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Heeding the Call: Committing to Racial Diversity in International Arbitration

Date: 17th July 2020

Time: 14:00 GMT+1 (16:00 GMT+2) (15:00 CET)

Following the shocking killing of George Floyd, which sparked widespread protests internationally, a new spotlight has been shone on institutional racism.  In response, several institutions, including law firms, have issued individual statements and announced plans to address racial diversity with at least 127 big law firms recently joining the Law Firm Antiracism Alliance.

This Webinar will highlight the racial disparities that undermine the inclusiveness and diversity necessary for international arbitration to be the preferred global dispute resolution mechanism. It will discuss ways to ensure that the renewed calls for racial diversity are heeded in the practise of international arbitration. 


Bayo Ojo, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria was called to the Nigerian Bar in 1978 after graduating from the University of Lagos, Nigeria in 1977. He obtained LL.M from the London School of Economics, University of London and later got admitted as a Solicitor of the Supreme Court of England and Wales. Since then he has been in active Commercial law, International Law, Litigation, Mediation, Arbitration and Alternative Dispute Resolution practice. He has acted as sole Arbitrator, member of arbitration panels, and as Counsel in numerous domestic and international arbitrations both at the ICC, ICSID and the LCIA over the last thirty five years. He has also acted as expert witness in international arbitrations including ICSID. He has mediated on several disputes as well. He is a former Attorney General and Minister of Justice of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, past President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), past Chairman of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, Nigeria Branch. Ojo was until recently a member of the United Nations International Law Commission (ILC) Geneva Switzerland, Council member of the Section on Energy and Natural Resources Law of the International Bar Association, a member of the ICSID Panel of Arbitrators, Washington, DC, a member of the Panel of the Permanent Court of Arbitration, Hague, Netherlands, Alternate Chairman of UNESCO Appeals Board in Paris, a member of the Board of Trustees of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators London, President of the African Users’ Council of the London Court of International Arbitration (LCIA). He is currently the President of the African Arbitration Association. He is a Chartered Arbitrator and a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Mediators and Conciliators (ICMC). He is the Editor-in-Chief of the Nigerian Journal of Arbitration and Mediation (NJAM) and African Journal of Arbitration and Mediation (AJAM). He is the co-author of The Handbook of Arbitration and ADR Practice in Nigeria. During his tenure as Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice of Nigeria, he pushed for the review of the Nigerian Arbitration and Conciliation Act. He still remains a part of the group that is pushing for the enactment of the new Act by the Nigerian National Assembly. He is a recipient of the National Honour of Commander of the Order of the Niger (CON).


Prof. Emmanuel Gaillard founded and heads Shearman & Sterling’s 100-lawyer International Arbitration practice. He is also the Firm’s Global Head of Disputes. A Professor of Law in France, he serves as a Visiting Professor of Law at Yale Law School and Harvard Law School. Professor Gaillard is universally regarded as a leading authority in the fields of both commercial and investment treaty arbitration. He has advised and represented companies, States and State-owned entities in hundreds of international arbitrations. He also acts as arbitrator and expert witness. Over the course of his career, Professor Gaillard has acted on many international arbitration landmark cases. In addition to the USD 50 billion award secured for the majority shareholders of the former Yukos Oil Company, he acted on the ICC arbitration brought by The Dow Chemical Company against Petrochemical Industries Company of Kuwait, which led to a USD 2.47 billion award in favor of Dow Chemical. Professor Gaillard is widely regarded as one of the top practitioners worldwide. He is one of the only two lawyers recognized as a ‘star individual’ in international arbitration worldwide by Chambers. He is also distinguished as the number one thought leader globally in Who’s Who Legal: Arbitration 2020. Professional directories and publications have noted Professor Gaillard’s “incredible wealth of knowledge and experience” and “fantastic record in the field”. He is praised for “his understanding of multiple perspectives to a case” and “universally recognised as one of the stars of international arbitration”. Who’s Who Legal: Commercial Arbitration 2018 comments that he is “absolutely outstanding” and “a real star in the field”. A previous edition of the same guide had stated that “there is no one in this profession better or even equally formidable”. Professor Gaillard has written extensively on all aspects of arbitration law, in French and in English. Co-author of a leading treatise in the field (Fouchard Gaillard Goldman On International Commercial Arbitration), he authored the first published essay on the legal theory of international arbitration. The volume, originally published in French (Aspects Philosophiques du droit de l’arbitrage international), was subsequently published in English (Legal Theory of International Arbitration), as well as in Arabic, Chinese, Spanish and a number of other languages. He co-authored, as expert acting for UNCITRAL, the UNCITRAL Secretariat Guide on the New York Convention, published in the six official languages of the United Nations. Professor Gaillard also served as member of the ICSID Panel of Arbitrators, appointed by France (2006–2018). He chairs the International Arbitration Institute (IAI) and was the first President and one of the co-founders of the International Academy for Arbitration Law (AIDA).

Prof. Gabrielle Kaufmann-Kohler is the immediate past President and now Honorary President of ICCA, the International Council for Commercial Arbitration. She practices international commercial, investment and sports arbitration and has acted in over 220 international arbitrations, mainly as arbitrator. Gabrielle appears on numerous institutional arbitration panels (including ICC, ICSID, AAA, LCIA, SIAC, CIETAC) and conducts arbitrations under the rules of all major institutions. She is regularly ranked among the top ten arbitrators worldwide; a study of investment arbitration released in 2016 concluded that she was the “most influential arbitrator in the world”. A Professor Emerita at Geneva University Law School, Gabrielle is also the founder, former director and a current faculty member of the Geneva LLM in International Dispute Settlement (MIDS), a joint program of the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies and Geneva Law School. She is also a visiting professor at National University of Singapore, Tsinghua University in Beijing, and Georgetown University and the President of the Council of the Center for International Dispute Settlement (CIDS). Gabrielle teaches courses on international commercial and investment arbitration and heads research projects in the area of arbitration. She is Honorary President of the Swiss Arbitration Association (ASA) and was ASA President from 2001 to 2005. Gabrielle is also a founder of the FIAA (Foundation for International Arbitration Advocacy) and the President of its Advisory Board, as well as a former member of the ICC Court, LCIA Court, and AAA Board. She was and is a member of the Swiss delegation to UNCITRAL, including within Working Group II on transparency (until 2014), and presently Working Group III on the reform of investor-state arbitration, for which she has co-authored two CIDS reports. Formerly, Gabrielle was a professor (international arbitration, 1997-2018) and assistant professor (private international law, 1993-1997) at the University of Geneva Law School; partner of Schellenberg Wittmer (1996-2007), and partner (1985-1995) and associate (1981-1985) of Baker & McKenzie, in Geneva and New York. After studies at the University of Geneva (law degree 1974) and a doctorate from the University of Basel (1979), she was admitted to the Geneva Bar (1976) and New York State Bar (1982). Gabrielle has authored numerous publications in her areas of specialization.

Prof. Dr. Jacomijn van Haersolte-van Hof has been the Director General of the London Court of Arbitration since July 2014. Since she joined the LCIA she remains active as arbitrator. Previously, from 2008 until she joined the LCIA, she had her own law firm in The Hague, HaersolteHof. Before then, she worked with the Rotterdam law firm Loeff Claeys Verbeke, including in its corporate and maritime law departments. During that time, she was seconded to the Claims Resolution Tribunal for Dormant Accounts in Zürich. Subsequently, she joined De Brauw Blackstone Westbroek in The Hague, and thereafter Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer in Amsterdam as counsel in the International Arbitration Group. She was an intern with Fisher Porter & Kent in Long Beach, California; Chalos, English & Brown, New York; and Baker McKenzie, New York. From 1987-1991 she was Assistent in Opleiding Rijksuniversiteit Leiden.


Dr Rukia Baruti is a qualified solicitor in England & Wales and sits as an international arbitrator, both as sole and wing arbitrator. She is a founding member and current Secretary General of the African Arbitration Association (AfAA), which won the Global Arbitration Award for Best Development. Previously, Dr Baruti managed Africa International Legal Awareness (AILA), a capacity building initiative she founded that trained African lawyers in investment treaty law and arbitration. Prior to founding AILA, Dr Baruti practised law at SJ Berwin’s International Arbitration Group in London where her contribution to a pro bono initiative saw her listed in The Lawyer 'Hot 100'. Dr Baruti benefits from experience in the roles of Counsel, Arbitrator and Secretary to the Tribunal in arbitrations conducted under various arbitration rules. She is a former Vice-President of the London Court of International Arbitration (LCIA) Africa Users’ Council. She also has a well-rounded knowledge of Public International Law and International Relations gained from her postgraduate studies.

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