Law-Asia’s mission is to encourage scholarly communication between the faculty and students of Georgetown and their counterparts in East Asia; to focus the academic strengths of the Georgetown law and foreign policy faculty on legal issues arising out of Asia’s growing economic power; to ensure that Georgetown’s graduates will be equipped to practice competently and ethically in a global context shared with the nations of East Asia; and to make its expertise in law, legal pedagogy and foreign policy available to coming generations of US and Asian lawyers and policy makers.
Asia, the world's most populous region, is of crucial importance to the United States. U.S. trade with Asia has surpassed its trade with all of Europe, both East and West, for a decade now; and the Asian lead is growing. Beyond the economic realm, Asian countries have become indispensable partners in the solution of the major international problems of the post-Cold War era, including international security, environment, economic development, arms control, nuclear proliferation, human rights, and refugee flows.
The growing interdependence between the U.S. and Asia has brought about much greater interaction for lawyers in both the public and private sectors. Increasingly, U.S. Government officials work closely with their Asian counterparts to achieve greater harmonization of law and policy in matters such as international trade, foreign direct investment, intellectual property, and competition. In the private sector, American lawyers are far more likely now than a decade ago to be dealing with Asians as clients, negotiating partners or adversaries, both in the United States and abroad.
Unfortunately, most Americans in both the public and private sectors remain poorly equipped to respond to the opportunities and challenges created by Asia's growing role. Notwithstanding the growing numbers of Americans of Asian origin, U.S. education remains Eurocentric. Few Americans have had more than the most superficial exposure to Asian thought, institutions and values, much less Asian legal systems. To address this need, Georgetown's Law-Asia program provides a framework for expanded education, exchanges, and international dialogue about Asian law. Moreover, Law-Asia seeks to integrate Asian legal materials into non-specialized courses by increasing the number of visiting faculty and fellows at the Law Center from Asia.
With the growth of economic regionalism in many parts of the world, the future shape of United States trade and economic relations with Asia is an increasingly important question for policy makers on both sides of the Pacific. Taking advantage of its location in Washington, DC, Law-Asia has established a new forum for structured dialogue concerning law and policy harmonization in the Pacific region. The forum's agenda has included issues such as the legal framework for Pacific Trade, the proposed APEC Investment Code and harmonization of trade and competition laws in the Pacific Region. Participants include visiting fellows from Asia, American specialists and members of the Washington policy community. Through this unique forum the Law Center makes a contribution to the development of U.S. relations with Asian countries. Law-Asia has also co-sponsored training for Asian government officials in international legal studies.
Whenever possible, Law-Asia will make speakers available for meetings with interested students. In connection with the lectures, and with the help of the Wolff Library reference team, Law-Asia will ask speakers to point out research and writing topics and encourage students to come in to discuss ideas for notes and review articles.
One of Law-Asia's long-term goals is to establish solid relationships with top-ranking universities in East Asia that will support the development of exchange programs that take advantage of Georgetown’s traditions of scholarship and expertise in area studies.
Law-Asia will cooperate with the new Center for Transnational Legal Studies in London to encourage strong East Asian participation in that program. In order to achieve a significant Asian presence for the Law Center, Law-Asia will facilitate Asia-based institutes that dovetail with, for example, an LLM program in Law and Public Policy in East Asia, consisting of one semester at Asian counterpart universities and one semester in Washington studying with Georgetown University faculty and focusing on a defined legal or policy subject area.
In addition, Law-Asia will establish selective mid-career programs in collaboration with Asian institutions including major universities, the Legal and Judicial Training Institutes in Korea and Japan and the Party Schools in China and Vietnam. These shorter programs will begin with study on the GULC campus in Washington, then move to follow the chosen topic at one or two locations in Asia and/ or the Middle East.
Through the generous donations and continuing commitment of alumni, friends, and parents the Georgetown University Law Center has expanded and will continue to expand its admissions, scholarships, programs, symposiums, research, and professors and scholars in Asian Legal Studies. With its expanding program in Asian Law and Policy, the Law Center provides an education that can prepare future lawyers for an expanded role in the international legal and business world well into the next century.