Klein: From the heart of Indiana, IU McKinney spans globe

DeansDeskKlein.jpgIndiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law is proud to be located in the heart of Indiana’s capital, and we constantly strive to serve our community. But in an increasingly globalized society, our city and state cannot thrive without looking outward. Because of this, an important part of our school’s work involves international engagement.

One excellent example is the school’s recent agreement with the World Trade Center. IU McKinney and WTC Indianapolis signed a memorandum of understanding in December, formalizing a two-year relationship between the law school and the WTC. This development stems from the vision of former Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller, who saw the potential for connecting WTC Indianapolis’ needs and IU McKinney’s desire to develop international educational and pro bono opportunities for our students. The partnership already has yielded results. When the program began in Spring 2017, six of our international LL.M. students and one recent LL.M. alumnus conducted research on trade matters related to their home countries. One of our alumni from that group, Lin Zhu, LL.M. ’17, of China, parlayed her experience into a job with the World Trade Center Shanghai.

Another example is our Program in International Human Rights Law (PIHRL), which marked its 20th anniversary in 2017. The program has sent more than 250 students to work as interns in nearly 70 countries. These students work for governmental, intergovernmental and nongovernmental organizations on projects related to human rights. The PIHRL has made more than a dozen reports to the United Nations, where students are permitted to speak on the floor at UN meetings in New York City. Under the leadership of professor George Edwards, the PIHRL also obtained NGO observer status to observe, analyze and critique hearings taking place at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, through the Military Commission Observation Project.

Our international engagement is not a new phenomenon. You might be surprised to learn that IU McKinney has had a summer study abroad program in China for more than 30 years. The law school initially launched a summer program in Shanghai in 1987. We developed our current Chinese Law Summer Program (CLSP) at Beijing’s Renmin University of China Law School in 1998. Last summer, our institutions celebrated 20 years of partnership, and in December I traveled to Beijing with professor Tom Wilson, who directs the summer program, to help ensure the relationship will continue to flourish in the years ahead. Since the program’s establishment, students have studied at Renmin not just from IU McKinney, but also from more than 100 American law schools, as well as law schools in Europe. In addition, professor Wilson leads a programmatic collaboration between IU McKinney and Renmin that has brought 40 visiting scholars to our school, with nine visiting professors having taught at IU McKinney since the initiative began in 2010.

These examples are by no means the law school’s only international outreach efforts. IU McKinney operates a Center for International and Comparative Law under the direction of professor Frank Emmert, who is a key player in our WTC collaboration. Professor Xuan-Thao Nguyen helped our school become the primary partner of Vietnam National University’s Center for the Study of American Law. Dean Karen Bravo helps provide students with opportunities to attend meetings of the American Society of International Law. The Indiana International & Comparative Law Review is a student-edited scholarly journal that has been in existence since 1991. And there is so much more.

In short, global connections make Indiana stronger, and IU McKinney is proud to play a large role in moving our state forward.•

Andrew R. Klein is the Paul E. Beam Professor of Law and dean of Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law. Opinions expressed are those of the author.

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