IALTA’s collaboration with China received a major boost during the visits of Prof. Leon Verstappen and Dr. Yongjun Zhao from the Groningen Centre for Law and Governance (GCL) of the University of Groningen during 25-30 November 2010.
Prof. Verstappen, Academic Director of the GCL, delivered a public lecture on the Dutch legal system concerning land administration at the Law School of Peking University on 26 November. Hosted by Prof. Qianfan Zhang, Deputy Director of the Constitutional and Administrative Law Centre, Prof. Verstappen’s presentation provided a far-sighted view on the relevance of the Dutch and European experiences of land administration to the Chinese context as Chinese scholars have focused more on legal studies from comparative perspectives.
The two directors deemed the collaboration in the framework of the IALTA would be a first step to this end. Peking University would participate in the series of activities of IALTA in the new year.
As a follow-up, Prof Zhang invited Prof Verstappen and Dr. Zhao to deliver presentations on aspects of Dutch land law and institutions and cross-country comparatives perspectives on land reform in developing countries at the International Conference on Land Zoning, Transfer and Protection of Property Rights in Urban Developments at the Peking University during 6-7 August 2011.
A visit to the Legal Affairs Centre for Land and Resources of the Ministry of Land and Resource (MLR) on 26 November 2010 was a landmark achievement for cooperation between RuG and MLR based on pervious programmes. Prof. Verstappen’s lecture at the ministry demonstrated the relevance of IALTA to the MLR’s programmatic priorities, in which further discussions were planned. MLR staff greatly appreciated the meeting and expressed a strong commitment to strengthen the cooperation with IALTA in lesson-learning, sharing experiences and internationalization related to land administration.
On 27-28 November 2010, Prof. Verstappen and Dr. Zhao attended the International PhD Programmes for Graduate Studies Workshop (www.phdchina.org) on behalf of the Law Faculty for the first time. A group of candidates were interviewed and recommended to the potential promoters of the faculty after the workshop. It was through this workshop that the Law Faculty and IALTA were further promoted to the Chinese institutions and students. The workshop was also an effective platform to engage the Chinese universities to forge strategic collaboration in the years to come.
Finally, visits to the international development organizations (Ford Foundation, Oxfam) in Beijing proved to be fruitful in further discussions on research priorities. The land researchers’ network of the Land Portal Initiative that IALTA is building up with the International Land Coalition (ILC) and many other international development organizations was of great interests to many, with whom future cooperation was envisaged.
Professor of Public Order Law Michel Vols has been awarded a prestigious ERC Starting Grant for his research into the extent to which national and international laws protect people from eviction.
A proposal on the legal constraints and opportunities for the European Union to further its ambitions as an international diplomatic actor has been selected by the European Commission.
Second-year LLB students Reet Varma & Helena Rasch and LLM Public International Law students Jessica Appelmann & Dominique Mollet represented the University of Groningen at the 8th European Human Rights Moot Court Competition.