The Cologne Academies 2018 started out with a Welcome Reception on Sunday evening. After Professor Berger welcomed everyone, the participants got to know each other and the faculty members in a relaxed atmosphere over drinks and food.
The topic of the Mediation Academy’s first day was “Negotiation”, as mediation itself is in essence a moderated negotiation. We had the pleasure and honor that the wonderful Ian Macduff from New Zealand conducted this workshop. After a comparative introduction into negotiation and mediation, we shared and discussed our ideas about the top qualities a good negotiator should possess, thereby stepping right into the practice of negotiation. Further, we learned about different dynamics and processes that occur in negotiations. We not only acquired theoretical knowledge, but also put the strategies and techniques right into practice in a series of exercises. This way we could really grasp the complexity of a negotiation, had our attention drawn to the difficulties and were encouraged to find ways to overcome them. We also implemented this new knowledge to analyze a case study developed specifically for the Academy. The case study not only showed us what kind of situation we might actually be confronted with, but it also allowed us to work through every aspect and stage of a negotiation. Throughout the day, Ian Macduff shared his own experiences. His insightful stories, along with a series of videos from the case study, showed the great potential that a well-conducted negotiation offers as well as its limitations.
Following the day’s events, we were invited to a guided tour of the city of Cologne where we were able to experience the old town center and meet other participants from both Academies. Afterwards we spent a relaxing evening together in the Malzmühle brewery where we drank the local beer, Kölsch, and indulged in traditional local food.
On the second day, we moved from negotiation to mediation. After an introduction to mediation by Ian Macduff, we learned how to structure the mediation process with the help of video clips that showed us the difficulties arising from the different positions of the parties. The lecture was accompanied by group work and Ian Macduff happily shared his own very instructive and interesting experiences.
In the evening we were treated to a wonderful boat trip on the river Rhine with a delicious dinner buffet and a very pleasant atmosphere.
On Wednesday, the mediation workshop was conducted by David Owen QC, an experienced London barrister and a mediator. It was highly interesting and enriching to listen to David Owen’s own experiences with mediation and to gain an in-depth perspective of mediation. In the morning we explored the topic of information gathering and legal debate, and learned about the role and the skills required of a mediator. Just like Ian Macduff’s, David Owen’s workshop was extremely interesting. In order to raise awareness of the important nuances in our language use, we practiced reframing sentences and expressions. After the lunch break we discussed settlement options and bargaining strategies while analyzing the videos from the case study.
Professor Berger, who was Thursday’s workshop leader, continued the topic of settlement agreements. He taught us how to draft smart settlement terms. In the case study we had been exploring, the mediation eventually failed and Professor Berger used this development to talk about the consequences of failure of mediation. After the lunch break, we had a joint session together with the arbitration group. There, Professor Berger compared negotiation, mediation and arbitration, thereby building bridges between the three means of alternative dispute resolution.
All in all, we really enjoyed the workshops and learned a lot while also having great fun. The Academy inspired us to dig deeper into the topic of mediation and to consider how what we have learned (and are yet to learn) about mediation can be implemented into our future work. The workshop leaders were all brilliant and it was great to connect with all the wonderful people we met during the week!
Earn 2 ECTS Points!