On 25 October, the China-EU School of Law (CESL) participated in the open lecture titled “Trust: the Fabric of Societies and the International Community”.
The talk was offered to a packed lecture hall by Prof. Anne van Aaken from the University of Hamburg, who is an Alexander von Humboldt Professor and the Chair for Law and Economics, Legal Theory, Public International Law and European Law.
Trust, as an issue that affects almost all human relationships– families, organizations, use of technologies, markets and politics– was the departure point for the discussion. Prof. van Aaken pointed out, in particular, the growing mistrust in international relations, as well as the growing need to direct attention to trust and trust-enhancing mechanisms on all levels of human cooperation.
When discussing why trust matters, Prof. van Aaken referred to numerous empirical research undertakings in the area. In doing that, she also discussed various determinants of trust. A part that particularly attracted the attention of the audience was the issue of trust in various national institutions, such as the parliament, the government, the police or financial institutions – portrayed by the example of a few selected jurisdictions. This was an interesting moment for the audience to reflect upon what level of trust they have in the institutions in their own home jurisdictions and what are the reasons behind particular levels of trust or mistrust.
The second part of the lecture concentrated on the aspect of trust in international relations. Prof. van Aaken discussed, among others, barriers to that type of trust and possible ways of overcoming them.
The lecture was well attended by both CESL students and faculty and left the audience with many interesting questions to contemplate going forward.