CAM students attend BCAMI Symposium

CAM students at BCAMI

RRU was a platinum sponsor of the 2015 BC Arbitration and Mediation Institute (BCAMI) symposium, held on 8-9 June in Vancouver.  This allowed 3 of our current Conflict Analysis and Management students to attend the symposium and engage with practitioners about current trends, hot topics, and what is going on with conflict management practice in BC.  The symposium was well attended, and involved a number of RRU/SHS/CAM connections: amongst the speakers, Kari Boyle, who is one of the School of Humanitarian Studies' Advisory Council members; amongst the attendees and organisers several graduates of the MA/Graduate Diploma in Conflict Analysis and Management.  Our CAM students, Kevin Amell and Graham Stobbe (MACAM 2016), and Andrea Cowan (GDCAM 2015) thoroughly enjoyed hearing "veterans of the practice debating concepts we have learned about in our studies."

In their own words:

The BCAMI Symposium: A students’ perspective

We wandered into the SFU centre for dialogue not knowing quite what to expect from a symposium on Mediation-Arbitration. We knew only that the event was put together by the BCAMI, a professional organization of experts in the field. We were pleasantly surprised to find a gathering of individuals who spoke like pioneers and who were clearly highly experienced and innovative.

The first session was an introduction to the symposium itself, in which four very prominent speakers expounded on the promise – and pitfalls – of the Med-Arb process. There was healthy dissention amongst the four speakers which set the tone for a lively dialog around the principles and processes associated with Alternative Dispute Resolution. There was a vitality and openness that graced even the most critical participants. Because of this, the practice of ADR felt alive, organic and responsive to criticism and creativity. From there we broke into elective panels covering such topics as designing processes for the user, workplace mediation, and ADR meets technology, as well as a working lunch around a case study.

The following day, although shorter, was very dense and informative. The workshop on how neuroscience impacts conflict resolution clearly described why people behave the way they do and offered some tools and techniques to manage such responses. This was immediately followed by the segment on “high conflict individuals”. This was especially interesting as it highlighted the strengths and weaknesses of the panelists themselves as they shared their own successes and failures.

Throughout the two days, we recognized many of the concepts and models we have studied being applied in the field. While some aspects were quite familiar, others had been greatly modified. There was a strong sense of looking forward. As students, we found ourselves asking these questions: what is the current state of Med-Arb, where is it going next and how might we fit into a system which is, three decades in, still in a state of evolution? The answers, as it turns out, have yet to be written.

Kevin Amell
Graham Stobbe
Andrea Cowan