May 23, 2014
Tulane Law School Dean David Meyer and Professor Herb Larson meet with Baku State University Rector Abel Maharramov, Law Faculty Dean Amir Aliyev and other Baku State faculty during a visit to expand a partnership between the schools focused on energy law.
The Flame Towers complex adds a striking futuristic element to the skyline of the ancient city of Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan.
The ancient city of Baku has become a modern oil and gas boom town, famous for its Flame Towers hotel-office complex and for hosting the immensely popular Eurovision Song Contest in 2012.
Now, the capital of Azerbaijan is also the site of pivotal collaborations between Tulane Law School and representatives from energy-rich nations in the Caspian Sea region.
Tulane, a world leader in education on energy, environmental and maritime law, launched its Caspian Regional Initiative in 2012, partnering with Baku State University to share expertise and provide training for faculty and legal professionals in Azerbaijan. This month, a delegation of Tulane leaders returned to meet with Baku State leaders and diplomats, including U.S. Ambassador Richard Morningstar and the Kazakhstan ambassador to Azerbaijan to plan expansion of the partnership.
The visit included a day-long conference for practitioners exploring legal issues including environmental impacts of international energy projects; groundwater testing before oil and gas development; security surrounding hydrocarbon transport; human rights enforcement through corporate regulation; and using arbitration to resolve maritime disputes.
A similar conference that Tulane law faculty conducted in 2013 provided the first-ever professional continuing legal education in Azerbaijan, a nation tucked between Russia and Iran, with its eastern border fronting the Caspian Sea.
Like other Caspian nations, Azerbaijan is rapidly developing energy resources and has emerged as a key strategic partner of the United States. Tulane undertook the partnership in 2012 at the invitation of the U.S. State Department, and ExxonMobil and Chevron have since provided seed money to sustain and expand the program.
In addition to sending Tulane faculty to Baku to teach intensive short courses in energy, environmental and maritime law, the program brings law faculty from Baku State University to Tulane for advanced study. The first two Baku State faculty members are completing LLM studies at Tulane this summer, and additional students from Azerbaijan will arrive for study at Tulane in August.