For years, it has been in the tradition of the CSC to organize public events on mediation, events attended by our MA students, the Center’s researchers, Romanian mediators and scholars and foreign guests. In shorter (2-days workshops) and longer (1-week-long marathons) formats, these events have managed to keep up the public interest for mediation, a method of conflict resolution that has been controversial in Romania and abroad.
This year, due to the difficult times of the pandemic and social isolation measures, the CSC had to adapt to the new realities and move online. The event had to be shortened to a 2-hours format of a round table using the Zoom platform, with a more modest participation. It was attended, as usual, by MA students and the CSC researchers, with a special guest in the person of Mr Constantin-Adi Gavrila, international mediator and trainer, who has worked and developed projects on mediation in more than 20 countries.
The title of the event, Mediation in Romania: The Ways Forward, revealed the major interest of the participants, namely, how to bring forth improvements for the Romanian mediation system to make it gather momentum after years of being in clinical death. Our students have highlighted important developments in four of the most relevant (for mediation) countries in Europe: England, Denmark, the Netherlands and Italy. Each of these countries have had a different approach to make mediation a mainstream method of conflict resolution, but all of them had a considerable degree of success. Important lessons were drawn from the case studies and proposals have been advanced on how those lessons could be translated into the Romanian system. Careful consideration has been given to the idiosyncrasies of the Romanian legal culture, customs and norms.
Mediation in Romania is nowhere near running at its full potential, but we are optimist that the ideas emerging from this round table and similar events across the country might give it an impulse to come back to life. Given the conditions of the “new normal” created by the pandemic and the world reactions to it, including the closure of the courts and the temporary suspension of trials, it is quite possible that mediation will prove to be the way forward for many private and public organizations. It is up to mediators, mediation service providers and, no less, to governments and other stakeholders if this opportunity is capitalized upon or wasted again.
A big thank you to all our participants and, of course, we remain deeply appreciative of Mr Gavrila presence and contribution. Insightful and informed as usual, he made a solid contribution to the debate. We are looking forward to having him, along with many other friends and contributors to the CSC events, back in our classrooms and conference spaces.