May 21, 2020

Iraq: Videoconference for the development of an online course on “Project Management in Oil and Gas Exploration and Production”

Most of Iraq’s hydrocarbons are located in the province of Basrah. In spite of these mineral resources, unemployment is high in the province. To increase the likelihood that university graduates will be hired, since the summer of 2019, CLDP, in close cooperation with the University of Houston/Petroleum Technology Initiative (PTI), has been conducting a program to equip students from four Basrah universities with the skills sought by International Oil Companies (IOC) that operate in the province. A key skill required from new hires by the IOCs is competence in project management. To this end, PTI, under a contract with CLDP developed and taught in Houston in August 2019, a two-week course on “Project Management in Oil and Gas Exploration and Production”. This course was taught to delegations from four Basrah universities: Basrah University, Southern Technical University, Basrah University for Oil and Gas, Basrah Oil Training institute. Each university was supposed to send one professor and three students to Houston. Unfortunately, for reasons beyond their control, three of the professors were unable to attend the two-week course in Houston, a course that was very well received by the lone professor and by all the students. Therefore, at CLDP’s request, PTI will now develop an online version of this course, to be used by the universities of the professors who could not go to Houston in August 2019. This development will take place in July and August 2020. On May 21, 2020, the U.S. embassy in Iraq, PTI, Iraq’s Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research (MoHESR), four Basrah universities, and CLDP, had a videoconference to define priorities for the online course to be developed. 

As PTI develops course material, other videoconferences may be organized.

March 10, 2020 - March 14, 2020

Middle East, South Asia and Eastern Europe: CLDP Conducts 10th Annual Pre-Moot Competition

Amidst the global impact of the coronavirus, the Annual Willem C. Vis Moot in Vienna and Hong Kong was cancelled. More than 400 teams from over 80 countries had anticipated to compete in the premier program this April. In response, on March 10-14, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, CLDP, in cooperation with the University of Pittsburgh’s Center for International Legal Education and the Bahrain Chamber for Dispute Resolution, successfully converted the 10th Annual Middle East Vis Pre-Moot into a virtual Vis Pre-Moot. The virtual pre-moot was the first to showcase a virtual program that was able to connect participants from around the globe simultaneously, overcoming technical obstacles that could impede connections. Additionally, CLDP and its partners developed virtual tools that improved mooting practices, such as virtual moot rules, automatic scoring, and electronic grade submissions. The pre-moot program provided a series of live sessions, recorded lectures, interactive virtual breakout sessions, and practice rounds. The highlight of the 5-day virtual program was a two-day competition, consisting of general rounds and elimination rounds, along with a “virtual gala.” The winner of the event was the Royal University of Colombo. More than 100 attorneys from around the globe volunteered their time to serve as advisors and arbitrators. The Vienna organizers have now called on CLDP to assist them in converting this year’s global moot into a virtual event. CLDP will now be working closely to support the Moot organizers in Vienna next month in designing and implementing the global event so as to enable the 400+ registered teams to submit their required oral arguments for competition. For more information, please visit:

October 20, 2019 - October 22, 2019

United Arab Emirates: CLDP Completed Phase I of the 10th Annual Middle East Vis Pre-Moot

On October 20-22, in Abu Dhabi, CLDP held Phase I, which is the official launch, of the 10th Annual Middle East Vis Pre-Moot. The Vis Moot is one of the most prestigious commercial arbitration competition in the world, which is held annually in Vienna and Hong Kong. CLDP’s Middle East program is a multi-phased program aimed to prepare student participants in the areas of written and oral advocacy in order to help them prepare for the competition. For Phase I, CLDP hosted around 16 teams from 9 countries, including, the UAE, Qatar, Tunisia, Iraq, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, Egypt, Bahrain, and Saudi Arabia. Students dissected and analyzed this year’s problem and created an outline of their written argument. The Vis Moot program helps promote alternative dispute resolution in the Middle East and South Asia, which in turn helps promote a better business enabling environment by creating better contract enforcement mechanisms in the region.

July 29, 2019 - August 9, 2019

Iraq: CLDP Conducts Oil and Gas Program for Four Basrah Universities

From July 29 to August 9, CLDP and the University of Houston/Petroleum Technology Initiative (UH/PTI ), conducted at UH a program focused on “Project Management in Exploration for, and Production of Hydrocarbons."

This program was developed over the course of two years at the behest of the US Consulate in Basrah. The governorate of Basrah is the location of Iraq’s main hydrocarbon resources and the center of Iraq’s oil and gas activities. (As a result of past CLDP activities, there is a sister city agreement between Basrah and Houston). The Consulate is now closed because  of  security incidents that occurred during demonstrations in Basrah. One of the reasons for these demonstrations was the  high level of unemployment among Basrah graduates, a key factor of political instability. The Consulate asked CLDP to develop this program in order to equip Basrah petroleum engineering students with the knowledge and skills required for employment with International Oil Companies (IOC) and with international oil service companies operating in Basrah. The IOC consider that Basrah graduates have good technical skills but lack project management skills.

The two-week course in Houston was intended for delegations from four Basrah universities with petroleum engineering programs. (A professor and two students from each one of the four universities). Despite the fact that the professors from three of the universities were unable to attend for visa reasons, the program ended on a positive note, thanks to the unique expertise of the PTI faculty and to the exceptional quality of the work done by the Iraqi students. A draft MoU outlining next possible steps was drafted by CLDP after consultations with UH and with Iraqi ministries.

June 25, 2019 - June 27, 2019

MENA: Regional Alternative Dispute Resolution Conference

On June 25-27, 2019, CLDP organized a regional conference on mediation in Tunis, Tunisia, bringing together more than 110 participants from the justice sectors of Morocco, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Iraq, Kuwait, and Algeria. The conference focused on the use of mediation to resolve commercial disputes with sessions facilitated by subject-matter experts from the UN Commission on International Trade Law, the International Chamber of Commerce, JAMS Mediation, Arbitration and ADR Services, and current and former U.S. judges. Topics included the role of courts in encouraging mediation, the legal framework supporting mediation, enforcement of mediated settlements, mediation rules and practices, and standards for the conduct of mediators. Additionally, each delegation presented on recent developments in mediation in their countries: Tunisia, Saudi Arabia, and Bahrain are considering adopting new mediation statutes. CLDP hopes that this program will lead to increased recourse to mediation as a tool to resolve contractual disputes and ultimately contribute to a more attractive legal environment for cross-border business in the region.

May 6, 2019 - May 10, 2019

Iraq: CLDP Organizes Consultations in Houston For Four Chancellors of Basrah Universities

Just as Houston is, in the U.S., the center of the oil and gas sector, in Iraq, Basrah is the center of the oil and gas sector. In fact, for this reason, as a result of past CLDP work, there is now a sister-city agreement between Houston and Basrah.

From May 3, 2019, through May 9, 2019, at the behest of the U.S. Consulate General in Basrah,  CLDP organized in Houston, at the time of the Offshore Technology Conference (OTC), consultations for the chancellors of four Basrah universities that have programs focused on oil and gas: Basrah University, Southern Technical University, Basrah University for Oil and Gas, and the Basrah Oil Training Institute. On the U.S. side, the delegation was led by Consul General Timmy Davis. While the delegation had several OTC-related activities, the core of the consultations was focused on potential cooperation between the Basrah universities and the University of Houston.

OTC-Related Activities

The four chancellors attended OTC and, there, had meetings with international oil companies and oil service companies present in Basrah. The delegates also took part in events organized on the sidelines of OTC, in particular events organized by the Bilateral U.S.-Arab Chamber of Commerce.

Potential Cooperation with the University of Houston

There is significant political instability in Basrah, because the Basrah province, while potentially very wealthy owing to its vast resources in oil and gas, is beset  by difficulties, in particular a high level of unemployment and drastic water pollution. A key reason for the level of unemployment is that, often, universities do not provide their graduates with the knowledge and skills required by industry and, as a result, these graduates cannot find jobs.

CLDP has a special mandate from the Department of State to ensure that there is, in Basrah, close cooperation between academia and industry, to ensure that academia provides graduates with the knowledge and skills needed by industry, in particular in the oil and gas sector.  

At the University of Houston, College of Technology, there is an institute, called the Petroleum Technology Initiative (PTI). PTI’s mission is “ to equip students and experienced professionals with knowledge and skills needed to find a solution for challenges facing Energy Industry, enhance their technical and professional competence and ability to create more value to the Companies.” CLDP has been in contact with PTI for several years, initially for work conducted in Ukraine.  During the May 2019 consultations, CLDP organized two half-days of meetings between PTI and the Basrah delegation. The outcome of these meetings was a decision by the delegation and PTI to organize, at PTI, in August 2019, a two-week course for a delegation of professors and students from all four universities. The focus of this course was to be  on “Project Management in Exploration for and Production of Oil and Gas”. This topic was chosen because, based upon surveys conducted with international oil companies by the U.S. Consulate General in Basrah and by CLDP, proficient though Basrah petroleum engineering graduates are in terms of technical skills, they lack project management skills.

In April 2019, in preparation for the May consultations,  CLDP had met at the University of Houston with other colleges of potential interest to Basrah. This was the case in particular with the Cullen College of Engineering and with the Hilton College of Hotel and Restaurant Management. At both colleges, CLDP had identified potential areas of cooperation with Basrah universities.  Water pollution is a major challenge in Basrah and the Cullen College has unique research capabilities in water pollution remediation. Also, now that ISIS has been defeated, Iraq’s tourism sector will expand and will need well-trained university graduates; the Hilton college is among the best in the U.S. for hospitality and hotel management training.

During the May consultations, CLDP organized meetings for the Basrah delegation, at the University of Houston, with the Cullen College of Engineering and with the Hilton College of Hotel and Restaurant Management. As a result of these meetings:

  • A process for generating joint proposals for research in water pollution remediation was agreed upon between the delegation and the Cullen College of Engineering.
  • A process for the Hilton college to provide support for a college of tourism that will be created at Basrah university was agreed upon.

In their evaluations of the consultations, evaluations conducted  in Consul General Davis’ presence, the delegates praised very highly the quality of the consultations.

April 11, 2019 - April 18, 2019

CLDP to sponsor Middle East Law Schools to compete in the 26th Annual Willem C. Vis International Commercial Arbitration Moot

On April 11-18, 2019, CLDP sponsored two Middle East law schools: Iraqyia College of Law and Faculty of Legal, Political and Social Sciences of Tunisto participate in the 26th Annual Willem C. Vis International Commercial Arbitration Moot (Vis Moot) in Vienna, Austria. 

April 4, 2019 - April 6, 2019

Iraq: CLDP facilitates strategic investment planning for provincial investment commissions for the Southern Governorates of Iraq

On April 4-6, CLDP led a delegation of investment commissioners from Iraq’s key southern governorates to participate in the FDI conference hosted by the World Association of Investment Promotion Agencies (WAIPA).  The conference provided attendees with the necessary resources on investment promotion and investment market trends.  Moreover, the conference provided a unique opportunity for Iraq, a current WAIPA member, to network with other promotion agency officials from similar economies, and share lessons learned, as well as, success stories.  On the margins of the workshop, CLDP, guided the delegation and conducted consultations on their respective investment plans and priorities.

March 11, 2019

Iraq: CLDP Leads Franchising Conference in Baghdad

On Monday, March 11, 2019, in Baghdad, Iraq, at the behest of the U.S. Consulate General in Basrah, CLDP led a conference on franchising at the headquarters of the Iraqi agency in charge of foreign investment, the National Investment Committee (NIC). The purpose of the conference was to highlight the success already achieved by CLDP in terms of franchising by U.S. firms, particularly in the Baghdad and Basrah provinces, so that the audience, composed of Iraqi firms from other provinces, could understand how to become franchisees of U.S. firms. Iraqi media covered the seminar extensively, quoting U.S. Consul General Timmy Davis on his comments regarding business partnerships and starting new franchises. The NIC noted that companies like Burger King, McDonalds, Pizza Hut, and Domino’s are interested in entering the Iraqi market in Kurdistan and the Southern provinces. Franchise agreements between U.S. franchisors and Iraqi franchisees benefit both groups, granting franchisors access to the Iraqi market and creating revenue and opportunities for management experience for franchisees. For the last five years, CLDP, working in close cooperation with FCS, has created opportunities for Iraqi firms interested in becoming franchisees and built the capacity of these Iraqi firms to enter into durable franchising agreements with U.S. franchisors.

March 5, 2019 - March 9, 2019

MENA Region: CLDP Hosts the 9th Annual Middle East Pre-Moot

On March 5-9, CLDP, in partnership with the Royal University for Women (RUW), the Bahrain Center for Dispute Resolution, Mena Chambers Bahrain, and the Center for International Legal Studies of the University of Pittsburgh, hosted the 9th Annual Middle East Vis Pre-Moot at RUW in Riffa, Bahrain. The competition brought together 17 teams consisting of more than 100 students from Afghanistan, Bahrain, Egypt, Iraq, Kuwait, Lebanon, Myanmar, Saudi Arabia, Sri Lanka, Tunisia, and the United Arab Emirates. The University of Colombo from Sri Lanka won the competition and the Royal Institute of Colombo, also from Sri Lanka, took second place. Before the competition, CLDP’s Vis Moot mentors and coaches conducted a three-day training. This five-day program was designed to prepare students for the Willem C. Vis Moot Competition (“the Vis Moot”) that takes place annually in April in Hong Kong and Vienna. The Vis Moot is the most prestigious international moot on commercial arbitration where more than 400 teams from over 100 countries compete on oral and written advocacy. The Vis Moot experience helps equip the participating students with the skills necessary to handle commercial business disputes and bolsters the rule of law in their respective countries.