The FBC – CFM is the federal commission of mediation. On Thursday the 18th of October, we were invited to follow a multitude of lectures and workshops. Here is our experience of a day between certified mediators.
At 8:00, we arrived in Brussels. We were kindly greeted by the organizers who showed us around and gave us an overview of the planning. In the morning, we were expected to help at the reception. It may sound dull, but we genuinely enjoyed it! As the hundreds of mediators walked in, it was our task to greet that and give them all required information for the day. A good exercise for us to practice our French as well as a great way to start socializing with the lawyers and mediators.
Now, networking is an extra benefit, but not the main goal. After all, we were there to broaden our knowledge of mediation. It all started with a welcoming word of the chairman of the FBC – CFM. He briefly described the overview of the day and hinted at some of the main subjects of discussion. Then, Koen Geens, the minister of Justice, explained some initiatives involving mediation. As most of you will know, the Belgian legislation has added some new laws concerning this subject. The main goal is to extend the use of mediation and not letting all disputes go to court. The final subject before the workshops was about lessons to keep in mind based on experiences.
Then it was time for the workshops. Our members split up, so we would maximize the number of sessions we could follow. These ranged from diverse cases to open discussions about the added value of mediation and collaborative negotiation. These classes were given by a wide variety of people. Some were by acknowledged mediators and others by professors of Vlerick Business School. To end it all, there was a final discussion of the evolution within mediation.
Between all the participants, there were a couple of familiar faces for the LCM SA board. Theo De Beir is a good friend who gives our mediation workshops of the Negotiation Track. Others worth mentioning were the professors and jury of the UHasselt Mediation Competition. Besides all those, we were able to network with many. Thus making the LCM SA name even more known in the mediation world. Especially when at the end of the day, Ewout gave a one-minute pitch, many interested mediators came to us.