Big win for Great Zimbabwe University in Chicago, USA
Three students from Great Zimbabwe University’s Herbert Chitepo Law School, Blissful Dzimiri, Kudakwashe Muzenda and Ivy Madzivo raised the University, the national and the African flag high on Saturday, 12 March, when they took third place out of 51 teams at the Annual International Mediation Tournament held at the Chicago Law School of Loyola University in the United States of America from 8-12 March 2016.
Despite being the first and only University from Africa to have participated at the tournament since its launch 15 years ago, the three students from the Herbert Chitepo Law School were quality and superior competition and deservedly took home the third place ahead of 49 other teams of law students from universities from countries such as Australia, Great Britain, New Zealand, Canada, Germany and the United States of America.
Every year the International Academy of Dispute Resolution sponsors an International Law School Mediation Tournament. Participation in these tournaments continues to increase every year, especially the participation of international schools. Law schools from Canada, Great Britain, and Germany regularly attend. And for this first time Herbert Chitepo Law School of Great Zimbabwe University represented the continent of Africa.
This year, more than 400 students, mediators, professors, and attorneys participated in the four-day international mediation skills tournament, where students had the opportunity to practice their skills both as mediators and as advocates in a cross-cultural setting. This year 51 teams from every continent participated at the tournament.
At the tournament, students played the role of mediator, advocate and client in each round. Respected mediators and attorneys who advocate at mediations served as judges for the tournament.
“The wonderful thing about this competition is seeing the world’s future lawyers learning to view legal disputes in terms of problem solving,” said Teresa Frisbie, director of Loyola’s Dispute Resolution Program. “As part of the competition, students learn to communicate productively with decision makers from other cultures, and to generate options for creative solutions that can offer both parties a satisfying outcome beyond what a court or other tribunal might impose.”
The popularity of mediation, a voluntary, non-binding process where a neutral mediator facilitates a negotiation between disputing parties, is growing internationally because it offers an alternative to the delays, expense, corruption, and damage to business and family relationships that may be involved in court proceedings.
The tournament included mediation and mediation advocacy training, a cross-cultural programme with international faculty and the Association for Conflict Resolution and tours of Chicago.
The students, who were accompanied to the tournament by the Dean of the Herbert Chitepo Law School, Mr Victor Nkiwane and their coach, Mr Tawanda Zvobgo, returned home on Monday, 14 March. They were at a loss words when asked to describe their experience. All they could say was “the experience was awesome”. They received two trophies and individual shields for excelling at the tournament.
The Vice Chancellor, Professor Rungano Jonas Zvobgo described the achievement by the University as “amazing. Truly amazing”.