Many of you will recall that I provided a lengthy reflection on our 2017 activities and accomplishments at about this time last year. My reflection on 2018 will be much shorter - not because we accomplished less last year, but because the circumstances and events that ADRIA focused on in 2018 have significantly altered the trajectory of both our profession and our organization.
Let's start with advocacy and the advancement of ADR practices in Alberta. The 2018 Alberta ADR Symposium was many years in the making. It represented a broad partnership of Government and Non-Profit ADR interests that banded together to host a serious dialogue about ADR practices and acceptance. As we had hoped, the Symposium attracted a broad range of participants, and meaningful feedback emerged with which to drive future decision making. ADRIA provided much of the energy and resources for this Symposium and, true to form, ADRIA members were front and centre in all of the discussions. Our own Tammy Borowiecki alone deserves much of the credit for the Symposium's success. Exceptional speakers covered a wide range of interests, and the Tamarack Foundation led us through the concepts of collective impact and a common agenda. The work of the Symposium continues, and we are hopeful that a lasting and progressive legacy will emerge. Certainly the level and nature of discussions between the Government of Alberta (GOA), ADRIA and other ADR Non-profits has intensified, and new opportunities are emerging. The Courts will soon trial, and hopefully reinstate, mandatory pre-trial ADR. Discussions with the GOA Dispute Resolution Network (GOA/DRN), and the work of our ADRIA Task Force on Training & Designation Standards, will soon encourage a greater degree of skills integration within the ADR community, higher standards, and more opportunities to access GOA rosters, practicums and employment.
How has our organization evolved? Growing enrolment at Concordia, and in our own ADR classroom, prompted the need to find larger premises last summer. Relocating an office and developing our own educational space were not small undertakings, but the move to South Edmonton has been well received by the staff and membership alike. Smart investments in furnishings and technology have provided ADRIA's learners with an exceptional training environment, well suited to the unique needs of our profession. Our Board of Directors was also renewed in 2018 through the addition of three engaged Directors, each representing a unique sector of the ADR spectrum. Finally, through the collective efforts of several ADRIA Board members and many others, a renewed Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between ADR Canada and the seven Regional Affiliates across Canada will soon be in effect. Signing the MOU will significantly enhance our ability to work collaboratively as a Federation, and advance ADR practices across the country.
2019 has kicked off with new premises, new opportunities, new Board and staff members, a new Federation MOU, classrooms full of learners, and a renewed sense of "we're heading in the right direction". You are invited to take an active role in your professional association: assist in our advocacy efforts, support ADRIA's networking and learning events, and/or develop your professional skills. I outlined many of these opportunities in last month's Newsletter, so I again invite you to explore your options, get engaged, and to send me a note on any subject at any time: email@example.com
February is a cold, cold month, but the year ahead is looking really bright!
- Paul Conway, Executive Director
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