Established on August 13, 1996, China-Mekong Law Center (“CMLC”) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation organized under the laws of the District of Columbia. CMLC carries out its mission with a focus on 1) assisting scholars and students from Asia studying in the U.S. and within Asia, 2) legal research on problems impacting reform of Asian legal systems and 3) improving learning opportunities in legal education in China and the countries of the Greater Mekong Subregion (Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam).
SLOW AND STEADY WINS THE RACE
For most of our history, CMLC has remained small; performing a supporting role for projects carried out by bigger, better resourced institutions. Our traditional role has been to quietly foster connections between and among scholars and institutions, and between institutions; to add financial and human resource support to both U.S. and Asian law schools for existing or developing programs, including program design; and to facilitate research and the establishment of Research Centers at select law schools. This includes conducting our own research, sponsoring researchers and interns at our U.S. headquarters, or facilitating research visits of Asian legal scholars to U.S. law schools. We continue to perform this important work for regional law schools today and readily serve as a resource for Asian scholars and students looking for research and study opportunities elsewhere in Asia (or in the U.S.). The network of individuals and schools that have benefited from our free services is now rather large, positioning CMLC as a trusted institution in the development of innovative legal education in developing Asia. After more than 20 years of engagement, CMLC increasingly feels confident to move from its traditional support role towards implementation of larger legal education and research projects. Nonetheless, what institution leads or hosts an educational initiative matters less than making sure the initiative succeeds. CMLC will play whatever role best serves program success.
CMLC U.S. Scholars/Students Opportunity Program: For over twenty years, CMLC has provided financial and logistical assistance to Chinese and Southeast Asian scholars visiting the U.S., including welcoming law-related delegations visiting from the region. CMLC also regularly hires interns from China and the Mekong Subregion to work on CMLC research projects. More recently, CMLC support has extended to assisting scholar and student exchange and learning opportunities within China and Southeast Asia proper. While assisting scholars and students with their research and studies in the U.S. remains important, CMLC increasingly focuses on East Asia, as cultivating a regional cadre of legal experts who understand the Greater Mekong Subregion and can help the peoples of the Mekong Region promises greater positive impact.
CMLC Research Programs: CMLC has developed a special expertise in Public Procurement Law and Local Finance Regimes in China, drawn from a number of research and training programs in which CMLC has taken a leading position or otherwise participated. These include training and legislative drafting programs on government procurement law in China and Thailand; a research program on “Chinese Bid Protests,” implemented in cooperation with Beijing University Law School, and financed by the U.S.-China Legal Cooperation Fund; a study of the legal framework for construction surety in China, financed by the International Surety Association; a two-year fieldwork study on China’s system for microcredit, supported by the Fetzer Foundation and the University of Maryland School of Law; and a study on Thailand’s public procurement system. More recently, CMLC has broadened its research focus to include the development and maturation of administrative law in East Asia. Despite CMLC's individual research foci, we continue to look for opportunities to support promising scholars in any area of public law, domestic or international.
Improving Legal Education in China: CMLC has performed a facilitative role on a number of programs designed to improve legal education in Asia, including the establishment of China’s first Government Procurement Law course (at Beijing University and the Central University of Finance and Economics-CUFE); and the establishment of a Public Procurement Research Center and Student Exchange program at CUFE, the latter a cooperative program between University of Maryland School of Law and CUFE. The exchange program brought Chinese and international students together for study in Beijing during autumn semesters and provided for Chinese students to visit overseas partner schools for spring semesters, creating a one-year collaborative study opportunity for the students. CMLC President, Daniel J. Mitterhoff served as Director of the Maryland-CUFE Cooperative Program for over 5 years, securing American Bar Association approval for the program. CMLC continues to promote international learning environments and international student collaboration, now emphasizing our proto-type international degree program, the Mekong Region Legal Studies Program, as well as regional research projects and initiatives.
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