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SCIA President Liu Xiaochun’s Remarks on the 2021 Commencement Ceremony

Dr. LIU Xiaochun
President of the Shenzhen Court of International Arbitration (SCIA)

Honorable Dean McConnaughay, Dean Lehman, faculty members, distinguished guests and dear STL graduates of the Class of 2021,

Good afternoon!

It is my great honor to attend today’s commencement ceremony of STL, to share with you my view of STL, the unique law school in China and even in the world.

Thirteen years ago, some questions came into my mind. On October 22th, 2008, I was invited to gather some PKU alumni based in Greater Bay Area to attend the Launching Ceremony of STL. I was impressed that many famous scholars, senior judges and government officials from China, US and other countries also attended the ceremony. In that event, I heard from the former Chancellor Professor Hai Wen and the founding Dean of STL, Professor Lehman, that STL offers both US law and Chinese law education to the students. It was a great innovation with great ambition to cultivate transnational legal talents with international vision and global competitiveness for China. I was excited to hear the idea, but in the meantime, there were some doubts in my mind: how to teach both civil law and common law to the freshmen who have no legal education background? Can this innovation of law school education meet the demands of legal practice in China and beyond? These are two big questions that should cost years to find the answers. And now, I have the answers, mainly through two ways.

The first way is the long-time interactions and collaborations with the faculties of STL.

On June 16th, 2012, I invited Dean Lehman and many faculties of STL to attend the Unveiling Ceremony of the new name of South China International Economic and Trade Arbitration Commission, that is the Shenzhen Court of International Arbitration, which we call SCIA. Dean Lehman delivered an inspiring speech.

On April 2nd, 2014, Dean McConnaughay, and Judge D. Brooks Smith, the Judge of the US Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit together visited the SCIA hearing center in Qianhai.

On April 10th, 2015, Dean McConnaughay was invited to attend the Establishment Forum of China Free Trade Zone Arbitration Alliance initiated by the SCIA. You can see that Professor Man Yunlong and other professors also attended the event.

On October 26th, 2016, Professor Peter Malanczuk, Director Zhang Chenli and other lecturers and students of STL attended the new SCIA Arbitration Rules launching ceremony.

On March 20th, 2017, I was invited by Dean McConnaughay to attend the Opening Ceremony of the STL building.

On June 29th, 2017, Professor Peter Malanczuk, who served as a Council member of SCIA since 2013 and Professor Mark Feldman, delivered speeches of the 8TH China Law and Business Forum held by SCIA, focusing on “the Belt & Road Initiative: Chinese Enterprises and Investment Arbitration”.

On June 27th, 2018, Professor Mark Feldman attended the SCIA arbitrator training event in New York and moderated the Seminar on the topic “Is Chinese International Arbitration Impartial?”

On October 23th, 2018, Professor Peter Malanczuk participated in the launching of the SCIA-JAMS joint Panel of Arbitrators.

Furthermore, 8 STL professors are included in the SCIA Panel of Arbitrators. They are: Prof. Peter Malanczuk, Dean Philip McConnaughay, Prof. Carole Basri, Prof. Francis Snyder, Prof. Mark Feldman, Prof. Stephen Yandle, Prof. Douglas Levene and Prof. Susan Finder.

From the above, I got to know more and more that the faculties of STL not only devoted to teaching on campus, but also actively got involved in the legal community in China and have made great contributions to the development of Chinese international arbitration. By this way, I believe that their global visions and local experiences help the STL student a lot, to meet the requirements of Chinese transnational legal practice.

The second way is the interactions with the excellent students of STL through the past years.

Maybe you know, currently we have 7 graduates of STL who are working in SCIA now. They work in different departments and all have done a good job, such as case management, ADR research, cross border mediation, and international arbitration cooperation. (One of them is among you today, Flora Chi, graduated in 2016, now is a legal counsel and in charge of Greater Bay Area Arbitration Cooperation.)

Maybe you also know, SCIA has maintained a long-standing internship program with STL. According to my knowledge, there are at least 40 STL on-campus students who once had internships in SCIA. Also some of my colleagues were invited by STL to judge the moot court competitions over the years, sharing international arbitration experiences with the students.

I am so proud to see that SCIA has become the first place for some STL students to get international dispute resolution experience and practice law. As a PKU alumnus, I am so proud for the excellent performance of STL students.

By the two ways’ interactions, I not only got the answers for the above mentioned two questions, but also believe that, because of you and the other graduates, STL is far beyond my expectations at the time of the launching of such a transnational law school 13 years ago.

While celebrating the achievement of STL, there is a group of people that we should give special thanks. The former Chancellor Professor Hai Wen, The founding Dean Lehman, the former Dean Yandle, Dean McConnaughay, and all other faculties of STL, it is your perseverance and dedication to the school that lead to the great success. Thank you for cultivating transnational legal talents for China and abroad, which indeed help promote the rule of law in China. I suggest all the graduates and guests today give a big plaud to all the faculties of STL!

Now comes to today’s most important moment.

Dear STL graduates, Congratulations! All of you have passed the most burdened and difficult four-year law school education in China and prove the success of the innovation of legal education in STL. You should applaud for yourself at this moment.

Last but not least, I am very very happy to share the picture of the SCIA International Arbitration Tower located in Qianhai, which maybe the first international arbitration tower in the world. It is expected to open at the end of this year. Welcome you all to SCIA!

Thank you all!