International Mediation Singapore 2020 - Event Report

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From 24th October to 12th November 2020, 425 attendees from 30 different nationalities, mediated, ‘meme’-ed and networked over weeks of activities that formed this year’s edition of the International Mediation Singapore (IMSG), a mediation competition that celebrates and tests mediation advocacy and mediation skills.

IMSG was organised by the Singapore International Mediation Institute (SIMI) with co-organisers Peacemakers Consulting Services and the National University of Singapore Faculty of Law’s Collaborative Dispute Resolution Club (CDRC).

Registrations for the second edition of IMSG had opened in July 2020, attracting interest from tertiary students and mediation professionals worldwide.

In line with the extraordinary events that have graced 2020, IMSG also achieved significant milestones:

  • Being the biggest online competition in the international mediation competition circuit;
  • Reimagined format that provided unique opportunities for attendees to form meaningful connections through a curated list of Team Engagement Activities;
  • The world’s first multi-party mediation session in a mediation competition;
  • The only mediation competition to utilise a custom-built set of ‘Dashboards’ powered by Google Sheets, to manage communications and judging, allowing teams to receive timely written feedback from judges; and
  • A customised Competition Report for every team, featuring key performance and event statistics as well as a compilation of their feedback from all their judges.

The Opening Ceremony was held on 24th October 2020, featuring the IMSG Co-Directors – Mr. Marcus Lim, Ms. Jessica Low, and Ms. Levin Lin – as hosts to welcome all attendees to IMSG 2020 via a live-stream event.

The keynote speaker for the Opening Ceremony was Ms. Josephine Hadikusomo, a member of SIMI’s Board of Directors. Ms. Hadikusomo spoke about the duality of effects on the running of an international competition brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic – the technological challenges that have resulted; and at the same time the opportunity to reach out to more participants, partners, judges, and people who otherwise would not have been able to travel to Singapore for an in-person event. She also encouraged the audience to remember that crises are opportunities in disguise, especially so for those who are passionate about facilitating conflict resolution.

The Opening Ceremony was immediately followed by the first of a series of Team Engagement Activities. These activities were designed specifically to maximise attendees’ experience at IMSG 2020 in a manner that would be unique from role-playing and competing. For instance, attendees could try their hand at inventing Mediation Memes, learn more about Singapore (and each other) during IMSG ‘Kopitiam’ (Singapore vernacular for a small cafe), and take in the ‘sights’ of a Virtual Tour of Singapore.

Alongside the Team Engagement Activities, attendees were also invited to attend a series of pre- competition training and networking events organised by the IMSG Institutional Partners and Sponsors:

  • “Fireside chat with an IMSG judge” by Sage Mediation;
  • “Mediation Skills or Mediation Advocacy” by Edwards Mediation Academy;
  • Live Q&A session with Mr. Ban Jiun Ean, the Executive Director of the Singapore Mediation Centre;
  • Panel discussion and quiz held jointly by the Heads of Singapore International Dispute Resolution Academy (Prof. Nadja Alexander, Director) and Singapore International Mediation Centre (Mr. Chuan Wee Meng, CEO, and Mr. Teh Joo Lin, Deputy CEO); and
  • “Getting to know me in the age of Twitter” by Edwards Mediation Academy (Mr. Bruce Edwards and Ms. Susan Edwards, co-founders).

The virtual book launch of Contemporary Issues in Mediation (CIIM), Volume 5 was also held during this time. CIIM is a publication of top entries of the Singapore International Mediation Institute (SIMI) annual Mediation Essay Competition. Volume 5 featured entries submitted in 2019.

As for the actual competition, the IMSG rounds were held over two weekends; (i) 30 October to 1 November, and (ii) 7 November to 8 November 2020. Approximately 220 participants and coaches comprising 48 teams competed this year. Teams put their collaborative dispute resolution skills to the test as mediators and mediation advocates over five gruelling competition rounds.

The teams were supported by approximately 76 volunteers, as Room Session Managers (RSMs), and 80 SIMI Mediators, as judges.

Altogether, we were delighted to host a truly international group of participants, coaches, judges and RSMs from all over the world - Australia, Bangladesh, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Lebanon, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Maldives, Nigeria, Norway, Pakistan, Portugal, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Ukraine, United Kingdom, United States of America, and Vietnam.

Appreciation and Concluding Words

The IMSG 2020 Organising Committee would like to express their heartfelt gratitude to everyone who helped make IMSG 2020 a success:

First, to the directors of SIMI’s board and especially to the Chair, Professor Joel Lee Tye Beng, for their ever-present support and enduring faith in our work. IMSG would not have been possible without their support.

To the executive team at SIMI, Mr. Marcus Lim and Ms. Jessica Low, for their leadership and expertise.

To the co-organisers, the NUS Collaborative Dispute Resolution Club (CDRC), and Peacemakers Consulting Services for being great partners in turning a dream into reality.

To our corporate and individual sponsors: The 1872 Clipper Tea Co, Edwards Mediation Academy, Maxwell Chambers, MODRON, Sage Mediation, ChangAroth InterNational Consultancy, Davinder Singh Chambers, National University of Singapore (Faculty of Law), Singapore University of Social Sciences (Faculty of Law), Asia Conflict Resolution Institute, Farallon Law Corporation, Wægger Negotiation Institute; Ms. Viviene Sandhu, Mr. Jaya Prakash, and Professor Joel Lee. Your contributions were invaluable to the event’s success, thank you!

To Maxwell Chambers: thank you for the generosity and for providing a space for the the IMSG Organising Committee core team to use your facilities as our base of operations throughout the duration of the competition. Your support made a huge difference to the core team’s ability to turnover the event ‘hiccups’ in record time.

To The Art Faculty: thank you for designing the beautiful certificates and cards that have been distributed to the IMSG attendees!

To our honorary auditors, Ernst & Young, thank you for auditing the final results and being part of our vision to raise the bar in the international mediation competition circuit!

To our institutional partners: Singapore Management University (SMU) Singapore International Dispute Resolution Academy (SIDRA), Singapore Mediation Centre (SMC), Singapore International Mediation Centre (SIMC); and our knowledge partners: China Council for the Promotion of International Trade (CCPIT) Mediation Center, The European Law Students' Association (ELSA), Foreign Domestic Workers Association for Social Support and Training (FAST), Instituto de Certificação e Formação de Mediadores Lusófonos (ICFML), Institut Français de Certification des Médiateurs (IFCM), International Institute of Mediators (Singapore), International Mediation Institute (IMI), Intellectual Property Office of Singapore (IPOS), the Moot Court Bench (MCB), Mediation Training Institute (MTI) East Africa, Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), Singapore Construction Mediation Centre (SCMC), Sorbonne Assas International Law School - Asia Branch, Shanghai International Economic and Trade Arbitration Commission (SHIAC), SMU Mediation and Negotiation Club, SMU School of Law, The Peacekeeping and Conflict Resolution Team (The PACT), IMI Young Mediators Initiative (YMI), World Intellectual Property Organisation Arbitration and Dispute Resolution Centre (WIPO ADR). Thank you for your support!

Read the full report here.

With love,

IMSG2020 Organising Committee