Students & Campus
28 July 2022


Students from all over the world, including a team from the Geneva Graduate Institute, convened in Geneva from 28 June until 2 July for the John H. Jackson Moot Court, a simulated hearing of the World Trade Organization (WTO) dispute settlement system. It was the first in-person Oral Round of the Competition since the start of the pandemic.

From 23 to 27 February, a team from the Institute – consisting of master students in International Law, Beichen Ding and Aleksandr Potemkin, and master student in International Affairs Nwukabu Adaora Abama – competed against teams from all over Europe for a limited number of places in the Final Oral Round in Geneva.

After an excellent performance in the preliminary round, our team reached the regional semi-finals, thereby automatically qualifying for the Global Round. After a solid performance, they lost to the eventual winner. There were other wins, however, with Beichen clenching the “best oralist” award for the semi-finals; teammate Nwukabu won the same award for her performance in the preliminary round.

"The John H. Jackson Moot Court was a great learning experience", noted Nwukabu. "With my exceptional teammates and coaches, I gained an in-depth understanding of the WTO dispute settlement system and its responsiveness to the challenges of international trade today".

In the Final Oral Round, which took place from 28 June until 2 July at the University of Geneva and the World Trade Organization (WTO), our team competed in the preliminary stage against the University of Zurich (eventual winner of the Competition) and the National Law Institute University, Bhopal. Despite their solid performance, the Institute's team was unable to qualify for the quarterfinals.

"After two-years of online sessions, it was exciting to return to in-person pleadings and it was a satisfying and rewarding experience for the team", said Marios Tokas, a Teaching Assistant in the Institute's International Law Department who supervised the Institute's moot court team. 

The team was coached by master student in International Law, Matheus Frederico Paes Garcia, and International Relations/Political Science alumnus Sebastian Pantin Urdaneta.

"Thanks to the professional support from our coaches, supervisor and the law department, we have acquired practical experience and knowledge which will push me forward along the road of trade law", said Beichen.

"The moot court has been an interesting challenge, both in terms of formulating sound legal argumentation and, perhaps more importantly, presenting our arguments in a compelling and coherent way at oral pleadings before the panelists", underscored Aleksandr Potemkin. 

The John H. Jackson Moot Court, formerly known as ELSA or EMC2, is the largest moot court on WTO and trade law. In its 20th year, it was renamed to pay tribute to John H. Jackson, one of the chief architects and founding fathers of WTO trade law.

The call for applications for a new team representing the Geneva Graduate Institute at the moot court's 21st edition will be sent soon.

Pictured from left to right: (top row) Marios Tokas, Teaching Assistant of the International Law Department; Matheus Frederico Paes Garcia, Master in International Law; Sebastian Pantin Urdaneta – Master in International Relations/Political Science

(bottom row) Aleksandr Potemkin, Master in International Law; Nwukabu Adaora Abama, Master in International Affairs; Beichen Ding, Master in International Law (concurrent with BA/MA program with China Foreign Affairs University)