Gujarat National Law University
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Director(Vice-Chancellor) Speeches & Important Messages

"Inaugural Address, 2010 Gujarat National Law University International Moot Court Competition (GIMC)", Townhall, Gandhinagar, Wednesday, 3 February 2010.

Guest of Honour Professor Anil Gupta, distinguished academicians, invited guests, GNLU faculty and staff members, our Ambassadors, namely GNLU Students...
Dear friends,
A very good evening to our chief guest, Dr. Rajiv Gupta, Secretary, Government of Gujarat, a bold and someone who will be in great demand if he chalks out an excellent Climate Change department in the whole Asian continent; our distinguished speaker, Dr Gopichandran from the Centre for Environment Education, who would vividly convey the remarks of Dr Kartikeya Sarabhai who was at the Copenhagen in December, the Hon’ble members of the Higher Judiciary, District Courts, respected dignitaries of the bar, members of law colleges of Gujarat, GNLU faculty and staff members, invited guests, our media representatives whom we thank for press coverage already and the most importantly—the Students participating in the 2nd GNLU International Moot Court Competition !
What an exciting week this is for all of us! We have contestants from 13 states of India, 6 nations, across 3 continents together in this hall! Please give them all a big hand !!
In the wake of terrorism and environmental degradation, we stand united through this competition, using the Moot Court to hone the skills of future leaders toward astute conflict management. How do we at GNLU aspire to do this everyday ?
Edward de Bono said, “You cannot look in a new direction by looking harder in the same direction.”
GNLU is diverse, with students and faculty from over 23 states in India – nearly 40 full-time dedicated faculty, perhaps highest in any national law universities in the country. With a view to holistic development, fostering emotional maturity and scientific temperament, it is our endeavour to constantly expose our young learners to a wide breadth of skill building. Our intention is to train our students to learn to manage conflict in vastly dissimilar environment. GNLU produces and will continue to present integrated legal advisers in true spirit of the word, not simply lawyers. This is why there is growing impetus on all our students to partake in Legal Services, Sport, Moot Court, and extra curricular activities.
Having revamped and introduced a very comprehensive curriculum this academic year, our Academic arm is working on curriculum to ensure that students know both local and global laws thoroughly, while ensuring that the choice of specialization and generalization is with the student. We have faculty from Italy, Spain and Malaysia teaching our students on International Trade Disputes, Constitutional law and International Conflict Resolution. Visiting Professors from Israel, US, UK, France and China are expected. Imagine the visiting professors teaching and training GNLU students laws as well as application of laws in cultural context.
Regarding Moot Court Competitions, this academic year, GNLU is participating in 67 competitions across 15 states and 7 nations. Last August, we were semi-finalists at the Manfred Lachs Space Law Moot Court Competition. In November, our team was awarded the 3rd Best Memorial at the Stetson International Moot Court Competition. A policy to reimburse costs for participation in various moot courts competition and also give additional incentives to students who bring laurels in the moot is already being finalized and the MCC will inform the same to students next week.
Simultaneously, we are also proud to host Cognitio, a legal writing competition which has 345 contributions from 14 states and 34 institutions. In this academic year, we are have also hosted the LexTech Pan – Asian Law & Technology Essay Writing Competition, 2009 on Contemporary Converging Techno – legal Issues. The winners of LexTech Pan competition will be announced during the valedictory function on Sunday.
Last week, we won the first position in Girl’s Basket Ball, first position in Men’s Lawn Tennis and were first runners up in Girl’s Volley Ball at Pandit Deendayal Petroleum University, an institution with which we have recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding on knowledge creation and faculty exchange, amongst other things. It does not end here; our Girl’s Basket Ball team had also won 1st position at Dhirubhai Ambani Institute of Information and Communication Technology in October, last year.
Why this moot – public international law, international trade law and climate change ?
Sometimes, one has to run before they walk however, we at GNLU do this more often. GIMC is another example of this nagging habit, am I correct, Murthy Sir, Saurabh Sir, Ashish and the team, and if I say Devaki, our alumni and her team last year. GIMC has moved in giant strides since its inception last year. We have not only grown in the number of participants but also in diversity. We are proud of the fact that GIMC becomes the first truly international moot court competition in India. Dean Susan Karamanian who participated as a judge in the finals last year, impressed by the overall organization and quality of the moot, sent her team this year. We hope we will get more and more teams increasing the quality of debates and not just the numbers.
This year we decided to raise the standard of debate upon a very vital question. The question is about the relationship between trade and environment. GNLU, in fact has first hand knowledge of the whole negotiations as it was the only team in South Asia and the only second in whole Asia together with Singapore which played an active role and kept keen interest in the climate change debates for a long time.
In a differentiated world, the developed, the Developing and the least developing countries are negotiating for their rights to ecological space this issue becomes ever more important than ever before.
The world community met for the conference of parties 15 of the UNFCCC in Copenhagen last year, a particular section of media decided to announce it as a success under the leadership of President Obama. But the reality is that COP 15 was the Berlin Conference of the 21st century. The African nations were divided like a pie, a metaphor of the 19th century and in Copenhagen the BASIC, the USA and the Europeans, divided the ecological space amongst themselves with no respect for the needs of the LDCs and the small island nations.
To my global citizens and friends, it’s about time that we realise that the facts of Berlin Conference have been catastrophic for an entire continent and we do not want a similar outcome for the Climate Change regime.
However, the climate change is not the only threat lurking on our future. There are many threats that have not yet appeared in the media but have been debated, deliberated in the academia. For example, the Trans boundary pollution is an epitome of lack of cooperation amongst nations.
Pollutants of one country contaminate the environment of other as they move across borders with wind and waters. For example, sewage of one country dumped in a river’s ecosystem becomes drinking water in the other country. This undermines the right to live enshrined in the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights.
There is also a concern about the transportation of hazardous wastes from industrialized countries to Africa and Asia. The Africa realised that the Basel Convention was not helping in regulation of trade of hazardous wastes and therefore, they form there own Bamako Convention.
We at GNLU sincerely believe that that SAARC should also develop something similar to the Bamako convention to safeguard its own interest of course, the political will for such an endeavours should come from the highest echelons of policy makings. The GNLU centre for Foreign Policy and the GNLU Centre of Environment are always willing to offer research and intellectual support for this and similar causes. My distinguished Chief Guest wants to keep our offer in mind as we have been in constant touch with the State and Union machinery to offer our assistance in this vital area of national policy-making.
This shows that when the developing world is at stake the international instruments generally lack the tooth and nail the climate change convention is in continuance of this ghasty traditions.
The history of environment has been story of an equity and mutual disrespect. The GIMC is our effort to highlight these issues and engage future leaders in a meaningful conversation today for a better future tomorrow. We are pleased that acting upon our call, Danish Minister of Climate Change and Energy, Mme Lysse Friike has accepted our invitation to address the first post-Copenhagen address on Saturday, 6th February. We will also have Minister Mr Saurabh Patel, Minister of Industry and Energy of the State which is establishing Climate Change Department and the one has enormous potential and responsibility to contribute to the climate change debates, policies and effective mechanisms.
Today, as the Director of this glorious university, my greatest responsibility is to help my students develop their conscience. It will determine how they apply the skills and knowledge they have learnt here, toward trade and the environment. Will the GNLU students and all sitting in front of me today help us make this world a cleaner, greener, healthier place to live ?
Thank you and once again a very warm welcome to the GNLU, Gujarat – a state celebrating its golden jubilee and India.
Bimal N. Patel,
Director (Vice-Chancellor)