Mission: To educate top Chinese law students about rule of law in the United States through a four-week summer program in Washington, D.C. providing first-hand exposure to the officials and institutions of the U.S. Government. See Founder’s Letter here.
Sponsors: In early 2008, the US-Asia Institute began partnering with J. Matthew Szymanski, a former congressional staffer teaching law part-time in China, to help host some of his top Chinese law students in Washington, D.C. each summer. The goal has been to introduce aspiring legal professionals from China to the rule of law system of the United States. A total of 19 students have now participated over five summer sessions, which USAI and Mr. Szymanski have jointly organized and sponsored. All funding has come from USAI, Mr. Szymanski, and the participating students.
Students: Participating students have come mainly from East China University of Political Science & Law, Shanghai Jiaotong University School of Law, and Peking University School of Transnational Law (an innovative four-year graduate law program that combines a Juris Doctor degree in American law with a Juris Master degree in Chinese law). To be eligible for this program, students must be fluent in English and familiar with the U.S. legal system. For a picture summary of their educational environment in China and how they are chosen for this program, see China Context for DC Program here.
Program: During each four-week session in Washington, D.C., the Chinese students lodge near Capitol Hill for easy access to scheduled meetings and events. From breakfast to dinner, they are immersed in American legal and political life, visiting key institutions across Washington. They visit the Capitol, White House, and Supreme Court as well as federal agencies, law firms, law schools, and historic landmarks. They attend congressional and judicial proceedings and meet many key participants, including lawmakers and law enforcers, judges and prosecutors, law professors and private attorneys. See photo gallery here. On weekends, they explore the national capital area, visit other cities in the region, and interact with Americans in a wide range of social settings.
Hosts: To date, 19 students have attended 491 scheduled events and met 573 American hosts, including 35 senators, 41 representatives, 284 congressional staff, 79 administration officials, 18 judges, 5 court staff, and 111 private sector participants. See List of US Hosts here. Many hosts, including congressional leaders in both parties, have written letters of support. See Support Letters here.