In a historic finish, a team of American University of Afghanistan (AUAF) law students placed 2nd out of 17 universities from 11 countries in this year’s 7th Annual Middle-East Vis International Commercial Arbitration Moot held at Kuwait International Law School on February 11, 2017.
The competition promotes the study of international commercial arbitration through the preparation and presentation of written and oral arguments by teams of students from universities across the world.
AUAF came in second to perennial competitor Dar Al Hekma University School of Law and Diplomacy in Jeddah. Participating teams included universities from Afghanistan, Bahrain, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, and UAE.
AUAF is the only Afghan university to have qualified for this major international moot court competition every year since the competition opened to Afghanistan three years ago. And AUAF is the only Afghan team that has advanced to the final stages of this competition.
This year’s team consists of six law students – Gharsanay Amin, Munira Aziz, Sadaf Baseer, Ameer Fahim, Niyaz Mohammad Nickkhah, Samiullah Sharifi – along with student coach Sirat Khalid Haidari and faculty coach Mehdi Hakimi.
The AUAF team received the Spirit of the Competition Award for good reason: the team’s success did not come easily. Following the terrorist attack on AUAF in August 2016 and subsequent campus closure, the team had to improvise, holding meetings and practice moot sessions in various corners of Kabul. They met in students’ homes and in restaurants with wifi connections. Power outages and poor internet connections plagued each online session. And, despite tremendous risks, some team members travelled every week from their home provinces to Kabul to attend the weekly practice moot session.
AUAF’s success in the Vis moot competition is unprecedented for Afghan universities competing in major international moot court competitions. Last year, the AUAF Vis moot team made history in both the regional and international rounds. The regional competition in Bahrain featured 13 teams from universities across 8 countries. AUAF turned in strong team performance, placing 3rd overall. In the international rounds in Hong Kong, out of the 115 universities competing, AUAF was among the top 36 teams advancing to the elimination rounds. The Vis tournament organizers praised AUAF’s performance as “one of the most extraordinary achievements in the history of the Vis moot”.
This year’s Vis moot team is continuing the university’s tradition of success in international moot court competitions. Following its runner-up finish in the regional competition, the team will now travel to Hong Kong in late March to compete and make another historic run in the international rounds.