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.
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
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.
As the sole representative for Italy at the Competition, the team secured a top-ten finish for Università degli Studi di Trento. Despite missing qualification for the semi-finals by a handful of points, Marco, Milena, and Francesca received praise for the quality of their performances and level of preparation.
More than 180 students, coaches, volunteers, and ADR professionals gathered on Zoom from all over the world to join in the event. During the Competition, 34 teams representing universities from 17 countries engaged in several mock mediation sessions, receiving feedback from 52 certified mediators from 25 different countries.
For the first two days of the event, the preliminary rounds of the Competition took place simultaneously in several virtual rooms. All teams were composed of three students. In each round, two team members negotiated as client and counsel in the same virtual room, while the other member of the team co-mediated in a different virtual room.
Marco, Milena, and Francesca had the opportunity to act as clients, counsels, and co-mediators throughout the preliminary rounds. Performing different roles in mediation was one of the most challenging aspects of the competition, as it required great flexibility and the ability to navigate the mediation process in various capacities.
When acting as a mediator, I had to learn how to intervene and interrupt an ongoing conversation to help the parties better understand each other’s interests. As a client, I had to focus on reaching win-win solutions, whereas my primary task as a lawyer was to support and protect my client.
That is all the more difficult in a digital environment, where traditional ADR skills need to be adapted to the peculiarities of the online medium. Preparation proved to be a key factor in equipping the team with solid mediation skills and the ability to overcome potential hurdles that may arise in online settings.
We studied many different cases, trying to analyze disputes with a critical eye and develop strategies to tackle the issues at hand. During the Competition, I did my best to implement the practical advice that our coaches gave us. We trained a lot to familiarize ourselves with Zoom so, during the Competition, I felt at ease in the online environment. Needless to say that understanding the parties’ feelings – which is crucial in mediation – is more difficult in online settings. In the end, however, it all worked out: mediating online was fun and even easier than I expected.
Within the framework of the Conflict Managers of Tomorrow Project, Marco, Milena, and Francesca trained as a team under the guidance of their coaches. Thanks to a practice-oriented approach, implemented through feedback delivery and peer-teaching, students learned how to achieve and facilitate mediated solutions using problem-solving.
We had several hours of training, based on a “learning-by-doing” approach. This does not happen very often in a traditional Italian university and the opportunity that we were offered by Università degli Studi di Trento is proof of its peculiar vision. The training sessions were of vital importance and were always a moment of growth. The countless tips from our coaches and the continuous self-evaluation process helped us identify our weaknesses and work on them to improve every time. We learned how to identify interests and goals and to distinguish them from mere positions, how to think strategically, use communication effectively, understand and deal with emotions, make offers and concessions, while at the same time being creative and trying to think outside the box.
Coaches Rachele Beretta and Luca De Rosa, as well as team members Marco Bonfiglio and Milena Mottola, also benefited from the experience gained at Washington University in St. Louis.
Throughout the years, the partnership between Università degli Studi di Trento and Washington University has proven to be a success factor for the development of the Conflict Managers of Tomorrow Project. The synergy between the two universities provides students with numerous opportunities to develop conflict resolution skills and an interest-based approach to dispute settlement.
I was first introduced to the ADR world thanks to an LL.M. in Negotiation and Dispute Resolution at Washington University in St. Louis and then continued my training in this field in the context of the Conflict Managers of Tomorrow Project at Università degli Studi di Trento. The Online Mediation Competition gave me the chance to put into practice what I learned throughout my studies in Alternative Dispute Resolution.
Exposure to diverse and multicultural environments allows students to learn about ADR from different angles, sharpening their skills and cross-cultural sensitivity. To this end, moot competitions are an excellent training field. That is all the more true in current times, where the migration of dispute resolution proceedings to cyberspace requires that practitioners rapidly adjust to the online environment.
The Online Mediation Competition was a valuable opportunity for students to gain insight into the dynamics of online dispute resolution processes and understand how the dispute resolution landscape is evolving. During the Competition, the team experienced an entirely new way of mediating, exchanging, and networking with ADR enthusiasts from all over the world.
What is truly unique about international competitions is the chance to interact with people from diverse backgrounds and with different approaches to mediation. Notwithstanding these differences, it was great to see how the parties and mediators managed to work together to find mutually beneficial solutions. Participating in the Online Mediation Competition was an invaluable experience, the essence of which lies in enjoying the process of mediation.
I admit that I missed interacting in person and establishing human connections during the Online Mediation Competition. However, I felt as if the affinity of the participants for the meaning and value of mediation could compensate for geographical distance. I had this perception as I found myself in a virtual room with people coming from all over the world who yet spoke the same mediation language. In the end, the Competition gave me a taste of how dispute resolution will look like in a future that has been deeply affected by the current pandemic.
Marco, Milena, and Francesca’s success stories highlight the importance of integrating capacity-building opportunities into students’ educational paths. To this end, the Conflict Managers of Tomorrow Project aims to teach students practical skills, with the mission of nurturing the next generation of dispute resolution professionals. Following in their peers’ footsteps, eighteen newly recruited students will soon join the Conflict Managers of Tomorrow Project to train for national and international ADR competitions.
Projects like Conflict Managers of Tomorrow are of paramount importance in shaping the next generation of legal practitioners. Students involved in the Project are encouraged to adopt a positive and responsible approach to conflict. They become acquainted with different dispute resolution methods and develop a holistic vision of conflict dynamics, thus gaining awareness of possible alternatives to litigation. Equipped with a combination of soft and hard skills, students will then be able to effectively match legal cases with the most appropriate dispute resolution processes. Throughout the years, many students at Università degli Studi di Trento – as well as their talented coaches – have successfully completed this learning journey. Numerous other students will follow in their footsteps.
~ Prof. Silvana Dalla Bontà, Project Founder and Coordinator
Save the Date!
Comunicare, negoziare e mediare online Communicating, negotiating and mediating online
25 September 2020 2:30 – 6:30 p.m. Video-conference