Welcome from Professor George Bermann
Now in its eighth year, Columbia Arbitration Day (“CAD”) has become a fixture on the international arbitration community’s annual calendar—and for good reason. The event has a sterling reputation, even alongside the many fine programs that populate the field. Attainment of this status is all the more impressive due to the fact that the Columbia International Arbitration Association (CIAA) has made this possible with minimal reliance on the faculty and administration of the Law School. It is a tribute to the initiative, resourcefulness and energy of the student organizers.
The theme this year—"Striking a Balance: Confronting Tensions in International Arbitration"—is a reminder that constructing and operating a fair and efficient international arbitral process entails a tradeoff among competing objectives. Cognizance of that is all the more important in a time when arbitration—whether commercial or investment—is coming in for concerted criticism. This year’s program reflects the CIAA’s attunement to acknowledging and addressing the challenges that the international arbitration regime currently faces and is likely to in the years ahead.
The roster of speakers is also as magnificent as ever. That too is a product of CIAA’s energy and ambition in attracting the best and brightest to address us on this occasion. It is not surprising that our many LLM students from abroad have succeeded, as they always do, in bringing their most outstanding mentors from home to our program. It remains a genuine tribute to the program that invitees accept with alacrity invitations to speak at CAD.
The level commitment at Columbia to the international arbitration field is unparalleled in this country, and CAD is its embodiment. I wish to thank our student leaders for their ingenuity and dedication in assembling this program and for all else they do to make Columbia the vibrant setting for international arbitration study that it has become.
And now, along with the Dean and CIAA, I want to welcome all who have taken the time out of busy schedules to attend this year. I have every confidence that you will find the day as instructive as it is enjoyable. Thank you for being part of it.
Professor George A. Bermann
Director, Center for International Commercial and Investment Arbitration
Columbia Law School