Bringing Light in Nine Minutes and 29 Seconds: Joint Keynote Address on Race and Gender in International Arbitration—GAR Connect: Europe, April 27, 2021 — Vol. 33 No. 1

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Author: Benjamin G. Davis



Arbitrators and Arbitral Tribunals
Composition of Arbitral Tribunal
Capacity and Qualifications of Arbitrators


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Thank you, Larry and Carmen, for contacting me to participate in this event as a has-been alongside a rising star such as Ms. Leyou Tameru. I have ten minutes so I have a written version of this that I will publish in due course for those who want the complete version.  So let me bring light quickly, like a sunrise.

My message is to hire and promote women, minorities, lawyers with disabilities, and LGBTQ lawyers.  And also, to nominate them as arbitrators, whether you are a party or an institution. While I am appalled by the lack of diversity in the game, I have no interest in being an arbitrator or a counsel.  For in academia until my retirement and afterward, I enjoy talking about the field. […]


There is a great deal of nonsense said about diversity, such as the interview of Jan Paulsson that led me to publish “C’mon Man: Diversity and International Arbitration Slight Return” on April 6, 2021.

I would like to address diversity in international arbitration in two pictures.

First, from 1998 […] [t]his picture was taken at the lunch on Gaudet Day—the day after the 40th ICCA Congress that was held that year.  I am next to Michel Gaudet, a former President of the ICC International Court of Arbitration who was the President when I started working there in 1986 and had stepped down in 1988 from that position.  He had played a leading role in legal service for the European Community for Coal and Steel, then in the European Economic Community in the 50s and 60s. He was a founder of your European space. […]

The next picture is from the opening session of Gaudet Day:

As Director of ICC Conferences and Manager, Institute of World Business Law, I had organized the day and advertised it as widely as possible.  I had made sure the people at the ICCA Conference the two days before were aware of the day.  […]

Having reached out to the world to invite people to that day and having organized a wonderful set of speakers from around the world, I was sitting on the dais in the center and I looked out on this audience and looked around at the speakers on the dais. […]

No doubt many of you who I know as international arbitration practitioners are very perceptive and will note that the audience is nearly all White male. As an African-American  learning at the diverse great universities of international arbitration, and at that point with the 1000 or so cases I had supervised directly with all that worldwide diversity, I hope you can understand the contradiction I perceived as I looked out across this sea of nearly all White people and White men. Where were the women and where were the people of color?  Why were they not at the apex of the field?  Why would anyone think this was normal?