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Penn Law a hub for Fulbright scholars from around the world

December 06, 2013

Four Fulbright scholars have chosen to spend this academic year at Penn Law – a reflection of the distinction of its faculty and reputation for collegiality that sets it apart from most law schools, and its increased international prominence.

The Fulbright scholars include a Royal Thai Police detective, a government prosecutor and Ph.D. candidate from Shanghai, and two recent graduates from law schools in Norway and Turkey.

The Fulbright scholarship program, the U.S. government’s flagship international exchange program, brings about 4,000 foreign students and 900 visiting scholars to the U.S. annually to study, teach, and conduct research.

Designed to increase mutual understanding between the American people and the people of other countries, the program, run by the U.S. State Department, also supports American students and scholars studying and working abroad.

“It’s unusual but not surprising to have so many Fulbright recipients in residence at the Law School at the same time,” said Amy Gadsden Associate Dean for International and Strategic Initiatives. “As we have expanded our academic programs and partnerships in India, Asia, Europe, and other parts of the world, Penn Law’s international profile has expanded dramatically in recent years. Penn Law is a truly global institution with a focus on international study throughout the curriculum.  Fulbright researchers and students are among the best young international scholars in the world and we welcome them here.”

Jie Xie, a Fulbright Visiting Scholar, brings to Penn Law the perspective of a Ph.D. candidate at the Criminal Law Research Center of the East China University of Political Science & Law in Shanghai, a city in which he also works for the Chinese government as a prosecutor and researcher specializing in white-collar crime.

Jie was attracted to the Law School by its academic reputation, in particular the presence on the faculty of Paul H. Robinson, the Colin S. Diver Professor of Law and one of the world’s leading criminal law scholars.

Working with Robinson, Jie is using his Fulbright year to further a research project that focuses on financial crime, especially market manipulation.

“I’m using comparative analysis to explain the different criminal regulatory patterns applied by the U.S. and China to protect market integrity and investor confidence,” he explained. “Studying at Penn Law and working with Prof. Robinson helps me to optimize the use of comparative criminal law methodology, interdisciplinary analytic tools, and philosophical thinking about criminal law.”

The far-reaching influence of U.S. legal practice in a globalized world, the openness of American universities to international talent, and the allure of American culture are all reasons that Jie and other Fulbright recipients choose to spend a year at an American law school.

“It’s very natural for me to study in the U.S., considering my research interest in capital-market criminal law and criminal justice in the field of white-collar crime,” Jie said. “As the most developed capital markets legal system, U.S. capital market laws have directed and should continue to have a significant impact on globalized financial market regulations.”

Beril Boz, a Fulbright recipient from Turkey, is one of more than 100 international students currently enrolled in Penn Law’s Master of Laws (LLM) program.

“The traditional U.S. research culture fostering international students with scholarship opportunities and wide range of research areas led me to the U.S. and Penn Law,” she said. “With its distinguished faculty Penn Law offers more than 100 courses, which open up the doors of a whole other legal system, especially for students with a civil law background.”

Boz, who applied for her Fulbright scholarship directly from law school, is using her year of post-graduate study to focus on technology law. As a student fellow at the Center for Technology, Innovation and Competition, she is doing research for Christopher Yoo, the John H. Chestnut Professor of Law and a leading scholar of Internet and telecommunications regulation.

Heidi Fredly, who received a Master of Laws degree from the University of Oslo last July, was also attracted to legal study in the U.S. because of the global impact of American law. “My research on maritime law introduced me to Anglo-American law, on which I wanted to conduct in-depth studies so as to deepen my understanding,” she said. “I am also fascinated by American culture and have always wanted to live here for a period of my life. I was drawn to Penn Law mainly because of its prominent position among American law schools, but also because of its reputation of having a collegial student culture.”

Fredly is using her Fulbright scholarship to focus on commercial law, particularly contract law. Puvadet Prommakrit, from Thailand, another Fulbright scholar, is studying international law.

Prommakrit, who holds master’s degrees in criminal law and justice and has passed the Thai bar exam, is a detective with the Royal Thai Police Force. Of his decision to pursue study abroad, he said, “My country is joining the ASEAN Community in 2015, which will bring about a lot of changes. By studying international law, I, as a government official, can help my country prepare for that.” The Law School, he added, “has been great in every respect. Studying from world-renowned scholars with talented students here at Penn Law is the best experience for me.”