So, my trip is winding down. Yesterday we took this picture as I presented certificates to each of the students, and what extraordinary students they were.
They asked me to describe the differences between them and American students and I hesitated a long time before answering. It was a real surprise, a real pleasant surprise, in 2008 and again this year to realize these students are as bright, as inquisitive and as challenging as any I've known in America. The more senior law students would match against any of the brightest law students in US law schools.
The methods of teaching are different here, and so it takes several days for the students to adapt to the idea that there is never a simple right answer to most questions and to adapt to having to argue with me and others in defense of their answers. But, once freed, it is katy-bar-the-door.
I like to believe the students both enjoy the class and gain something special from it. I am certain they leave with much more respect for the american lawyer and the dedication those american lawyers have to the system of justice. Today at a final lunch with the dean and senior faculty we had a lengthy discussion about Russian corruption that became a way of life as government took-over the lives of the people. They all commented on how long it will take to overcome that mentality, but they believe it has begun. (I heard the same thing from a judge two days ago.)
Candor does not come naturally.
Several former students stopped by and today I am going to an art exhibition by one of my former pupils (the one who presented me with an amazing fish made from the petals of siberian flowers in 2008). Hearing from former students--now that's a satisfying moment.
As before, I was a bit choked-up saying good-bye. This is an extraordinary place with extraordinary people. That they have shared some of that with me--that too is extraordinary.
I hope that I will have an opportunity in the next several days to talk about several events--an art museum that is unknown to the outside world, and some thoughts on today. But that will wait until I am on the way. Until then....Iceland willing...