It is with great pleasure that I add my contribution to this Festschrift in honor of my friend and law school classmate, Hans Smit. From our early days at Columbia, I have been privileged to enjoy his keen intelligence, wit, worldly view, and force of personality. Equally apparent from the start was his strong belief that the rule of law should govern human conduct, and that conflicts should be resolved by peaceful means. Given such personal qualities, what wonder that Hans Smit, in the course of a rich professional life, has contributed so much as teacher, practitioner, writer, respected international arbitrator, and guiding spirit of The American Review of International Arbitration.
As in the postwar world of our law school days, much of the world is in transition, both in terms of economic systems and in forms of governance. Countries previously insulated behind artificial barriers are striving to gain access to modern technology and participate more fully in our global economy. Commercial agreements of every type, many of them joining former competitors with newfound business partners all around the globe, are negotiated daily. Never before has there been a greater need for prompt and effective resolution of transnational disputes.
In the modern-day world, it is through arbitration rather than litigation that most international commercial disputes are resolved. Efforts to perfect an effective world-wide system for arbitral dispute resolution have been particularly productive in recent years.