USAI-Szymanski ROL Program Updates


Dear Friends: August 31, 2019

This is an update on our U.S.-China programs that immerse top law students in each other’s systems. We hope this investment in future leaders will help further develop China’s legal system and support U.S.-China relations.

US Program. For 12 straight summers, we have selected and hosted small groups of top, English-fluent Chinese law students for four weeks in Washington, D.C. A total of 59 students have participated. They viewed legislative and judicial proceedings and had interactive meetings with officials across the U.S. government, including (totals) 125+ Members and 750+ staff of Congress, 190+ administration officials, and 115+ presidentially appointed judges. They averaged six meetings per day during their month in D.C. When not in meetings, they were visiting our museums and landmarks, joining our cultural and social events (e.g., July 4 fireworks, Nats games, backyard BBQs, birthday parties), and gaining lifelong impressions and friends. Please see our host list and photo gallery at Our 12th annual “DC Program” concluded on July 19.

For the students, this program is a window into the U.S. system. For the U.S. hosts, it is a window into today’s and tomorrow’s China. Many U.S. hosts, including congressional leaders in both parties, have sent us letters of support. See our web page, above. Some U.S. leaders have made special contributions: Senators Durbin, Hatch, and Inouye; Secretaries Carson, Chu, and LaHood; Justice Alito; and others mentioned in the attachments below.

The idea for this program arose during my service as chief of staff for the Small Business Committee and the U.S.-China Interparliamentary Exchange for the U.S. House from 2002-2007. During our many U.S. delegations to China, every meeting with college students was a home run for all involved. The idea grew after I moved to China in 2007 and began teaching part-time at Chinese law schools. The program started with one of my students in 2008 and USAI adopted it in 2011. I returned to the U.S. in 2014 and still guide the program as a USAI advisor.

China Program. In 2016, we added a program for top, Chinese-fluent U.S. law students to visit China for two weeks each May, to view Chinese proceedings and meet with students, professors, and officials. Our 4th annual “China Program” concluded on June 1, 2019. It included students from Duke, GWU, Michigan, Penn, and Yale. A total of 16 American students have now participated. See

Alumni from both programs now serve in academia, government, NGOs, corporations, and law firms. See alumni letters, below. Law firms have been active hosts in both programs (e.g., 30+ lawyers from Jones Day). All participants agree that both programs serve our countries’ agreed goals to “strengthen cooperation in the field of law and exchanges on the rule of law.” See (2011) and (2009).

If you would like to participate in these programs, please contact me at

With kindest regards,

J Matthew Szymanski

Senior Advisor, US-Asia Institute

Highlights with Special U.S. Hosts and Letters from Alumni