Participating in a Global Research Seminar (GRS) is one of Penn Carey Law’s capstone experiences. The Seminar connects students to distinguished judges, legislators, and regulators; gives them unique insight into the power and promise of law and legal institutions; and provides special access to interact with some of the most significant legal challenges of our time.
Past Seminars have provided opportunities to visit communities ravaged by natural disasters in Japan; meet with former FARC combatants in Colombia; and engage in rich dialogue with ministers, justices, policymakers, and public and private sector leaders globally.
The application deadline for a GRS will align with the dates for advance registration. Due to the competitive selection process for this course, however, students do not need to “rank” the GRS during course selection.
When there is an upcoming GRS, a “Course Announcement” will be sent to all eligible students with specific details on the course and the application process. To be considered, applicants will generally submit a short personal statement (of no more than 350 words) describing their reasons for wanting to take this class and their interest in the topic, together with a resume and unofficial transcript.
For questions on the Global Research Seminar, contact the Penn Carey Law Office of International Affairs.
Past Global Research Seminars
UN Climate Negotiation and the Impact of Subnational Actors – Egypt
This GRS examined how subnational actors (cities and states) receive climate financing once funds are distributed to countries by the United Nations, then traveled to the 2022 United Nations climate change conference (COP27) to observe negotiations. (Fall 2022)
The High-Tech Nation – Israel
This GRS strove to understand the reasons behind the success of Israel’s high-tech industry. The class discussed the economic and legal drivers of the high-tech industry with a special emphasis on intellectual property law. (Fall 2021)
Robot Revolution: Legal, Ethical and Policy Challenges of Robotics – Japan
This GRS focused on the status of robot technology and development in the U.S. and Japan. Students read cutting-edge scholarship on artificial intelligence and machine learning, studied state-of-the-art humanoid robots, examined robot-related litigation, and explored the range of legal and policy options for managing the inevitable (but often unknowable) conflicts of the robot revolution. (Fall 2019)
Intellectual Property Strategies for National Development – India
This GRS introduced students to current intellectual property debates and controversies playing out in the Indian legal system. The class examined five issues: patent law and access to medicines; copyright law and educational access; protection for indigenous manufacturing; the Indian approach to protecting traditional knowledge; and the protection of plant varieties and farmers’ rights. (Spring 2019)
The Colombian Armed Conflict and the Peace Agreement – Colombia
This GRS exposed students to the two crucial arms of public international law: International Humanitarian Law (IHL) and International Criminal Law (ICL). The course examined the relationship between these branches of law and investigated how they influence contemporary violent conflicts, peacemaking, and transitional justice. Colombia was used as the primary case study. (Fall 2017)
Judicial Review in the United States and Japan – Japan
This GRS explored judicial review in the United States and Japan in order to understand how and why similar textual and structural designs in the two countries have led to different patterns of judicial practice. To what extent is the American experience the product of differences other than individual rights provisions and judicial review? (2017–2018)
Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights in Uganda – Uganda
This GRS focused on advocacy efforts in Uganda aimed at expanding and enforcing economic, social, and cultural rights (particularly in the areas of education, property rights, and healthcare). The course explored the role of Ugandan lawyers and legal institutions, as well as Ugandans’ use of digital media to reach ordinary citizens in order to educate them regarding their rights. (Spring 2017)
Human Rights and Economic Development in Cuba – Cuba
This GRS provided an overview of Cuba’s legal system using key provisions of the Articles of Universal Declaration of Human Rights as a framework. The class explored civil and political rights as well as economic, social, and cultural rights in Cuba. A comparative approach was taken to analyze individual aspects of Cuban human rights or economic development. (2016–2017)
Comparative Corporate Governance and Financial Regulation – United States, Germany, and Belgium
This GRS provided students with the opportunity to learn about cutting-edge issues in corporate governance and financial regulation from a global perspective. The course considered the strengths and weaknesses of different regulatory approaches as well as the extent to which these differences are the product of differences in business culture, corporate ownership, and market structure. (2015–2016)
Disasters and the Law – Japan
This GRS used a comparative, interdisciplinary approach to the topic of law and disasters by exploring a variety of controversial legal and policy issues in the areas of disaster preparedness, emergency response, and victim compensation. Key case studies included Hurricane Katrina, Deepwater Horizon, the Bhopal toxic accident, and the Fukushima earthquake/tsunami/nuclear disaster. (2015–2016)
Rising Powers: Power Shifts in International Law – Brazil and China
This GRS examined the implications of power shifts on international law and global governance. The course focused on case studies of Brazil and China, with an emphasis on areas where either of these powers challenged existing norms and practices or had been a source of significant potential cooperation or conflict with the United States. (2014–2015)
Emerging Issues in Internet Law and Policy – Washington, D.C.; Germany; Belgium
This GRS spotlighted the vibrant debate that has emerged over which legal principles and policies best promote broadband deployment and entrepreneurship. The Internet has emerged as the most important driver of economic growth and innovation, and this course examined the regulatory approaches taken in the United States and other countries, with a specific focus on Europe. (2013–2014)
Private Law, Nation-Building, and Economic Growth – India
This GRS examined the connection between private law and a nation’s realization of its social and economic objectives. The seminar analyzed multiple areas of Indian private law, including tort law, contract law, the law of property, the law relating to private remedies, the law of corporations, intellectual property law, and antitrust law. (2012–2013)
Islamic Finance and Investment in the International Markets – Malaysia
This GRS explored contemporary Islamic finance from a transactional vantage, with an emphasis on structuring financial transactions and products. Malaysia was the primary case study due to the leadership role it has played in modern Islamic finance, and the progressive tools its firms and regulators have developed to bridge conventional and Islamic investors. (Spring 2012)
Comparative Internet Law in the United States and European Union – Germany and Belgium
This GRS compared Internet policy in the U.S. and the EU, where the U.S. and Europe have historically taken widely divergent approaches to the regulation of communications technologies. The course studied both their emerging similarities and the key differences in intellectual commitments that tend to keep them distinct. (Fall 2011)
Globalization of Bankruptcy Law: The United States, Japan, and International Law Reforms – Japan
This GRS examined bankruptcy and insolvency laws from comparative and international/cross-border perspectives and focused primarily on international law reform projects undertaken in recent years. The primary case study was the Lehman Brothers bankruptcy filing, which triggered the global financial crisis and was the second-largest bankruptcy in Japanese history. (Spring 2011)
Globalization of Corporate Governance: Italy and the European Union – Italy
This GRS considered the foundations of contemporary corporate governance through an intensive study of Italian corporate governance and Italy’s place in the overarching structure of the European Union. The principal work product for the class was a report commissioned by the Milan Stock Exchange. (Spring 2010)