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2018 Spring Conference

May 10-12, 2018

Edinburgh, capital of Scotland, the “Athens of the North”, the centre of the Scottish Enlightenment (an eighteenth century "hotbed of genius"), home of Adam Smith, David Hume, James Hutton and James Clerk Maxwell. Inspiration of the Founding Fathers, UNESCO World Heritage Site. Location of Scotland’s modern and innovative Scottish Parliament (and of Scotland’s Parliament before 1707) and home to Scotland’s supreme courts.

JK Rowling, Alexander McCall Smith, Ian Rankin are just some of Edinburgh’s contemporary writers. Harry Potter was written here. Sir Walter Scott, Robert Burns, Robert Louis Stevenson, Arthur Conan Doyle and many others lived in or are associated with the city. Heart of the contemporary debate about the future of the British constitution. Edinburgh Castle, Mary Queen of Scots, one of the first homes of golf, Old Towns and New Towns, underground city, the list seems endless.

Our theme will be “Looking Outward – Mediation: A New Enlightenment?”. We'll seek to capture the essence of the Edinburgh enlightenment and harness the creativity of new thinking. How can we take mediation forward to enhance the public good? What key developments might inspire us? What more can we learn which will help us to do so?

With a mix of old town and new city activities and locations, we’ll explore a number of topics together. Our headline contributor will be Harvard’s William Ury, of Getting to Yes fame. He will lead a session on the Saturday morning in the Scottish Parliament itself at which we hope (subject to independence referendums and other events!) to be joined by Scotland’s First Minister.

Social activities will include visits to Edinburgh Castle and Parliament House (home of Scotland’s highest courts), and two rather different dinner events. An optional visit to and dinner on the former Royal Yacht Britannia and the inaugural IAM golf tournament are among other planned highlights, along with an extensive menu for pre- and post-Gathering travel in Scotland for those who wish to take advantage of this great opportunity. It’s a truly bonnie country!