On May 25 and 26, 2015, the Chinese (Taiwan) Society of International Law (CSIL) held its yearly conference in Taiwan. One of the participants in the event was the Tang Prize, who promoted the Rule of Law at the event, which is one of the four fields in which the prize is awarded. On the day following the event, the Tang Prize was visited by many of the leadership of American Society of International Law (ASIL) and International Law Association (ILA) from branches all over the world, including ASIL President Prof. Lori Damrosch of Columbia Law School, ILA German-branch President Prof. Dr. Torsten Stein, ILA Bangladesh-branch President Dr Kamal Hossain, ILA South African branch President Prof. Hennie Strydom, and the president of the CSIL Prof. Chun-I Chen. The visit is hoped to begin years of engagement and cooperation between the foundation and the international law community.
Tang Prize Foundation CEO Jenn-Chuan Chern and Tang Prize Board Member C.V. Chen met with the representatives at the foundation offices, where they introduced the Tang Prize and its work in interstitial years, including participating in international academic conferences and holding lectures with its inaugural laureates. Also in the works are agreements with some of these international conferences to hold laureate lectures, much like the ten-year agreement signed with Experimental Biology (EB) this March.
To underline the importance of the prize, CEO Chern repeated the words of its founder Dr. Samuel Yin, who said that the prize is meant to recognise and celebrate outstanding contributors in each of the four fields. Chern added that the five contributors chosen for the first Tang Prize are exemplary cases of the spirit that the prize represents and are worthy of study and emulation.
Prof. Damrosch praised the essential qualities of the Tang Prize, stressing that the Rule of Law category in particular shows the importance of the rule of law as a fundament of peace and equality, and that incorporating rule of law in the four categories will only help the world to realize law’s importance and value. Damrosch further commended Albie’s selection as the first laureate in Rule of Law as a perfect choice, adding that the international law community across the board recognize his role as a protector of the rule of law and as an opponent of unjust, undignified systems of government.
C.V. Chen mentioned that Albie was not always so infatuated with Taiwan. But after arriving here for the first time several years ago and seeing and speaking with its people, Albie came to believe that Taiwan is now a country with a well-entrenched rule of law and democratic system of governance. Chen believes that so long as the Tang Prize can continue to select awardees of the same caliber as Albie, it will continue to foster trust in the rule of law among young people everywhere.
Hennie Strydom, president of the South African branch of the ILA, expressed its interest in the 10 million NTD (333,000 USD) research grant included in the 50 million NTD prize. C.V. Chen explained that the purpose of the grant is to direct funds back into the field of the laureate by way of research plans or other activities, such as fellowships for young researchers. The grant invests back into the community, tilling the soil for future development all the four fields.
Looking to the youth, ILA Bangladesh-branch President Dr. Kamal Hossain saw the positivity in the prize. He said that the recipients of the prize may be able to have positive influence over the younger generation, and that Albie, who had sacrificed much to help the victims of racial injustice in South Africa, was a perfect example of the kind role model needed in today’s world. Hossain stressed that if the world is to become one in which tolerance and mutual respect are constants, then we must look to people like Albie to act as an example to our youth.