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2011 Conference, Buenos Aires, Argentina


On May 19-20, 2011, ACR and its International Section co-sponsored a special conference in Buenos Aires, Argentina. ACR’s co-sponsors were the Universidad de Ciencias Empresariales y Sociales (“UCES,” a private university headquartered in Buenos Aires) and Consultora Equipo I.M.C.A. (an ADR consulting firm in Buenos Aires). Approximately ninety people attended the conference. In addition to participants from almost every Argentine province, there were participants from the United States, Ecuador, Paraguay, Uruguay, and Chile. The conference took place in an auditorium at UCES, Paraguay 1336, Buenos Aires.

The conference began on the afternoon of May 19 with opening remarks from representatives of all three co-sponsors and a welcoming address from Dra. Elena Highton de Nolasco, Vice President of the Supreme Court of Argentina, who has been responsible for many mediation initiatives in Argentina. Dra. Glady Alvarez, a former appellate court judge who also pioneered mediation in Argentina, gave the opening keynote address, which focused on mediation’s advances in Argentina over the last twenty years.

There were five panels of ADR experts who spoke during the conference:
• Family mediation panel, moderated by Dra. María Alba Aiello de Almeida (Buenos Aires). Speakers: Dr. Luis Méndez, Dra. Viviana Poblete, and Dra. María Elena Caram (all mediators from Buenos Aires).
• Panel on mediation in the Argentine provinces, moderated by Dra. Cristina Camelino (mediator and journalist, La Plata, Province of Buenos Aires). Speakers: Dr. Sergio Abrevaya (president of the Union of Mediators, Deputy in the Buenos Aires Legislature, and former National Director of Participatory Methods of Conflict Resolution of the Argentine Ministry of Justice from 2000 to 2002), Dra. María Inés Diez (Minister of Justice of the Province of Salta), and Dra. Alicia Garayo (mediator from the Province of Neuquén).
• Business/Commercial Mediation Panel, moderated by Dr. Mario de Almeida (mediator, Buenos Aires). Speakers: Dr. Milton Castillo (mediator, Quito, Ecuador), Dra. Norah Mendias Abella (mediator, Buenos Aires), and Dr. Walter Wright (mediator and professor, Central Texas).
• Health and Environmental Mediation Panel, moderated by Dra. Cristina Cavalli (mediator, Buenos Aires). Speakers: Ing. Jorge Adámoli (environmental consultant and independent expert, Buenos Aires), Dra. Clara Gómez (mediator and facilitator, Houston, Texas), and Dra. Nora Franco (mediator, Buenos Aires).
• Arbitration panel, moderated by Dra. Nélida Basabe (arbitrator and mediator, Buenos Aires). Speakers: Dr. Roque Caivano, Dr. Alejandro Ponieman, and Dr. Gualtiero Martín Marchesini (all arbitrators from Buenos Aires).

Dra. Marcela Uthurralt, National Mediation Director of the Argentine Ministry of Justice and Human Rights, spoke about the services her office provides. Dr. Walter Wright provided a closing keynote address on the subject of Collaborative Law, followed by closing remarks from representatives of all three co-sponsors. The conference closed with a sparkling tango show by two fantastic dancers and the singing of famous tango tunes by Dra. Liliana Elizabeth Jorge, a mediator who is also a brilliant singer. She is an excellent ambassador for mediation, especially Argentine mediation, to the rest of the world.

Throughout the conference, Dra. Cristina Camelino, a mediator and journalist, interviewed many of the conference speakers and other participants. She has placed those interviews on You Tube, and here are the links: (Conference overview)
(Dr. José Alejandro Consigli, Dean of the law school at UCES, about the conference in general) (Dra. Glady Alvarez, former appellate judge in Buenos Aires and mediation pioneer, about the progress of mediation in Argentina)
(Dra. Marcela Uthurralt, National Mediation Director of the Argentine Ministry of Justice and Human Rights, about the services her office provides)
(Dr. Walter Wright, mediator from Central Texas, about ACR Virtual International memberships) (Dra. Alicia Garayo, mediator from Province of Neuquén, Argentina, about mediation in the Argentine provinces) (Dra. Clara Gómez, mediator from Houston, Texas, about environmental mediation, including a pilot project in Panama) (Dra. Nora Franco, mediator from Buenos Aires, about mediation of health-related issues) (Dr. Mario de Almeida, mediator from Buenos Aires, about the conference in general) (Dra. Cristina Cavalli, mediator from Buenos Aires, about environmental mediation) (Dra. Viviana Poblete, mediator from Buenos Aires, about family mediation)
(Dra. María Alba Aiello de Almeida, mediator from Buenos Aires, about mediation ethics and the ethics workshop she and Cristina Camelino conducted before and after the conference) (Dra. Norah Mendias Abella, mediator from Buenos Aires, about the use of ADR techniques within organizations)
(Dra. Nélida Basabe, arbitrator/mediator from Buenos Aires, about arbitration)

UCES also recorded excerpts from several of the conference presentations. Here is a list of links to those presentations: [Welcoming remarks from the conference hosts: Dr. José Alejandro Consigli (representing UCES), Walter Wright (representing ACR), and Dr. Mario de Almeida (representing Consultora Equipo I.M.C.A.); also Dra. Elena Highton de Nolasco, Vice President of Supreme Court of Argentina, providing welcoming remarks)] (Family mediation panel) (Mediation in the Argentine provinces panel) (Mediation in the Argentine provinces panel; question-and-answer period) (Business/Commercial Mediation panel) (Health and Environmental Mediation panel) (Arbitration panel) (Keynote speech by Walter Wright on Collaborative Law)

Walter Wright has also made his album of photos on Picasa available to anyone who is interested in seeing photos from the conference. The link is:
Anyone who has questions or comments about the conference is free to contact Walter Wright at

The conference in Buenos Aires generated several new Virtual International Members and full members. We look forward to seeing those new members and all of the friends we made in Buenos Aires at ACR’s conference in San Diego on October 12-15, 2011.