thankful for the invaluable and unforgettable opportunity that the University of Trento – Faculty of Law offered me.

~ Lorenzo Ardenghi, Team Member

I have always wondered about the practical applications of the knowledge acquired throughout my academic path. I wondered whether I would be able to put theory into practice in my everyday life. Participating in the Conflict Managers of Tomorrow exposed me to an innovative learning method and allowed me to put my knowledge to the test right away. Thanks to the thorough preparation during the academic year, I was able to confidently navigate the world of ADR and reach important milestones in my educational and personal development.

~ Duilio Carlo Cirilli, Team Member

Our performance at the Italian Mediation Competition 2020 was only the final stage of a wonderful year-long experience. The skills acquired in the field of ADR and interpersonal communication are the result of personal effort combined with the teachings of scholars and professionals. Every single moment of this experience will always be a part of me. I am particularly grateful to Prof. Silvana Dalla Bontà, who at all times believed in our potential as a team, and to my teammates, with whom I shared this journey.

~ Luigi Milella, Team Member

I feel privileged to have had the opportunity of putting into practice the knowledge acquired throughout my academic path. Training within the framework of the Conflict Managers of Tomorrow project and participating in the Italian Mediation Competition, allowed me to do so. I had the chance to gain key professional skills, challenge myself, learn to face the unexpected, and – last but not least – put my professors’ and trainers’ tips into practice. The importance of active listening, the ability to identify the other side’s interests and develop the most effective mediation strategy are only a few examples of the skills I acquired and improved throughout the training. It was an enriching experience that I strongly recommend to all students who are passionate or curious to learn more about this sector of the Law. ADR is a key area of dispute resolutions that legal practitioners-to-be cannot ignore.

~ Alberto Pagliari, Team Member

This is my second year as a coach within the framework of the Conflict Managers of Tomorrow project and – as we all know – “the second album is always the most difficult to make”. That saying held particularly true this year. As we were ready to participate in the Italian Mediation Competition, the pandemic hit and all activities had to be suspended. This unexpected occurrence forced us to interrupt the training and quickly adapt our skills to the online environment where the Competition itself would take place. In this regard, the team showed remarkable adaptability skills. Students reacted to the unforeseeable with great enthusiasm and dedication. The training continued online and the circumstances brought us closer together, despite the impossibility to meet in person. Even the days of the Competition, which – alas – took place online, were filled with excitement and emotions. I am extremely happy with and proud of the results the team achieved. At the end of the day, the difficult times and all the hurdles we had to face made this achievement worth even more.

~ Lorenzo Zoppellari, Team Coach

Once again the training and coaching of the student team of the University of Trento -Faculty of Law was a challenge. It was a great opportunity to put into practice what we teach in our ADR Clinic, Lab on Training and Coaching in Negotiation and Mediation Skills, and Lab on Effective Communication and Soft skills. The book we have recently published as part of the “Conflict Managers of Tomorrow” Project (‘Le Parti in Mediazione: Strumenti e Tecniche‘) proved extremely useful in training our students. The team was fantastic. I truly appreciated their commitment and enthusiasm: they improved their mediation skills (even online!) day after day. It am proud of the award for best opening statement they earned: congratulations!

~ Prof. Silvana Dalla Bontà, Project Founder & Coordinator

Italian Mediation Competition: UniTN Team Earns Award for Best Opening Statement

Left to right: Coach Lorenzo Zoppellari, students Luigi Milella and Duilio Carlo Cirilli, Prof. Silvana Dalla Bontà, students Bianca Adami, Alberto Pagliari and Lorenzo Ardenghi.

Students Bianca Adami, Lorenzo Ardenghi, Duilio Carlo Cirilli, Luigi Milella and Alberto Pagliari, coached by Lorenzo Zoppellari and Prof. Silvana Dalla Bontà, participated in the 8th edition of the Italian Mediation Competition.

For the first time ever, the Competition organized by Camera Arbitrale di Milano took place online. From 8 to 10 October, 20 student teams from 17 Italian universities engaged in several rounds of mock mediations and received feedback from renowned ADR professionals.

During the preparation, UniTN students benefited from the expert guidance of their coaches as well as the advice of attorneys and mediators Corrado Mora and Maurizio Di Rocco. The students’ commitment and dedication earned them the special award for best opening statement.

This accomplishment confirms the quality of the training within the Conflict Managers of Tomorrow project and adds to the remarkable results achieved at national and international ADR competitions.

The Importance of Inclusion: an Interview with Prof. Silvana Dalla Bontà

In sight of the second edition of Global Inclusion, an event supported by Università degli Studi di Trento, Prof. Silvana Dalla Bontà (founder and coordinator of the Conflict Managers of Tomorrow project) speaks about inclusion-related aspects of the Project.

Conflict Managers of Tomorrow promotes and educates on negotiation and mediation, two conflict resolution methods that by their own nature emphasize the importance of sharing. Negotiation and mediation theory envisions conflict as an opportunity for the parties to engage in joint problem solving rather than compete over limited resources.

The inclusion-oriented nature of the Project lies in the peculiar way trainers, coaches, and students interact. Students learn how to use soft and hard skills that will prove indispensable in their personal and professional life.

This learning process greatly fosters inclusion: it helps students master their life skills, which in turn contributes to the development of a respectful, constructive, and future-oriented world.

A Conversation on Mediation with Prof. Dalla Bontà

Founder and coordinator of the Conflict Managers of Tomorrow Project Prof. Silvana Dalla Bontà shares her perspective on mediation in an interview by Attorney Carlo Mosca (ADR Quadra).

The interview is part of Mosca’s research project on how practitioners and academics conceive mediation. The aim is to provide a comprehensive picture of the current status of mediation and future directions of the field.

Once again, Prof. Dalla Bontà highlights the importance of university education in raising awareness about conflict dynamics and effective resolution methods. Among all appropriate conflict resolution methods, mediation offers clear benefits – especially for some types of disputes.

The sooner one becomes acquainted with mediation, the better will they be able to exploit the potential of the process and pursue the most appropriate course of action to effectively resolve conflict. And this is exactly what the Conflict Managers of Tomorrow Project strives to accomplish.


Save the Date!

Comunicare, negoziare e mediare online
Communicating, negotiating and mediating online

25 September 2020
2:30 – 6:30 p.m.
Video-conference