The Bi-Annual Symposium on Salient Issues in International Arbitration: International Arbitration in Times of Economic Nationalism
Article from: TDM 4 (2020), in Editorial
A few words by way of introduction to the issues raised by the papers presented within the context of this Symposium held at the American University Washington College of Law Center on International Commercial Arbitration on November 14, 2019. The summary of Björn Arp and Rodrigo Polanco, and the papers themselves presented in this special issue of our media partner TDM, adequately illustrate the substance of the matters addressed in the Symposium.
I would just further emphasize the fascinating atmosphere present in the exchanges between the audience and the speakers in respect of the issues raised during the Symposium.
Those exchanges showed the concerns of speakers and participants that originate in what could be described as the unsatisfactory world situation where global problems urgently requiring global attention and solutions are addressed from exclusively national perspectives. In practice, this national focus often means that the global challenges are not properly addressed at all or that they are primarily viewed from a nationalistic or hyper-nationalistic perspective permeated with short-sighted political considerations. The exchanges held during the Symposium vividly echoed such concerns in ways that perhaps cannot be fully perceived by just reading the papers.
As hinted in the summary of Arp and Polanco, the more recent experience of the pandemic-which was completely unforeseeable and unthinkable at the time of the Symposium-is an eloquent reminder that all areas raising global problems require global solutions attuned to their inherent global nature. In such a world, international arbitration plays an important role in the settlement of disputes that stem from the complexities of global legal and business problems. As shown by its historical development in the last 60 years, the practice of international arbitration is well adapted to these systemic needs for providing neutral, trans-frontier solutions in an efficient and legally sound way. It was for this critical stocktaking and discussion of possible solutions that the Symposium was so important and timely.
I am particularly thankful to all the speakers for their contributions to the elucidation of the above issues from an academic perspective, privileging their objective analysis over exclusively political considerations.
Horacio A Grigera Naón
Center on International Commercial Arbitration
Washington College of Law, American University, Washington DC