Mediation provides a cost-effectiveness and efficient alternative for businesses in challenging situations. SMC aims to reach out to our end-users, the business community, to increase awareness of the alternative dispute resolution systems in Singapore, especially mediation and advocate its benefits as a strategic tool for growth.

31 Oct 2018: Singapore Mediation Lecture 2018



31 October 2018, 5.00 pm Registration at 4.30 pm


Singapore Management University School of Law, 55 Armenian Street, Singapore 179943, Function Hall 1.3, Level B1


Dress Code: Business Attire
Strictly no casual wear (e.g. jeans, shorts, slippers, etc)


For queries please contact:
Ms Sywell See
Tel: 6332 8377
Fax: 6333 5085
3687SMU Email Masthead 460x219 wo supporting organisations

The Singapore Mediation Lecture is proudly brought to you by Eversheds Harry Elias LLP and the Singapore Mediation Centre, in collaboration with the Singapore Management University.

This is an annual lecture aimed to create an increased understanding of the use of mediation in commercial dispute resolution.

The lecture is free for all and registration for the 7th Singapore Mediation Lecture is now open.

Please click here for more information. 

About the Lecture

On Tiptoes through the Minefield: Cultural Dimensions of Mediation

Few issues are as hotly contested as culture both in society and in the dispute resolution field.

The draft United Nations Convention on International Settlement Agreements Resulting from Mediation (expected to be called the Singapore Convention on Mediation) is likely to increase the use of mediation in cross-border disputes, making intercultural issues even more pertinent.

While mediators are trained in how to manage cultural diversity, that training is now rejected either as too narrow or too broad. With the advent of neuroscience, the old proponents of mediation as culturally transferable and mediators as scrupulously neutral are back with us. They insist the brain governs our reactions, which are as unique and unpredictable as we are ourselves.

So why bother with culture at all? The stark reality of managing cross-border negotiations will mean that culture will play a role and the failure to address cultural sensitivities and interests risk placing many a settlement in jeopardy.

Does culture equate ethnicity, or is it something more? How are individual differences between people from the same cultural group handled, let alone between people of different backgrounds? To what extent can process design assist? Will an evaluative approach serve parties better than a facilitative approach, and if so, how does one decide when one approach is preferable and when not?

Users, however, are not asking these questions. All they ask of those assisting them in intercultural negotiations and mediations is that they do not fail to deliver the best possible chance of a successful outcome.

For practitioners, such doubts have turned intercultural mediation into a minefield. Some negotiators and mediators who are wary of falling into error, have retreated into the mistaken belief that culture does not matter. It does.

Ms Kalowski will address these issues and provide suggestions on how to take account of culture in disputing and in resolution, with the aim of ensuring there are confident interculturally skilled mediators able to take on complex disputes between individuals, organisations and countries.

About the Speaker

Joanna Kalowski is a mediator, facilitator and judicial educator. She has a background as an adult educator, and designs, leads and evaluates programmes for lawyers and judges.

Ms Kalowski is on the Resolution Institute's Advanced Panel, the panel of the Centre de Médiation et d'Arbitrage de Paris and the International Panel of the Singapore Mediation Centre. She is also on the Faculty of MATA (UK) for their biennial mediator retreats and is a member of Conférence Internationale de Médiation pour la Justice.

She served on the Administrative Appeals Tribunal in Australia from 1988 to 1996, and the National Native Title Tribunal from 1996 to 1999 and thereafter remained as a Presidential consultant. In 2008, she was appointed to the International Mediator Institute (IMI) where she served on the independent standards commission and co-chaired the reference group that determined IMI standards in intercultural mediation. Ms Kalowski also trained judges in the Family Court's Children's Cases Pilot in mediation techniques in pursuit of a less adversarial trial process. In the pilot phase of the Defence Abuse Taskforce, an Australian body established to help people who claimed to have suffered physical or sexual abuse, harassment or bullying in the armed forces, she was the principal facilitator.

Ms Kalowski who speaks fluent French, German and Italian has mediated over 300 cases, ranging from environmental and Native Title disputes, to partnership and commercial matters. Her achievements have been recognised by Who's Who Legal in 2017, ranking her third on the list of mediators active in Australia.