Dear Mr. Chairman, Distinguished Guests, Colleagues, and Friends:

It is my privilege to welcome you today to Shanghai Jiao Tong University as we come together to witness the establishment of the Asian Law Center.

First, let me thank everyone of you for attending. Many of you have travelled great distances to be here and, if not for your continued commitment to social and legal issues in Asia, then we would not be here today.

We are here today not only to celebrate the positive trajectory of Asian legal systems over the past several decades, but also to reaffirm our dedication to the advancement of these same principles for many years to come.

I can imagine of no better place to undertake the important work set before us than the one we have chosen. Located in one of the oldest institutions of higher learning and the most dynamic city of China, the Asian Law Center of Shanghai Jiao Tong University, with the support of practitioners and scholars like you, will make meaningful contributions to both the region and the rule of law.

The Center currently comprises of three research offices, i.e. the Office on the Law of East-Asian Countries, the Office on the Law of Southern and South-Eastern Asian Countries, and the Office on the Law of Central and Western Asian Countries. The research fellows are both from inside and outside of the Koguan Law School, Shanghai Jiao Tong University.

Our work begins with academic exchanges, international symposiums and publications of the research work. Specifically, we may accept a few visiting scholars to deliver their speeches or to do some research programs at our Center either for their sabbatical leave or for a short period. We will also send our research fellows abroad for collaborations with other universities of Asian countries. The Center will organize one or two international symposiums on a specific topic each year. The papers of the participants will be published afterwards. Meanwhile, we may also accept some research programs entrusted by governments and private companies.

Dear friends, scholars have said that Europe was the political and economic heart of the 19th century and that America took up this mantle in the 20th century. From this train of thought to its natural conclusion, Asia will be the new powerhouse of the 21st century. With the largest population and biggest gross domestic production on this planet, Asian countries have made and will make significant contributions to the human civilization. We are humbled by the opportunity before us and look forward to the road ahead. Today the Asian Law Center and the KoGuan Law School of Shanghai Jiao Tong University lay yet another important stone on this journey. Let us unite together for the political, economic and social progress of Asia. Thank you.

Speech Delivered by Professor Jiaxiang Hu, Director of the Asian Law Center, at the Inauguration Ceremony on March 22, 2013