ASIA ADR WEEK 2020 – ADR in a Kaleidoscope: Beyond What Meets the Eye
When Elton John sang “the twisting kaleidoscope moves us all in turn”, there is perhaps little chance he was thinking about commerce and dispute resolution. Yet the metaphor is starkly applicable. The kaleidoscope takes us all back to our past: a toy to transform the mundane mechanical to a splash of infinite and vivid patterns. Taken apart, the coloured pieces are themselves of little value, but when put together, a single twist creates infinite and constantly transforming patterns. It is a tool which translates the occupation of the hand to pleasures of the eye.
The changes in ADR are as fast-paced as the changing visions in a kaleidoscope. Throughout its evolution, the naked eye has so far viewed commercial interests of efficiency and cost as the primary drivers. However, the future will require a perspective that understands how the other coloured pieces oft-overlooked: the social, political and the economical interplay with the commercial to create meaningful and ever-changing patterns. Although the patterns are new, they use the same pieces over and over again. It becomes critical therefore to look at the arrangement of the pieces themselves, and how they can be placed and rotated to engineer a vision that is acceptable.
At Asia ADR Week 2020, AIAC’s emblematic triangle hopes to be the eye piece where we move away from a myopic emphasis on procedure and enforcement, to a kaleidoscopic vision of a diversity and sustainability.
Mark Twain strongly believed that there are no new ideas: we simply put the old ones in a mental kaleidoscope and give them a turn until they make curious combinations. Political events in the West which may push parties to look East, the dismantling of the ISDS Era, or the push for diversity in arbitration can only be understood by appreciating their larger context of similar changes in national priorities and society. By acknowledging these changes, the discussion will map their impact of 21st-century values on private justice, and how the community of institutions, arbitrators and practitioners, akin to the hand that twists the kaleidoscope, can act together to create a beautiful vision for the future.
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