08 Jan 2021
“Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or the present are certain to miss the future.” John F. Kennedy
Each year the Oxford English Dictionary chooses a “word of the year.” But, as noted by the dictionary in its word of the year report, 2020 was” a year which cannot be neatly accommodated in a single word.” Among the many words and phrases included in the report and which aptly describe this unprecedented year were “Blursday,” “covidiot,” “social distancing,” “self-isolate,” “tier,” “deep cleaning,” “mask up,” “anti-masker,” “superspreader,” “PPE,” “circuit-breaker,” “e-learning,” “unmute,” “Zoombombing,” “waist-up dressing” and of course, “stay-at-home.”
The upheaval of 2020 left an indelible mark not only on the English language but also on human interaction, as we struggled to maintain some semblance of our lives before the COVID-19 rampage. Videoconferencing technology, once reserved for selective use, became commonplace as society experienced “zoomification.” Although apart, we were also strangely together during 2020.
Buffeted by these winds of change, the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (CIArb) embraced technology throughout the year, deploying a vast array of online training, including the flagship Oxford Diploma Course that attracted participants and instructors from across the globe. CIArb released guidelines on remote hearings and instituted new initiatives. Worldwide membership increased to over 16,500 members. Despite the pandemic, CIArb had an exceedingly successful year.
But, it is now time to look to the future. The CIArb’s strategy for 2021-2023 has three primary aims:
If CIArb is to achieve these strategic aims, if we are “not to miss the future,” each of our members has a vital role to play. In 1915, five visionaries founded CIArb, two solicitors, an architect, an accountant, and a surveyor. Their stated goal was “to raise the status of Arbitrator to the dignity of a distinct and recognised position as one of learned professions.” That goal was achieved. Today, within our membership ranks are similar visionaries who can assist CIArb in achieving its goals and shaping its future.
CIArb’s global network means that we can develop and implement localised strategies for meeting these goals. The strength of our organisation is its diverse and committed membership. Working collectively, CIArb can accomplish each of these strategic aims and continue its rightful place as the world’s leading qualifications and professional body for dispute avoidance and management.
“Zoomification” offers a President an unparalleled opportunity to enhance the President’s ambassadorial role. One of my initial goals for 2021 is to attend branch meetings by videoconferencing in order to obtain a better understanding of each branch’s triumphs and challenges and to meet our many members. I look forward to “seeing” many of you in 2021, working with CIArb’s leadership and membership in advancing its strategic aims and building on the change brought by last year as we look to this year and beyond.
Wishing each of you a robust and successful 2021!
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