Message from Professor Gaillard

Emmanuel Gaillard

MESSAGE FROM PROFESSOR GAILLARD,
OUTGOING PRESIDENT OF THE ARBITRATION ACADEMY

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Paris, 17 January 2014

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As my three-year tenure as President of the Arbitration Academy comes to a close, I can now look back with ample perspective on what has been achieved in that time. I do so with an extraordinary sense of pride and accomplishment. Since its inception in 2011, the Arbitration Academy has not only managed to achieve the goals set by its founders; it has surpassed those goals to become, in its own right, an institution in the field of international arbitration. This has only been possible through the remarkable and relentless work of the Academy’s other founding members, including Yas Banifatemi, Alexandre Hory, Jean-Georges Betto, Marie-Elodie Ancel, Jean-Baptiste Racine, Carole Malinvaud and Philippe Leboulanger.

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The Arbitration Academy was created as the embodiment of a fundamental, yet ground-breaking idea: the establishment of a forum for the study of advanced theoretical concepts in international arbitration, taught by outstanding faculty hailing from all corners of the globe. This idea was by no means a novel one; it had been conceived by the late Philippe Fouchard in the 1990s, at a time when the conditions necessary for its implementation had not yet materialized. In the years that followed, specialized programs were developed by academic institutions across Europe and practical courses were launched by arbitral institutions for practitioners in the field. As the field of international arbitration continued to develop, raising new challenges at an ever faster pace, Professor Fouchard’s idea was finally brought to fruition in 2011, through Alexandre Hory, one of Professor Fouchard’s former pupils.

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In implementing this core idea, the Academy’s founders looked to the Hague Academy of International Law as an inspirational model. Thus, a three-week curriculum was developed with a structure comparable to that of the Hague Academy, including: one general course covering the full field (alternating between commercial and investment arbitration topics); five or six special courses offered in relation to contemporary or particularly challenging issues; and specialized institutional workshops designed to promote a better understanding of arbitral institutions’ work. For the latter workshops, our policy has been to secure the participation of three institutions each year: the ICC and ICSID, who have participated every year on a permanent basis, and a third guest institution which differs from year to year. Bookending this curriculum are the now-traditional Inaugural Lecture and Berthold Goldman Lecture, both of which are given by leading figures of international arbitration. The curriculum also includes the Laureate of the Academy Prize, a competition honoring the best essay on a compulsory topic of international arbitration. Through this structure, the Academy’s students have enjoyed access to a wide variety of international arbitration subjects, schools of thought, theories and practices.

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One of the Academy’s most extraordinary achievements has been its ability to attract an international faculty of the highest caliber. A simple glance at the faculty rosters from 2011 to 2013 shows just how privileged we have been to be able to count on all of the leading figures in the field. We have also made a conscious effort to cultivate diversity among the faculty, exposing the Academy’s students to approaches and schools of thought not only from the Western world, but also from Africa, Asia and Latin America.

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Further noteworthy achievements are evident in the strength and diversity of the Academy’s student body. We have managed to attract students from among the best institutions worldwide, with 195 admitted candidates from 69 countries in 2011, 188 admitted candidates from 74 countries in 2012, and 112 admitted candidates from 67 countries in 2013. Our student body has not only been diverse geographically, but also in terms of background and experience: we have attracted researchers in the field at the doctoral level, students enrolled in other graduate programs, seasoned practitioners and a number of State representatives (e.g., from the judiciary or other public institutions). This result could not have been achieved without the Academy’s sponsors, whose contributions enable about 20 admitted students to attend the Courses with a scholarship each year. It also bears noting that beginning in 2013, we have made a conscious effort to limit the number of participants so as to create a more optimal learning dynamic in the classroom.

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As a result of the multi-dimensional diversity of its student body, the Academy has become an important networking platform for the younger generations of international arbitration specialists. For example, former students routinely interact through Agora, the communication platform created on the Academy’s Website, to exchange news, events and ideas in the field of international arbitration. The development of the Academy’s network is also strengthened by the work of its ambassadors – former students who, each year, efficiently advertise the Academy’s projects and news in the main academic and professional institutions of their countries of origin.

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In this context, the importance of the Arbitration Academy’s location cannot be overlooked. Students accepted into the program have the opportunity to spend three weeks in Paris, one of the most active (and attractive) cities in the world. Paris is not only a major cultural and business center, it is also the capital of international arbitration. It is often-chosen as the seat by parties, given its advantages as a jurisdiction with world-renowned expertise in the field of arbitration, the presence of numerous specialized law firms and the logistic advantages of a well-connected and modern capital city. Thanks to the strong connections that the Arbitration Academy has established with many of the professional and academic institutions in Paris, the courses are held at a variety of locations – namely, Paris 2 Panthéon-Assas University, Sciences Po Law School, the Thomson-Reuters conference center, the premises of the World Bank in Paris and the ICC Headquarters. The Inaugural Lecture and Berthold Goldman Lecture, both of which are followed by a social event, are held at the Paris Court of Appeal and Cercle de l’Union Interalliée respectively, with the opportunity, during these events, for the Academy’s students to create contacts with established players in the field.

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Finally, as one of the purposes of the Arbitration Academy is to promote knowledge of international arbitration as a discipline, we have made accessible on the Academy’s Website videos of the Inaugural and Goldman Lectures. The value of this initiative has been borne out by the several thousand views and downloads the published videos have had.

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We have also launched the “Collected Courses of the International Academy for Arbitration Law”, a publication of past Academy Courses that is freely accessible from the Academy’s Website. Professor Sachs’ Course at the 2011 Session inaugurates this collection. It will be followed by other Courses and Lectures given between 2011 and 2013, which will be included in the collection as and when they become available in written form. It is our hope that this initiative will allow the broader audience of international arbitration community members who did not have an opportunity to attend past Sessions of the Academy to nonetheless benefit from the teachings of the Academy’s faculty.

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To summarize, the wonderful success of the Arbitration Academy is, at its essence, a tribute to the collective efforts of the Academy’s Board, the extraordinary quality and prestige of the Academy’s faculty, and the excellence of our widely international student corpus. As I leave my directorial role at the Academy, along with Yas Banifatemi and Alexandre Hory, the two former Secretaries General, we entrust the institution to a very competent team, as the Academy’s Board recently elected Professor Pierre Mayer as the Academy’s new President for the three coming years, with Professor Jean-Baptiste Racine and Dr. Eduardo Silva Romero to act as the new Secretaries General for the same period of time. We give them our full support and wish them and the Academy every success in the years to come.

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Emmanuel Gaillard