VII Symposium on Salient Issues in International Arbitration: "International Arbitration: Evolution or Devolution?"

November 15, 2023

On Wednesday, November 15, 2023, the Center on International Commercial Arbitration will hold the seventh Symposium on Salient Issues in International Arbitration at its premises in Washington, D.C. The topic of this Symposium will be:

International Arbitration: Evolution or Devolution?

The Symposium is organized by the Center on International Commercial Arbitration at American University Washington College of Law under the direction of Professor Horacio A. Grigera Naón, and the Institut Suisse de Droit Comparé, represented by Professors Krista Nadakavukaren Schefer and Rodrigo Polanco Lazo. The Symposium is organized with the support of the following partner institutions: United Nations Commission on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), American Society of International Law (ASIL), Asian Academy of International Law (AAIL), University of Chile School of Law, Sharjah Arbitration Centre (Tahkeem), and University Institute of Latin American Studies at Alcalá University in Madrid (IELAT).

The Symposium is supported by Transnational Dispute Management (TDM) as media partner.

This Year’s Topic: International Arbitration: Evolution or Devolution?

International Arbitration – Evolution or Devolution? aims at testing the vitality of arbitration and its ability to adapt to changing circumstances. We are living in a time where everything is questioned and where legal institutions, including those in the business context, evolve at an astonishing pace. Technology, social transformations, political upheaval, environmental degradation, and shifting economic priorities require that arbitration and dispute resolution more broadly re-invent themselves. Investment arbitration is also at a particularly difficult juncture at this stage, with states proposing a plethora of alternatives to avoid subjecting their measures to the discretion of international arbitration tribunals. While transparency is being pushed, mediation is also on the rise, opening fresh challenges to both disputing Parties and the interested public.

In this context, we think there is a need to take a step back and critically assess where arbitration is headed: is arbitration evolving towards more elevated and sophisticated forms or are there setbacks? Are all current developments beneficial for the efficient operation of arbitration proceedings? Does arbitration still offer a suitable solution to business disputes everywhere?

This Symposium will offer scholars and practitioners a global platform to discuss these cutting edge questions.

Encouragement of innovative and diverse approaches to the topic

Authors who participate in this Symposium may offer their scholarship on a wide array of issues arising out of international commercial arbitration, investment arbitration, as well as other forms of dispute resolution in the business context or under rules of public international law.

Submissions may address either theoretical or practical issues.  For example, the papers may inquire on the impact of procedural innovations in arbitration rules on the efficiency of the proceedings, the complexities of the interaction between national courts of justice and arbitral tribunals, increasing criticisms of conflict of interest between arbitrators, counsel and parties, allegations of corruptions, and the increasing control over the economy by governments, especially in sensitive areas that affect national security, the protection of personal data and public health-related issues.

Encouragement of diverse methodologies

The Symposium encourages novel scholarship by both young as well as more established authors that critically analyses and discusses how courts of justice and arbitral tribunals worldwide address some of the normative challenges in a world with ever changing values and socioeconomic realities.

Research may be based on an analysis of judicial and/or arbitral practice or other legal instruments and sources, on a review of existing scholarship, or based on empirical data analysis.

Take Part in the Debate!

This call for papers is open to scholars and practitioners with an interest in international arbitration, either in the field of commercial or investment arbitration. This Symposium aims to be a forum of critical and innovative discussion about the current challenges international arbitration is facing and to propose solutions for those challenges. Solutions that will be discussed at the Symposium may include legal innovations, changes in the practice of arbitral institutions and practitioners, as well as policy proposals.

Procedure and Timeline for the Call for Papers

1. Submission of Paper Topics

To submit their topics of research, authors should email an attachment in Microsoft Word or PDF containing an abstract of their topics of between 300 and 600 words to The deadline for submission of articles is Monday, May 15, 2023.

Each scholar may make only one submission. Both individual and co-authored submissions will be accepted. The Symposium’s Program Committee will assign individual and co-authored submissions to thematic panels according to subject area.

It is also possible to formulate proposals for fully formed panels.  Panels should be formulated around a common theme and include a confirmed list of panel members, abstracts for each presenter, and other required information to identify the scope and subject matter of the panel. Panel proposals should reflect a diverse background of professionals who are not related to each other.  Please include the words “Panel Proposal” in the subject line of your email.

2. Selection of Papers and Draft Paper Submission

The authors of the selected proposals will be notified by June 5, 2023 of their acceptance to submit and present their paper at the Symposium on Wednesday, November 15, 2023. There is no cost to register for the conference but participants are responsible for securing their own funding for travel, lodging, and other incidental expenses.

Authors commit to submitting their advance draft papers by Monday, October 9, 2023, so that they can be shared with the other conference participants before the event, and allow for more in-depth discussion.

3. Submission of Final Papers

The final, revised papers, ready for publication, are due by Monday, December 11, 2023. This gives panelists the opportunity to finish their research and include observations and comments received during the Symposium.

Academic Program Committee of the 2023 Symposium

  • Dr. Horacio Grigera Naón, Director, Center on International Commercial Arbitration, AUWCL
  • Dr. Björn Arp, Fellow, Center on International Commercial Arbitration, and Assistant Director, International Curriculum Development, AUWCL
  • Dr. Krista Nadakavukaren Schefer, Vice-Director of the Institut Suisse de Droit Comparé, Lausanne (Switzerland)
  • Dr. Rodrigo Polanco Lazo, Conseiller juridique, droits hispanophones, Institut Suisse de Droit Comparé, Lausanne (Switzerland)
  • Hamed El Kady, International Investment Policy Officer, Division on Investment and Enterprise, UNCTAD
  • Professor Jane Willems, Asian Academy of International Law (Hong Kong)
  • Professor Dr. Carlos Jiménez Piernas, University of Alcalá (Madrid) and former Legal Advisor of the Government of Spain
  • Diana Correa, Research Professor, Business Law Department, Universidad Externado de Colombia, Bogotá
  • Juan Miguel Álvarez, Research Professor, Business Law Department, Universidad Externado de Colombia, Bogotá
  • Adriana Castro Pinzon, Director, Business Law Department, Universidad Externado de Colombia, Bogotá
  • Tarek Rashid, International Arbitrator, Sharjah International Commercial Arbitration Centre

About the Biannual Symposium

The Symposium on Salient Issues in International Arbitration is organized biannually by the Center on International Commercial Arbitration. The purpose to present a global perspective of current developments in international arbitration throughout the world. The symposium hosts prominent speakers and generates a dialogue about salient issues in international commercial arbitration, as well as current developments in BIT and ICSID arbitration, in the Americas, Europe, Africa, the Middle East, and East Asia.

Event Agenda (upcoming)

Conference Registration for the Public (upcoming)

Event Organizers

WCL Arbitration Logo
Institut Suisse de Droit Comparé

Partner Institutions

Chile Univ

Media Partner  

Media Partner