On December 14, 2019, the “Mediators Association of Georgia” was founded for the first time in the country, and December 14 was declared as the professional day of the mediator. This week the Mediation Week is being celebrated in Georgia for the third time.
GEORGIA TODAY interviewed the Chairman of the Mediators Association of Georgia, Mr. Irakli Kandashvili.
How would you evaluate the past three years for the profession?
Mediation is a new word in Georgian reality, it is a truly unprecedented reform in the last decade, which allows the parties in dispute to resolve the conflict between themselves. The past three years were full of challenges and difficulties for the newly founded association and the profession, although it can be boldly said that the profession and Georgian mediators coped with all the challenges and difficulties with dignity. We were able to take many effective steps in this short period of time, which will become a prerequisite for the further development of the profession. I am glad that all the steps taken during these years were aimed at the development of the profession and its future.
What would you highlight in the activities?
The introduction of a new profession and its institutional recognition simultaneously require a solid infrastructural arrangement of the organization, as well as increasing awareness and gaining credibility in society. During these three years, we have taken equally effective steps in the mentioned direction, in particular, Georgian mediators already have a working environment in the form of an office. We were able to develop, with the involvement of foreign experts, European standards for entry into the profession, which on the one hand leads to public confidence in the qualifications of persons in the profession, as well as developed a code of professional ethics and the rules for disciplinary proceedings based on European standards, and agreed on the mandatory annual professional development training courses for mediators, who will be retrained every year and their activities will be based on ethical standards. We introduced an online remote platform for mediation, which was a correct and effective step in the development of the profession in time and space against the background of the global pandemic.
Mediation is the only dispute resolution mechanism that allows parties to be able to reach a mutually beneficial agreement tailored to each other’s interests
The priority for the association is to increase awareness of mediation in society, and in this direction about 50 memorandums of mutual cooperation have been signed with representatives of various public and private sectors, with the support of which the process of development and establishment of mediation in Georgia will continue successfully. Among them, it is a priority for us to introduce the teaching of mediation as an alternative dispute mechanism in secondary and higher education institutions, and we can proudly say that from September 2021, mediation has already been introduced in the textbooks of ninth grade students, mediation is taught as a compulsory subject in three universities, and it has become an optional subject in law faculties of almost all universities. With the support of the United States Agency for International Development, we introduced the very important annual international forum “Mediation for Business” and “Mediation for Lawyers”, and therefore every year specialists in this field will have a platform where they can learn about the latest news and practices in the field of mediation. This year, for the first time, the professional oath ceremony of new mediators entering the profession took place on December 14, the professional day.
What characterizes mediation and distinguishes it from other dispute resolution mechanisms?
Mediation is the only dispute resolution mechanism that allows the parties, considering each other, to be able to and reach a mutually beneficial agreement tailored to each other’s interests. With the development of mediation, the culture of reasonable dialogue and social peace is introduced in Georgia.
I will take advantage of your newspaper and once again congratulate each mediator on their professional day and wish them professional success, development, remember that behind us is the good reputation, credibility and collective reputation of the profession and that the professional activity of each of us today is the tomorrow of the mediator profession!