#10QuestionswithMaxwell Interview Series: Qiyao Dong, WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
This week’s #10QuestionsWithMaxwell features Qiyao Dong, Associate Legal Officer and Representative of the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center Office in Singapore. She had worked at the office in Geneva for a number of years prior to taking up this position.
Qiyao holds a PhD in Law from Queen Mary University of London, and a Master of Laws with honor from Northwestern Pritzker School of Law. Since joining the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center in Geneva in 2018, Qiyao has administrated a number of WIPO mediation and arbitration proceedings, involving parties from various jurisdictions, e.g. Canada, China, Germany, Japan, Korea, Singapore, Switzerland, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States, etc.
In this interview, Qiyao shared how she took on the role of the representative of the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center Office in Singapore, the most challenging aspect of her job, how she unplugs after work, and more.
Read her full interview below:
Q: Firstly, could you share what WIPO do?
A: WIPO, a self-funding agency of the United Nations with 193 member states, is the global forum for intellectual property (IP) services, policy, information and cooperation. WIPO’s mission is to lead the development of a balanced and effective international IP system that enables innovation and creativity for the benefit of all, including through the provision of mediation and arbitration services.
Q: What makes WIPO different from the other institutions?
A: Being part of WIPO, the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (WIPO Center) is a neutral mediation and arbitration provider, free of any connection to any jurisdiction, law, language or institutional culture. As such, it offers parties a truly neutral dispute resolution forum, with no perceived “home court” advantage for either party.
The WIPO Center is also the only international provider of specialized IP and technology mediation and arbitration. With an international database of over 2,000 outstanding IP and alternative dispute resolution (ADR) specialists and certain IP-specific provisions in the WIPO Rules, the WIPO Center ensures the expertise required in IP and technology transactions.
Q: How did you take on the role of the representative of the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center Office in Singapore?
A: I had the privilege of taking the role of the representative of the WIPO Center in Singapore, the WIPO Center’s only external office, after a number of years at the office in Geneva, which was pivotal to become familiar with WIPO ADR procedures and work. At the same time, I found in Singapore (and Maxwell Chambers) an inspiring and forward-looking mediation and arbitration community which has enabled us to grow further in the dispute resolution space.
Qiyao working at WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center Office in Geneva
Q: What do you think is the most challenging aspect of your job?
A: To encourage parties to think of dispute resolution strategies before they arise, and to consider mediation as a complement to other dispute resolution tools, especially with parties who have not experienced mediation. It is a real challenge – yet most gratifying – to translate the potential of mediation and fluid nature of a mediation process, in its ability to actively involving the parties in designing solutions that go beyond the legal dispute they are facing and address their true interests, in a fully confidential space.
Q: Without sacrificing confidentiality, share with us a memorable mediation/arbitration case you have encountered.
A: Any case where parties reach an agreement reconciling their interests, shaking hands and sometimes even sharing a celebratory meal or drink, is a memorable and fulfilling one and a constant reminder of the tangible impact of our work – and the potential of mediation – on business relationships.
Q: Throughout your career, who was (or were) your biggest inspiration(s)?
A: Although still being in an early stage of my career, I am lucky to have been inspired and encouraged by many people, not only including my parents, supervisors, friends and colleagues who are close to me but also distinguished scholars, leaders and practitioners in law societies and industries whom I know from books.
Q: What’s the best work-related advice you’ve ever received?
A: Do not set a limit for yourself. You are stronger, smarter and more capable than you think.
Q: How do you unplug after work?
A: Sports and music are helpful for me to refresh myself. Before the pandemic, I frequently played badminton and went hiking with friends. However while these activities are reduced due to the COVID-mandated social restrictions, music is playing an increasingly important role in this aspect.
Q: What’s your favourite Singapore food?
A: I very much appreciate the taste of Singaporean cuisine in general. As for my favourite, I would say Laksa.
Q: What do you like about Maxwell Chambers (or Maxwell Chambers Suites)? Share with us your favourite corner(s)!
A: It is a pity that I got limited chance to work physically in Maxwell Chambers due to the pandemic. But I very much look forward to exploring this lovely presence once the situation improves.