Tolu Obamuroh elected as Young ICCA Co-chair

In an exciting election, Paris-based Nigerian national Tolu Obamuroh has been elected as the next Young ICCA Co-chair. 


The two candidates up for election were Tolu and Geneva-based Indian national Rahul Donde. Both candidates received massive support resulting in one of the most popular Young ICCA Co-chair elections to date. We’d like to take this opportunity to congratulate both Tolu and Rahul on this and to thank them for their patience during this busy election period.


Tolu greeted the news of his election with enthusiasm, saying “leadership is tested in service and I will work with the other co-chairs in order to continue to fulfil our mission of opening the doors of international arbitration to students and young practitioners across the globe.” He will serve as Co-chair alongside Gardar Gunnarsson and Nhu-Hoang Tran Thang, whose terms end in May 2018 and January 2019 respectively.


Tolu will take office on 16 June, succeeding current co-chair Sylvia Tonova. We’d like to thank Sylvia for her contribution to Young ICCA over the past two years and wish her well in all her future endeavours.


The latter half of 2017 promises to be a busy and productive time for Young ICCA. We encourage you to keep a lookout for Skills Training Workshops in your region and, if you’re interested in the Young ICCA Mentoring Programme, to keep an eye on the website for details about the next cycle of the Programme.


Interested in getting to know the new Co-chair? Check out his profile below.


Tolu Obamuroh   Tolu Obamuroh                               

Age: 35


Hometown: Ike-Bunu, Nigeria


Current City: Paris


Current Employer: White & Case


Education: Columbia Law School; Obafemi Awolowo University


How did you get involved in international arbitration?

My first real introduction to international arbitration was when I took Professor George Bermann’s class on Transnational Litigation & Arbitration during my LLM program at Columbia Law School. He appointed me as his Research Assistant on the Restatement (Third) of US Law of International Arbitration, and that was the beginning of my real interest and career in this field. I was also lucky to have Professor Catherine Rogers as my SJD supervisor – she literally ignited my interest in international arbitration by guiding my study of the subject and helping me to discover my career prospects in the field. I understand there is an ongoing argument between them about who gets to take the credit for my interest in the field.


What is your favourite virtue? Integrity


What are your favourite qualities in another person? Honesty and humility


What is your chief characteristic? Tenacity


What is your main fault? Impatience


What is your favourite occupation? Neuroscience – If I had to start over and choose a different field, I would study the complex nature of the human brain and be endlessly fascinated by its complexity


What is your idea of happiness? Making others happy


What is your idea of misery? Life without God, coffee or books– in that order


If not yourself, who would you be? A presser since, like many other people, I don’t like shirts that are not properly ironed


Where would you like to live? New York City


Who is your favourite prose author? Charles Dickens but I also like Chimamanda Adichie


Who is your favourite hero/heroine in fiction? Kunta Kinte (Roots)

Who is your hero in real life? Bill Gates for his commitment to hands on philanthropy and Barack Obama not so much for his politics but for his intellect and personal decency


What historical person do you most dislike? General Sani Abacha for his mind-boggling corruption and assassination of political opponents as the past Head of State of Nigeria


What is your favourite name? Amani (it’s a Swahili name that means peace)


What do you hate the most? Corrupt politicians and leaders who steal from their people


What is your natural talent? Making friends and making my friends find the best in themselves


What is your favourite arbitration-related decision? The dissent of Chief Justice Roberts (BG v. Argentina, March 5, 2014) where he disagreed with the overly commercial approach of the majority decision, highlighting the distinct nature of treaty arbitration. He considered that the BIT merely set out a unilateral offer to arbitrate subject to certain requirements being met by the investor. He somewhat agreed with the Court’s decision that the arbitral award should be upheld, but not with the reasoning


Who is your favourite arbitrator? Gary Born – for his mastery of international arbitration generally and for how hard he prepares when sitting as an arbitrator


Who is your mentor? The woman who taught me the value of character and how to keep going strong in the face of adversity – my mother


What is your motto? To be great is to be humble, to teach is to learn and to lead is to serve


What do you hope to contribute to Young ICCA as co-chair? I hope to work with the other co-chairs, bringing my experience and network of relationships around the globe to bear in providing leadership for the organization its existing endeavours and in thinking creatively about new directions for Young ICCA. I have worked as an event coordinator since 2014, and I firmly grasp the vision of both the parent organization and Young ICCA.


I will work with other leaders to strengthen the Practical Skills Training Workshops. In addition to the format currently being used, we are in the process of adopting a mock case format, which proved to be highly successful at the Milan and Brussels workshops. I would also like to implement a survey of participants at the end of every workshop to provide concrete feedback in order to make improvement in subsequent editions.


I hope to work with other co-chairs to introduce an “opening statement” competition, using a historical case. Participants can submit by video and we would have an open online voting. This innovation will greatly promote advocacy skills among our members.


We will work to expand the two-year mentoring programme to help more students and young practitioners learn from established practitioners and arbitrators. We will equally strengthen the scholarship partnerships with the University of Miami, MIDS Geneva and Tsinghua Law School as our commitment to education and scholarship.