On the 13th and 14th of September 2014, Veronika Vanisova and Michaela Hermanova landed in Brisbane. After a long journey (Michaela’s flight took off on September 11 and landed just after Australia had raised its terror threat warning) the girls embarked on a tour of South Bank the main cultural precinct in Brisbane, and also tried their first meat pie an Australian staple that is apparently not available in the Czech Republic! Both students at Charles University Prague, Michaela and Veronika are embarking on a study tour of Australia seeking to gain an understanding of how ADR operates in Australia how it can be integrated into the Czech Legal System.
Over the next few weeks we will be working to create materials that educate and inform. To aid in our understanding of ADR we will be meeting with legal practitioners who are considered experts in their field. Interacting with these experts will be an invaluable experience and one I am most looking forward to. So far the response to mandatory ADR in the Czech Republic has been negative, to counter this Veronika and Michaela are seeking to develop ADR in the Czech Republic at a grass roots level, starting with primary students and working their way up to the legal profession. Within the Czech Republic the judiciary is reluctant to recommend it as a method for conflict resolution. In this regard Veronika and Michaela are pioneers and representative of a wave of young people all around the globe seeking to positively impact the world around them. The hope is that the materials Michaela and Veronika are preparing will create a culture shift in the way ADR is thought about in the Czech Republic, and promote non-adversarial practice as a viable method for resolving disputes.
All conflicts whether big or small arise both out of a failure to listen and a failure to understand. When people feel like their needs are not being adequately addressed they turn to conflict, this is true for conflicts both domestic and international. Over the next few weeks I am looking forward to learning more about the Czech Republic and how what we do in Australia in terms of ADR can be applied to the Czech Republic and vice versa.