Warwick Law shines in Singapore
Dr Mohsen Al Attar, Associate Professor at Warwick Law School, travelled to Singapore last month to deliver a guest lecture at Singapore Management University (SMU). He was welcomed by Professor Madhev Mohan into his Business and Human Rights seminar and given the opportunity to speak with the students about corporate social responsibility, the topic of the week.
The visit comes as Warwick Law School’s first student has flown out to Singapore to study their year abroad at SMU as part of our recent exchange agreement with the institution.
The session was headed by Mr Thomas Thomas, CEO of Association for Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Network. He spoke about the ASEAN community, detailing the diversity of the member nations, their economic practices, and the various initiatives launched in pursuit of human rights objectives. He spoke at length about the successes and failings of the regimes; regaling students with the good, the bad, and the ugly of state practices as they pertain to human rights protection (and violation).
Mohsen followed shortly after and based on pre-circulated material by Professor Sally Wheeler, spoke about the flaws of CSR:
1. It is more PR than substance, devised as a strategy to deflect criticism of corporate violations of human rights rather than to address the bad behaviour of corporations;
2. Bad behaviour is inevitable in a publically-listed company as upper management have a legal duty to maximise shareholder value but only a moral responsibility to uphold CSR and human rights; and
3. In the new global economy, corporations are globally diffused and their activities carried out across a vast network loosely held together by sub-contracting arrangements with local providers, all of which act to insulate corporate executives from liability – they can always claim ignorance.
Mohsen told us, “Thomas was a tough act to follow, and I was unsure if the students would be receptive to my teaching style… happily they listened intently throughout, taking copious notes. I was truly rewarded when multiple students approached me post-lecture to pose follow up questions. Each question was more insightful than the next, with students probing me further on the critique and proposing ways to address them.”
He added, “It was a terrific experience. I love the law school – SMU boasts a beautiful building located next to a nature preserve and a river while still being in the city centre – and I was impressed with the quality of the students. I do hope that some SMU students avail themselves of the exchange opportunity and join us in Coventry. Likewise, I encourage Warwick students to pursue a stint in Singapore.”
Warwick Law School has multiple exchange agreements with elite institutions across the world not just Singapore. Some of our students are presently studying at schools in Australia, Brazil, Finland, Germany, Hong Kong, Hungary, Italy or the Netherlands. Find out more about our study abroad options.
Whilst in Singapore, Mohsen also particpated in the Study Europe Fair. Organised by the Asia delegation for the European Union, the fair aims to provide locals with an interest in pursuing undergraduate or postgraduate studies at a European university, the opportunity to meet with member-state representatives. The fair saw an impressive turnout.
When asked about the popularity of the Warwick stand at the fair, Mohsen commented, “It seems that despite Brexit fears, British universities remain attractive. This was only further verified during my presentation to nearly one hundred young people and their parents. The audience listened closely to my description of the joys, qualities, and realities of British education. Of course I gave a special shout-out to the University of Warwick and to our law school.”
When discussing his trip to Singapore, Mohsen exudes enthusiasm about what the future holds and the quality of students we could potentially recruit to Warwick. “All in all, it was a satisfying experience! Most of all, I walked away reassured at the magnetism of Warwick and of British universities among elite students. Indeed, virtually all who approached us were high-calibre prospects and promising individuals. Their questions were insightful and their ambition evident. I am certain that the addition of even just a handful of those I spoke with would greatly enrich the quality of our institution and the experience of our current students.”
If you were in attendance at the fair and have any further questions, please don’t hesitate to get in touch on firstname.lastname@example.org