The Young ICCA Mentoring Programme, the world’s first, largest and most prestigious mentoring programme in the international arbitration community, held its inaugural end-of-cycle retreat in Paris from December 14-16, 2023.  The vibrant gathering brought together participants from eleven countries, showcasing its global reach.


Young ICCA, functioning under the auspices of ICCA and recognized as the premier global arbitration network in knowledge and skills for young practitioners, launched its Mentoring Programme in 2011.  This programme offers Young ICCA Members the opportunity to be mentored in small groups by eminent arbitration specialists, with the assistance of an established young practitioner that serves as “group advisor”.  The Mentoring Programme, currently in its 10th and 11th cycles, follows a two-year cycle format.


The Mentoring Programme has been instrumental in providing young practitioners direct access to experienced practitioners and arbitrators, allowing them to gain invaluable industry insights and knowledge, hone their skills, and forge meaningful professional relationships.  Each mentoring group is carefully composed to reflect diversity in gender, geography, race, cultures, and legal systems.  This deliberate inclusivity exposes mentees to a nuanced spectrum of viewpoints, cultivating a comprehensive understanding of the intricately interwoven global fabric that defines the international arbitration landscape.  Through these efforts, the Mentoring Programme nurtures the future generations of international arbitration practitioners.


The retreat, conceived by Professor Pierre Tercier (Honorary Professor at the University of Fribourg and the Young ICCA Committee member who oversees the Mentoring Programme), offered a unique opportunity to analyse key international arbitration topics, while fostering professional development, global networking, and cultural understanding.  ICCA’s President, Stanimir Alexandrov, perfectly captured the essence of the retreat in his opening remarks, setting a motivational tone for the event.  Set in Paris, the retreat unfolded against the beautiful backdrop of a city renowned for its global arbitration prominence and as the home of the International Chamber of Commerce.


The 2023 retreat was organized for the outgoing mentees and group advisors of the 9th cycle (2022-2023) and featured a fireside chat and three panel discussions, in which participants presented on specific subtopics and Young ICCA office holders served as moderators.  Interspersed with these substantive events, various social activities provided participants with a conducive platform to jointly reflect on their two-year mentorship journeys, and offered opportunities to connect with distinguished members of the French arbitration community and judiciary.


The first panel discussion, hosted at the offices of White & Case LLP, explored the impact of artificial intelligence on international arbitration.  Participants exchanged with Michael Polkinghorne (White & Case LLP) and Shirin Gurdova (Derains & Gharavi) on the potential of AI to enhance justice, its associated risks, and the laws or guidelines governing its use in different jurisdictions.


The second panel discussion at the ICC headquarters started with a lively fireside chat between Alexander Fessas (Secretary General of the ICC), and Professor Tercier (who is also Honorary Chairman of the ICC International Court of Arbitration), who reflected on the ICC’s adoption of its Centenary Declaration on Dispute Prevention and Resolution.  Hjordis Birna Hjartardottir (ICC Counsel), Dimitra Tsakiri (ICC Deputy Counsel) and Peter Rižnik (Rižnik Disputes) then discussed with the participants the pros and cons of administered arbitrations, including the effect of standardized procedural rules on the efficiency and fairness of administered arbitrations, the benefits of scrutiny and other supervisory processes in institutional awards, and the impact of mandatory institutional rules on party autonomy.


The final panel discussion, held at Gide Loyrette Nouel, delved into cultural differences in international arbitration, featuring Carole Malinvaud and Sacha Willaume (Gide Loyrette Nouel) and Julio Rivera Ríos (Debevoise & Plimpton).  Participants examined the significant influence of culture on aspects such as drafting awards, examining witnesses and experts, and managing settlements.


The retreat concluded with a farewell brunch, where past and present Young ICCA Mentoring Co-Directors Peter Rižnik, Courtney Furner (LALIVE) and Julio Rivera Ríos, alongside the Young ICCA Co-Chairs, represented by Shirin Gurdova, honoured Professor Tercier for his tireless contributions to the programme since its inception. Professor Tercier’s dedication to mentoring international arbitration practitioners and students of all walks of life embodies the core values of the Mentoring Programme and serves as a driving force behind the retreat’s success. 


The retreat provided a unique opportunity for the Mentoring Programme participants not only to deepen their theoretical understanding and practical knowledge of international arbitration, but also to strengthen their ties within the arbitration community.  The retreat paid tribute to the pivotal role that human connection plays in international arbitration, and brought to fruition what Professor Tercier described and champions as the continuation of “the mentoring chain”, which seeks to cultivate the next generation of arbitration leaders.


With the remarkable success of its inaugural edition, the retreat will continue to be held every year, to celebrate the conclusion of each mentoring cycle.


Applications for the Mentoring Programme open in July and close in September of each year. For more information on the Mentoring Programme, visit the Young ICCA website.


Mentoring Retreat




The 2023 Young ICCA Mentoring Programme Retreat was organised by Professor Pierre Tercier (University of Fribourg), the Young ICCA Mentoring Programme Co-Directors Courtney Furner (LALIVE) and Julio Rivera Ríos (Debevoise & Plimpton), and the Young ICCA Co-Chair Shirin Gurdova (Derains & Gharavi).  This event was supported by the Young ICCA Committee members Mohamed S. Abdel Wahab (University of Cairo), Samaa Haridi (King & Spalding) and Yoshimi Ohara (Nagashima Ohno & Tsunematsu), former Young ICCA Mentoring Programme Co-Director Peter Riznik (Riznik Disputes), Young ICCA Co-Chair Rohit Bahat (Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer), and former Young ICCA Co-Chair Maanas Jain (Paul Hastings).


Participants of the 2023 Young ICCA Mentoring Programme Retreat included:

  • Alejandro Rebollo Ornelas (Ministry of Economy, Mexico)

  • Alisa Protasova (Squire Patton Boggs)

  • Bahar Şahin (Arche Law & Consultancy)

  • Ivan Yavnych (Winston & Strawn)

  • Juan Camilo Jiménez Valencia (Hanotiau & van den Berg)

  • Luka Marosiuk (Stankovic & Partners)

  • Pawel Hajduk (Ligit)

  • Piotr Wilinski (Linklaters and Erasmus University)

  • Raquel Macedo (King’s College London)

  • Sarah Schröder (Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton)

  • Sunita P. Advani (Mr Michael Lee of Twenty Essex)

  • Vitor Vieira (Alston & Bird)

  • Zil Shah (GE Renewable Energy)

  • Derya Durlu Gürzumar (University of Neuchâtel)

  • Fui Tsikata (Reindorf Chambers).


Reporting by Sunita Advani (Arbitral Assistant to Mr Michael Lee of Twenty Essex) and Zil Shah (GE Renewable Energy).