Every March, Waseda University in Toyko hosts its Transnational Program, an intensive comparative law workshop focusing each year on a new and timely topic.
For this year’s weeklong symposium, held over Penn Carey Law’s spring break in March, the topic was “Business and Human Rights.” Four Law School students—David Johnson L’25, Rachel Kabat L’25, Aadir Khan L’24, and Jonathan Wiersema L’24—were selected from a pool of applicants to join student and faculty counterparts from Japan, China, Germany, Korea, and Taiwan as delegates for this interactive conference at one of Asia’s most competitive, innovative, and highly regarded law schools. Penn Carey Law’s delegation was led by Professor Gideon Parchomovsky, Robert G. Fuller, Jr. Professor of Law.
The Penn Carey Law delegates are provided with international airfare to Tokyo, as well as accommodations for the duration of the program.
Kabat would recommend the Waseda TNP to anybody: “I learned so much more than I expected over the week.”
“The program pushed us to find solutions in an area of law historically applicable to states alone, rather than private entities like corporations,” said Wiersema.
Khan enjoyed learning from professors from across the world in a dynamic and exciting environment. “Then, outside of class, I had the opportunity to explore Tokyo and all it has to offer.”
Kabat agreed. “There was plenty of time to go out and see Tokyo with the other students,” she said. “I experienced so many great moments, from visiting a giant Buddha statue at a Buddhist temple and exploring a Japanese garden, to enjoying the nightlife of Tokyo from a record bar and wearing a yukata with a Japanese friend from the program.”
It was an experience that Johnson described as both gratifying and invigorating. “I vividly remember walking through a garden with students from Taiwan, Japan, Korea, and Germany, discussing not only the intricacies of business and human rights or private international law in their respective countries, but deeply immersing myself into the lives and stories of these beautiful people,” he recounted. He was impressed by the other students’ “motivation for this conference’s topic, their genuine interest in [one another], and their desire to return and serve their countries through the rule of law.”
“Participating in the Waseda program meant a lot to me,” Wiersema said, “as it showed that people still care about international law even during a time when world events would suggest otherwise.”