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Experts from around the world discuss international arbitration in Africa at Penn State Law event

“The Future of International Arbitration in Africa” was the topic of the the third annual Penn State International Arbitration Day, held March 11 in Washington, D.C.
Penn State International Arbitration Day

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – Leading arbitration practitioners and scholars from around the world gathered in Washington, D.C., on March 11 for a discussion on “The Future of International Arbitration in Africa” at the third annual Penn State International Arbitration Day.

The daylong event, organized by the Penn State International Arbitration Group, was held at the Washington offices of Greenberg Traurig LLP and sponsored by the American Society of International Law, Greenberg Traurig LLP, Penn State Law, and the Penn State School of International Affairs.

As Africa’s economies have grown over the past decade, the continent has seen a spike in foreign investment and, with it, an increase in the number of international disputes going to arbitration. Africa has a rich history of alternative dispute resolution, and several African countries have been modernizing their arbitration regimes in recent years based on the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) Model Law.

These issues and others were the topics several panel discussions and the conference’s keynote address by Edward W. Fasholé-Luke II, an international arbitrator from Botswana. Luke, an attorney with Luke and Associates in Gaborone, Botswana, provided an overview of international arbitration from the perspective of an Africa-based arbitrator.

The conference also featured panel discussions on:

  • The Legacy of the Eritrea-Ethiopia Claims Commission,
  • The Institutions and Practice of International Commercial Arbitration in Africa,
  • Structural Challenges for Dispute Resolution in Africa: Culture, Diversity, and Development, and
  • Foreign Investment and Investment Arbitration in Africa.

“Our students did an incredible job organizing a rich and compelling program on a rapidly changing topic at the forefront of international arbitration scholarship and practice,” said Catherine Rogers, the Paul and Marjorie Price Faculty Scholar at Penn State Law and a panelist at the event.  “The conference brought together a diverse and remarkable group of scholars and attorneys, all of whom helped advance the discussion on the important issue of international arbitration in Africa.”

“Greenberg Traurig was very pleased to host this year’s Penn State International Arbitration Day, particularly given its focus on Africa, an important and growing geographical region in the world of international arbitration,” said Thomas R. Snider, an international arbitration specialist at Greenberg Traurig and moderator of one of the panels.  “The Penn State students are commended for their initiative and hard work in making this event a reality.” 

In addition to Luke, Rogers, and Snider, the list of speakers, panelists, and moderators included:

  • Amaka Megwalu Anku, Dilikam Advisors, LLC
  • David A. Baron, Greenberg Traurig LLP
  • Perry Bechky, International Trade & Investment Law PLLC; Co-Chair ASIL Dispute Resolution Interest Group
  • Deborah Brautigam, Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies
  • John Crook, George Washington University Law School
  • Joseph M. DeThomas, Penn State School of International Affairs
  • Amina Dzano, Penn State International Law Group
  • Uché Ewelukwa, University of Arkansas School of Law
  • Chiara Giorgetti, University of Richmond School of Law
  • Aurélie Huet, Huet Law International
  • Jude Kearney, Greenberg Traurig LLP
  • Jackson Kern, Addis Law Group
  • Won Kidane, Seattle University Law School; Addis Law Group
  • Alexandra A.K. Meise, Foley Hoag LLP
  • Sean D. Murphy, George Washington University Law School; UN International Law Commission
  • Kenneth K. Mwenda, American University Washington College of Law
  • Reta Alemu Nega, Ethiopian Embassy
  • Tolu Obamuroh, Lagos Court of Arbitration; Penn State Law S.J.D. Candidate
  • Leyou Tameru, I-Arb Africa
  • Curtis B. Toll, Greenberg Traurig LLP; Penn State Law Board of Advisers

The Penn State International Arbitration Group was founded in October 2014 to provide a platform for interaction between practitioners, academics, and students on current issues in the practice of international arbitration. Its membership comprises J.D., LL.M., and S.J.D. students and the group seeks to partner with other law schools, arbitral institutions, and law firms in exposing its members to the practice of international arbitration.

The first Penn State International Arbitration Day was held in November 2014 at Penn State Law in University Park. In 2015, the event was held at White & Case LLP in New York City, and was co-sponsored with White & Case and the Columbia Law School Center for International Commercial Arbitration.

See below for links to the recordings of the event introduction, the keynote speaker, and each of the panel discussions. 

Either a PC with Firefox or a Mac with Safari is required to view these videos. You may be required to install or update Silverlight.

View a slideshow of the event below.


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