On 10th February, the University of Nairobi made history by hosting the first ever National Students Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) Conference at the UoN Towers. The Conference was organized by the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators- Kenya Branch (CIArb-K), in conjunction with the Young Arbiters Society, UON Chapter (YAS-UON), a student run society based at the Faculty of Law which promotes the knowledge and practice of ADR among students.

Themed “reimagining ADR for the leaders of tomorrow,” the Conference attracted over 350 in person delegates and over 700 online participants from virtually all Universities across the Republic and beyond. The Conference was opened by Dr Wilfred Mutubwa F.CIArb C.Arb OGW, the Chairperson CIArb-K followed by opening remarks from Dr Kenneth Wyne Mutuma F.CIArb C.Arb, a senior law lecturer at the University of Nairobi and patron of the club on behalf of  Prof Winifred Kamau, Dean Faculty of Law, who was away on official duty.

It was followed by a keynote address from Mr. Nelson Ashitiva, Founding and Managing Partner at Ashitiva & Co advocates, a top-tier law firm in Kenya who challenged the delegates to dream big and participate in the economic development of the country. The conference then turned to the first panel discussion by experts in the field, namely Dr. Kenneth Wyne Mutuma (Chair Education Committee, CIArb), Simon Ondiek FCIArb (Training & Programs Manager CIArb) and Dr. Victor Lando MCIArb (Dean, Riara University) who spoke about getting started in ADR and moderated by Ms Akoth Aluoch M.CIarb, who was the emcee for the event.

The rest of the panels consisted of and were moderated by students from various Universities who have started their journey in ADR through taking up training, moot competitions in the area, leadership and membership of YAS Chapters as well as authors. The four student panels with 4-5 speakers each, addressed Building Skills and Training in ADR, Personal Branding, Careers & Mentorship in ADR, Challenges and Opportunities in ADR and Strategic Positioning for a domestic & International ADR Practice.

First established at UON, the YAS has spread out its wings, helping more than 7 Universities establish chapters in their campuses in less than a decade. The YAS UON took the lead role in organizing the Conference with the support of CIArb Kenya, who extended their generous support and have pledged to support the Conference on an annual basis.  The conference impacted close to a thousand students, opening them up to a range of career opportunities such as training, mentorship, internship, scholarships, authorship and publication, networking among other opportunities to build valuable skills for the dispute resolution job market. Being an annual event, CIArb-K and the YAS Chapters hope to make it bigger and better by engaging more organizations in the field of ADR.