16 Dec 2020
2020 has been an unprecedented year.
We started the year with 15,589 members and end it with 16,520 members heading into 2021. A year during which we have been masked, grounded, largely contained in our homes and kept away from many of our loved ones and colleagues. Despite that, we have made significant progress and have forged ahead on many fronts.
The leadership and membership of CIArb admirably rose to the occasion. Our entire calendar of events and extensive training offerings quickly went online. Virtual dispute resolution platforms were launched, guidelines for remote hearings released and committee meetings proceeded unabated on cyber platforms. We also embarked on new initiatives for mediation training, undertook wide-ranging internal reform and mapped out our key strategic focus for the next decade.
This was possible due to the vital efforts of the Board of Trustees and Management and our new Director General, Catherine Dixon (and her able team including Tom Cadman ACIArb, Deputy Director General at CIArb, and others).
In my opening address at the beginning of the year, I raised three central themes. Leadership renewal has been smoothly implemented. Global representation was advanced with the launches of the Brazil Branch (in October 2019) and the Russian and Spanish Chapters of the European Branch (in November 2020). More work needs to and will be done on this front. On thought leadership, my efforts have been focused on the CIArb/JIN initiative on cross-border insolvency and restructuring launched earlier this year, the formation of the blockchain/smart contracts global impact review committee constituted in October (with the able assistance of Dr Paresh Kathrani) and the inaugural CIArb Global Conference set for February 2022 in Singapore (with the invaluable support of Camilla Godman FCIArb).
Our progress would not have been possible without the involvement and support of each and every one of our members – you. You have actively participated in our web-based events, signed up for our training initiatives and made your voice heard at our various committees, at Congress and crucially, at our branches and chapters all across the globe.
Much work remains ahead of us. We are hopeful that the impact of the virus will wane considerably in the year ahead.
It is time now for me to hand over the mantle of the Presidency to Ann Ryan Robertson C.Arb FCIArb (United States) – I have every confidence that her ability, vision and leadership in working with central leadership and membership will enable the Institute to continue to forge ahead as the leading global organisation in ADR training, accreditation and development.
Francis Xavier SC PBM C.Arb FCIArb
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