"Panoramic view you will hold from an international perspective" CESL succeeded in holding 1st session of the lecture series of "International Legal Professions"
In order to promote the educational goal of China-EU School of Law (CESL) -"to cultivate international legal professionals”-establishing the unique educational feature of CESL and to enhance the diversity of the curriculum and teaching modes to broaden students' view and help them seek more career opportunities, CESL will regularly deliver a series of lectures on “International Legal Professions” and introduce them into the credit system.
Experts we invited are coming from four main sources: international public committees (e.g. international and regional organizations), legal affairs departments of multinational companies, international law firms and foreign affair departments of local legal agencies. They will carry out thorough analyses and in-depth discussions with students, focusing on the below 10 subjects:
a. "The legal system of the staff in UN”,
b. "To be an international civil servant- Experiences in working in an international organization”,
c. "Entering into a Transnational Legal Department- The orientation and responsibilities of the legal counsel in multinational corporations”,
d. "Entering into top foreign law firms- The career modes of lawyers practicing in foreign law firms”,
e."An overview of International Organizations”,
f. "Legal risks on foreign investment”,
g. "Legal countermeasures that Chinese government should take when facing indictment abroad”,
h. "Chinese companies – how to response when involved in oversea anti-dumping law suits”,
i. "International legal services provided by Chinese lawyers”,
j. "Globalization of Law” .
Aiming at fulfilling the vacancy of “international legal professions” in China, experts will further discuss and investigate how to cultivate international legal professionals in the context of globalization.
CESL launched the first session of the lecture series-"Go to World Stage with a Global View-Knowledge sharing on International Careers” at the student activity center on September 5th. Mr. SONG Yunfu, the former Director of Foreign Affairs at Ministry of Health and former Senior Foreign Relations Officer of the World Health Organization was invited as the keynote speaker. The lecture was presided over by Prof. ZHENG Yongliu, doctorial supervisor of CESL. More than one hundred master students across 2012 and 2013 grades as well as dozens of international students participated in the event.
On behalf of all the faculty and students of CESL, Prof. ZHENG Yongliu expressed a warm welcome to Mr. SONG Yunfu on his presence to CESL. After addressed in detail the background and foundation of the lecture series, Prof. ZHENG said, “Under the background that international trade and capital flow happens at every corner around the globe while globalization in legal affairs being in rapid development, China, ranked as the 5th of the biggest capital exporting country, has also became the country of receiving the most anti-dumping law suits every year for the last 17 years. Therefore, how to control the risks from oversea investment and trade barriers by international legal elites of our own is becoming a key factor. According to the statistics by 2012, only around 30 Chinese law firms out of 19,361 as a whole built up branches abroad. Among 232,384 lawyers from those law firms, only 26 people, coming form 16 firms, have experience in anti-dumping law suits of EU. Nearly 90% of the cases in oversea investments and mergers are in the hands of foreign lawyers. They have dominated positions in core areas ranging from transaction structure design to drafting materials for negotiation and deals while keeping Chinese lawyers outside of the business. In the latest case of Chinese company rising up to ITC section 337 investigation, the number of Chinese lawyers only took 1/60 of that of U.S. lawyers, which demonstrated our shortage of highly-competent legal professionals in foreign legal affairs. By the end of 2009, only 1,002 Chinese staff served in international organizations. Rising to the occasion, we will have to admit our disadvantage in international legal education among Chinese law schools and fill in the gap of legal professionals by investigating and practicing, urging students to devote into international legal professions with high aspirations, Prof. ZHENG said. He ended the opening remarks with a famous saying by Guiguzi to share with all the students “Panoramic view you will hold from an international perspective.”
Started with a famous quotation by President Xi Jinping-"China needs to know more about the world, the world needs to know more about China", Mr. SONG Yunfu recalled his own career of being an international civil servant. At the age of 18, answering to the call of the country, Mr. SONG abandoned his major in science for literature and went abroad to study. After graduation, Mr. SONG returned to China and was sent to Africa as a member of Chinese Medical Team and later on, worked on farm land with several years of hardships. Looking back into the old days, Mr. SONG said, “April showers bring May flowers.” He encouraged the younger generation to train and grow from hardships and pressure.
With his rich experience in international careers, Mr. SONG engaged in an in-depth sharing and discussion with students in three aspects. With a blooming economy, China is carrying out multilateral diplomacy to be a responsible world power, people need products “made in China” but they also need to hear the voice from China. However, the number of Chinese international civil servants is far less than that of other developing countries such as India and Pakistan. The resulting gap needs to be filled by students of aspiration. This is a historic opportunity, which is well worth for a try. Meanwhile Mr. SONG introduced the differences between other position and working as an international civil servant and the basic rules of that. Firstly, the daily function of an international organization is to provide services, implement decisions and draft documents but it does not have the authority to make decisions on important issues. Therefore, the political culture is quite different from domestic. It emphasizes the compliance to the values of the United Nations Charter, loyalty to the organization, and independence from the third party’s instructions with a view to avoiding conflicts of interest and unfair profit. Secondly, it applies a system of chief executive responsibility in the execution of daily official work; staff would be ready to take order anytime of a day. Moreover, during international conferences, impromptu speeches or discussions on concerning topics happen now and then. However, Chinese staff used to read from prepared materials, which often leads us to a passive position so the need for improving presentation skills is self-evident. Regarding to seeking for positions in international organizations, Mr. SONG suggested students to think “out of the box”. To understand nations from the view of world, to treat oneself as a global villager and to think about issues such as environmental pollution, sustainable development from a villager’s perspective, only in that way can Chinese younger generation have the ability to be active in international organizations and serve the world citizen.
Later on, Mr. SONG humorously put forward three topics on" how to get a job in international organization ", "how to secure the position" as well as "how to get promoted” and interact with audiences. Counting on his personal experiences, Mr. SONG inspired students to reach their own targets. For the first topic, Mr. SONG showed students a table of global competency, including factors such as ability, determination, information, opportunity. The primary quality came up is communicating with effectiveness and reliability. He said it is of great importance for students who are looking for positions in international organizations to colorize their resumes and to improve their interview skills. The content of the resume could be posh up according to personal experience and situation, highlighting personalities. He also suggested students to dress formal suits during interview and to behave in modesty with active performance. At the same time, Mr. SONG emphasized the significance of determination. He came up with an example about a young man, he used to know, who did not hold a bachelor diploma but succeeded in receiving an offer from an international organization through his persistent efforts. Mr. SONG also talked about a disabled lady, relying on her perseverance, having a strong move in her career in an international organization. As there are regular recruitments on internship for students all around the globe, he urged audience to actively get involved and try out, which experience will help students to lay the foundation for future career in international organizations. With regards to “how to secure the position”, Mr. SONG advised students to adapt to the new environment on a timely manner and to gain thorough understanding on the diversity of international organization, plus, good command of English skills is a must in getting along with colleagues and being helpful to each other. Finally, Mr. SONG came to a conclusion that China needs UN and UN needs China as well, we should hold a high aspiration with a global view.
In the question-and-answer session that followed, Mr. SONG was surrounded by many questions raised by students such as “are Chinese employees facing prejudice or unfair treatment in international organizations”, "is there any training program for undergraduate students who are willing to look for a position in international organization”, "what are the normal channel from being a domestic civil servant to that of international and what departments are easier in exporting civil servant to international organizations”, "when back to China, what effect could it have as used to be an international civil servant” etc. Mr. SONG expressed his wishes and expectations to the students by clarifying their concerns one by one. He said the case indeed exists that a small number of people having prejudice to colleagues from developing countries but this will definitely come to an end as China is getting more powerful. Meanwhile, we should pay our respect to colleagues coming from different cultural and religious backgrounds and to be in harmonious coexistence with the diversity of cultures for real. Beyond that, Mr. SONG suggested the undergraduate students to cultivate social practice ability by being parts of social events, in addition to grasping English skills and knowledge of respective majors. At last, he listed a dozen of domestic departments who have close contact with foreign agencies, such as Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Commerce, Ministry of Health, Human Resource Department and the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security; those local authorities are all having records on exporting Chinese staff to international organizations. Moreover, for those who came back from being international civil servants, they would get a better job opportunity with relatively higher social benefits but there is still a vacancy for a system to manage it and put it under control, which needs government for further perfection.
At the end of the lecture, Prof. ZHENG expressed his sincere gratitude to Mr. SONG for his presentation. Prof. ZHENG said that the lecture series will continue to be organized on a regular basis. CESL will do its utmost to adopt various measures to be of assistance to its students in respect of enhancing legal professionalism and legal awareness. He was looking forward to one day when CESL graduates would take office in WHO, United Nations Development Programme, EU, the World Bank, APEC or Asian Development Bank based in New York, Geneva, Lausanne, Vienna, Paris, Hague, Strasbourg or Luxembourg.
Article by GUAN Ying
English translation by ZHANG Qun
Photographer: YU Hua