Global Leader Scholarship to bring top Chinese students to Duke Law

August 9, 2011Duke Law News

A new full-tuition scholarship draws on Duke Law School’s strong relationships with the Chinese legal and academic communities to provide outstanding Chinese graduates the opportunity to earn a law degree from Duke Law School.

The scholarship will be awarded annually to the applicant who demonstrates the highest level of academic achievement, a record of and capacity for leadership, and a commitment to the use of law in addressing the economic, social and ethical challenges China faces as an increasingly important player on the world stage.

"Many of the very best students and lawyers in China already want to come study at Duke Law School and follow in the footsteps of our eminent Chinese graduates,” said Dean David F. Levi. “It is natural for us to launch this program in China, because of our long-standing institutional ties to China and because of the leadership of our Chinese alumni in government, law, and business, and their commitment and loyalty to Duke. We are grateful for their contributions to our Law School and their enthusiastic support of this program in particular.”

“Duke University School of Law has a long history of interest in and engagement with China,” added Paul H. Haagen, senior associate dean for academic affairs. “There are times and places in human history that are unusually interesting and exciting. China is one of those places right now. Its economic growth has attracted the attention, and sometimes fear, of the rest of the world. The ways in which it approaches the great legal, normative and regulatory challenges it faces will impact the globe. China is simply too important not to engage.”

Applicants may apply for any of the Duke Law degree programs: the juris doctorate (JD); the Master of Laws for international law graduates (LLM); the Master of Laws in Judicial Studies; the Master of Laws in Law and Entrepreneurship; or the Doctor of Juridical Science (SJD). Scholarship applicants must meet eligibility requirements and complete all of the application materials for the degree they select as well as the application materials for the scholarship program. The scholarship will pay full tuition for the recipient’s chosen degree program.

Three prominent Chinese alumni have agreed to serve on the selection committee thus far: Li Xiaoming ’90, who heads the China offices of the law firm of White & Case; Gao Xiqing ’86, president and chief investment officer of the China Investment Corporation; and Yan Xuan ’87, president of Nielsen’s Greater China division. All three earned JDs at Duke Law under the Richard M. Nixon Scholarship program.

Nine Chinese law schools will be invited to nominate a candidate for the scholarship: Tsinghua University School of Law, Peking University School of Law, Renmin University School of Law, China University of Political Science and Law, Jilin University School of Law, Shanghai Jiao Tong University School of Law, East China University of Political Science and Law, Xiamen University Law School and Wuhan University School of Law. In addition to these institutional nominees, any student or graduate of any Chinese institution of higher education who meets the high standards required of a scholarship recipient may also apply through a self-nomination process.

Complete nomination and application instructions will be posted on the Duke Law website in September 2011. The selection process will be conducted in spring 2012.

Duke University Provost Peter Lange said the new scholarship is indicative of Duke’s continued efforts to broaden and build on its worldwide network.

“This is a most exciting initiative, deeply connected to Duke’s commitment to global engagement for mutual benefit,” Lange said. “The opportunity to have such outstanding scholars study at the Duke Law School and become members of the Duke community will provide them with an outstanding educational opportunity as they prepare for their life’s work on the global stage. At the same time it will enrich the Law School’s culture and its ability to prepare all its students for 21st century careers.”

Haagen said the scholarship program is an integral part of a broader effort to deepen Duke’s relationships with Chinese law schools and “encourage scholarly exchange, student exchange, joint research, and the development of effective transnational teaching both with traditional methods and by taking advantage of new technologies, all to our mutual benefit and understanding.”

The program also could serve as a model for similar programs in other countries such as Japan and Korea as well as European and Latin American countries. "As law practice and the legal profession continue to globalize, Duke Law School will build upon its significant international connections and presence to further enhance its international character and offerings to the benefit of all of our students,” Levi said. “This scholarship program is another way for us to bring some of the brightest young lawyers from around the world to Duke Law School, who will one day be global leaders. "

The Global Leadership Scholarship builds on the Law School’s many ties to China, including the Richard M. Nixon Scholarship program, which brought a number of distinguished Chinese scholars to Duke Law during the late 1980s and early 1990s; the Duke Asia-America Transnational Institute in Law in partnership with the University of Hong Kong, founded in 1995; and various exchange programs for both students and faculty.

Duke Law School graduated its first Chinese student in 1985; today, Duke Law has more than 70 alumni in China. Faculty members frequently travel to China for academic conferences and meetings with alumni.