An artist's rendering shows the entrance of the new Center for International Commercial Arbitration and Mediation that will open along with Georgia State University's new College of Law building in 2015. 

Registration is now open for the third annual conference of the Atlanta International Arbitration Society, or AtlAS, which this year will focus on Africa

The conference, titled “Enhancing Business Opportunities in Africa: The Role, Reality and Future of Africa-Related Arbitration,” is to be held as part of the yearlong Africa Atlanta 2014 series of events and is to feed into a symposium on doing business in Africa conducted by the U.S. Commerce Department in Atlanta. 

The Nov. 3-4 AtlAS event is expected to draw judges, attorneys, arbitration practitioners and others to Atlanta to discuss the practice of resolving legal disputes related to doing business on the continent. The business forum will occur on Nov. 5-6, rounding out a week of Africa-related programs.  

Since 2011, AtlAS has been working to position Atlanta as a hub for international commercial arbitration and mediation, capitalizing on its connectivity and strong legal environment for dispute resolution, bolstered by a 2012 change to the Georgia law that was championed by the society. 

Now, the society is one of the main driving forces behind the opening of a new state-of-the-art arbitration and mediation center next year within the new Georgia State University law school. See more about the center here

Beyond legal concerns, location, culture and convenience are major factors in determining where to hold arbitration hearings. With its heritage communities such as a large Nigerian population and  Delta Air Lines Inc.’s nonstop flights to Africa, AtlAS leaders believe Atlanta can carve out a niche as the preferred location for disputes involving African parties. 

“This will be the first AtlAS conference to focus on a single region, which is an indication of how we view the strength of the opportunity, given the growing economic importance of the region and the extensive economic, cultural and transportation links between Africa and Atlanta,” said Glenn Hendrix, managing partner of Arnall Golden & Gregory LLP and a key driver of the AtlAS initiative. 

That much was evident in their pitch to 20-plus African journalists who visited Atlanta in late July. The law firm of Miller & Martin PLLC hosted them for an evening reception in which officials described the concept of the arbitration society and invited them to attend the AtLAS event. See photos here

The event will take place at the Buckhead Marriott Hotel and Conference Center, which will also be the venue for the Doing Business in Africa event. 

To register or to learn more about AtlAS, visit

To learn more about Africa Atlanta, visit

For more coverage of Atlanta’s ties with the continent, visit

As managing editor of Global Atlanta, Trevor has spent 15+ years reporting on Atlanta’s ties with the world. An avid traveler, he has undertaken trips to 30+ countries to uncover stories on the perils...