“Courage, Community, Excellence” – Bucerius Law School Celebrates the Beginning of a New School Year

On Friday, September 23, 2016, Bucerius Law School held their annual Academic Celebration at the Hamburg Chamber of Commerce, which launches the new school year, welcomes new students, and features guest speakers on various cutting-edge topics over the course of the day.

Professor Michael Göring, Chairman of ZEIT-Stiftung Ebelin und Gerd Bucerius, took a moment at the beginning to honor former Hamburg Mayor Dr. Henning Voscherau, who recently passed away. Professor Göring recognized his lifetime of service, including serving on the board of the ZEIT-Stiftung, and acting as Chairman of the Board of Trustees for Bucerius Law School. Then Prof. Göring welcomed the students, in particular the 116 new law students and their parents, the 44 international participants in the Bucerius Master of Law and Business program, and the 94 international exchange students from partner law schools around the world. He recalled the founding motto of the law school  – “We want to make a difference” – and called o the new students to take this mission to heart. Meinhard Weizmann, the new CEO of the law school, joined Prof. Goering at the podium. “Together,” said Weizmann, “we will begin out first year. Let us build for the future.”

Wolfgang Ischinger, Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany and Chairman of the Munich Security Conference, gave a keynote speech on the theme “Is the World Order Deteriorating? – Security Challenges for Germany, Europe, and the World”. According to Amb. Ischinger, the European project is threatened. It is not inconceivable that Europe would regress towards nationalism and chaos. But Europe is a political and economic necessity; no European nation is capable of providing internal and external security on their own. Breaking apart the European Union could be as difficult and dangerous as the collapse of the Soviet Union 25 years ago. Amb. Ischinger continued, arguing that there are several reasons why the disintegration of Europe has become possible: the failure of global governance, the strategic withdrawal of the United States from European crisis diplomacy, the new role of Russia, and the growth of crises around the world. He stated that in the face of these global developments, Europe’s only choice is further integration. But for this is needs a more common foreign and security policy, adjustment of some policies to withstand pressures in times of stress or crisis, and more courage and initiative. He stated his hopes for an energetic Europe, one that took on stronger political and moral responsibility and evolved its thinking and action to encompass a larger horizon. Ischinger summed up his remarks by noting that the EU is a remarkable success story, something to be proud of, but that it was also in danger. He concluded with a quote from the Belgian political Paul-Henri Spaak, one of the founding fathers of Europe, illustrating the need for futher European integration: “In Europe there are only two types of states: small states and small states that have not yet understood that they are small.”

Before the formal enrollment ceremony, the President of the University, Professor Dr. Dr. h.c. mult. Katharina Boele-Woelki addressed the new students. She began by saying that although there isn’t any one stereotypical Bucerius student, there are common characteristics and values that connect the students, profesors, and administrative staff, as well as friends of supporters of the law school: courage, sense of community, and excellence. These core values are not only the foundation of the school’s philosophy, they are fulfilled and given life by the people at Bucerius. Being courageous is being ready to break new ground with a positive attitude and a gaze towards all the possibilities; it means welcoming diversity and appreciating different strengths; it means enabling others and setting a good example. Respect, responsibility, support, and trust define community: “We are open and honest, stand up for others, and don’t allow anyone to solve their problems alone. We share our knowledge with each other and with others.” She added that Gerd Bucerius is the model for excellence. He set high standards for himself. Excellence also means expecting the best from ourselves, being eager to learn and perform, and being enthusiastic about the study of law. President Boele-Woelki then concluded by saying, “Take advantage of the many possibilities and initiatives here, and show and develop your personality! We offer you every opportunity at Bucerius Law School.”

Following these talks, several academic awards were given. Dr. Mehrdad Payandeh, LL.M. (Yale) was appointed as a professor at Bucerius Law School, where he will also be the Chair of International Law, European Law, and Public Law Professor Dr. Dana Beldiman handed out the certificates in “IP, Media and Technology Law”, for the students who completed the program. Professor Dr. Christian Bumke, President Boele-Woelki, and Federal Minister A.D. Professor Drs. h.c. Manfred Lahnstein honored last year’s doctoral graduates.