October 24, 1997, Geneva, Switzerland
Mr. Michael Hoellering
President, International Federation of Commercial Arbitration Institutions (IFCAI)
General Counsel, American Arbitration Association (AAA)
New York, United States of America
It is my great pleasure to welcome you, on behalf of the International Federation of Commercial Arbitration Institutions (IFCAI), to this fourth biennial IFCAI Conference.
We are privileged that this program is being held here in Geneva, under the auspices of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), a city so richly endowed with the history of international commercial arbitration, and an institution whose Arbitration and Mediation Center, in so short a time, has earned the high regard of the international arbitration community. We are most grateful to WIPO, and the Swiss Arbitration Association (ASA), for their support of this Conference and of the Federations organizational mission.
Those who have attended prior IFCAI conferences know that they are stimulating events, but also works in progress. In Cairo, the focus was on that region of the world and the role of arbitral organizations in facilitating a fair and effective arbitration process. In Milan, we were admonished that arbitral institutions must help settle disputes effectively, and to the same standards of efficiency as are applied to other business transactions. Administering institutions were counseled to seek feedback from their users and periodically review their internal processes with a view to constant improvement. The discussions in Hong Kong focused on the harmonization and globalization of the basic notions in international arbitration. We departed with a sense of the commonality of basic values, the importance of supportive national judicial institutions, and the need for freedom and flexibility to accommodate diversity. Today, in the spirit of Milan, we will address the further evolution of arbitration rules, recent institutional reforms, and consider some judicial perspectives.
I need not remind so sophisticated an audience of practitioners, arbitrators, administrators and jurists that achieving consistently effective transnational dispute resolution is not a solitary exercise. We very much hope need your feedback, constructive criticisms, and innovative ideas. It is only with your help and active participation in these discussions that the efforts of the arbitral institutions to provide disputing parties with the best possible dispute resolution services will be fully realized.