LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
ACADEMIE DE DROIT INTERNATIONAL HAGUE ACADEMY OF INTERNATIONAL
DE LA HAYE LAW
I appreciated you letter of May 5 regarding the work of the ASIL U.N. Decade of International Law Section and the interests of The Hague Academy of International Law. It has taken a few weeks to respond because I wanted to consult with the Academy's Secretary-General Daniel Bardonnet and with other members of the Curatorium including the American member, Peter D. Trooboff of Washington, D.C.
From the perspective of The Hague Academy, I regret to say that I am rather doubtful about the value of the Hague-like summer course in New York. As you know, the Academy is situated in The Hague because of the many international courts and institutions that are headquartered in that city. Students are able not only to attend the Academy program but also to take advantage of The Hague's many international law resources. Our Professors for the summer course also view the lecturing and working in The Hague as a unique opportunity. I might also note that it has taken many years to develop the complex administrative structure in The Hague that makes possible housing with families and the other unique features of the Academy program that ensure that the cost remains reasonable for students and recent graduates.
I believe that the Curatorium of the Academy and its Administrative Council would view a Hague-like program in New York as a competitor and would not welcome this development. The Academy devotes considerable effort to encouraging governments, foundations and private educational and charitable institutions throughout the world to support the Academy and give scholarships that permit needy and qualified law students to attend the Academy's summer course. Indeed, our Secretary-General and Treasury have spent much time on this task in recent years. They have been moderately successful in promoting new fellowships in an environment of every-increasing competition for such funding. I fear that another Academy-like program in New York would seriously detract from these worthwhile and intensive fund-raising efforts since many of the same potential sources of assistance would be involved.
In response to your question about the U.N. Decade, I should mention that for its program in the summer of the Year 2000, the Academy has decided to organize a special program that will seek to present an overview of the state of private and public at the turn of the century. For this program, the Academy's Curatorium has selected the topics and is inviting lecturers based on their recognized expertise for those topics. Our hope is that the lectures from these courses will not only be a valuable addition to the Academy's Recueil des Cours but, if possible, will also allow for publication of separate volumes for use by scholars, students and others. As you will understand, this is a significant innovation for the Academy and promises to be an especially exciting opportunity for lecturers and for students who attend the Year 2000 summer program. We would be happy if you and other American law professors will encourage your students to attend.
I hope that you will understand the reasons for my responding to your inquiry in what may appear to be a somewhat discouraging fashion. I have long been a supporter of the Society and the U.N. Decade but I hope that other avenues should be found for the activities of the important ASIL Section that you chair.
Judge ________ *
As co-chairs of the 1998 Annual Meeting Program Committee, we invite you to join us in planning for the ASIL's annual spring gathering. The dates of the meeting are April 1-4, 1998 at the ANA Hotel in Washington, DC.
The Program Committee met at the end of May to consider themes, format, and panel topics. A list of the 1998 Program Committee members is attached. Time was also spent during our meeting on how to include the Interest Groups and other groups in our program planning. Here is how you can take part.
Meeting Format. In addition to our usual panel schedule, President Charles Brower has encouraged us to explore using the time normally reserved for luncheon speeches for small group activity, including Interest Group activity. Therefor, 2998, we invite the Interest Groups to develop eight luncheon programs for groups of up to 40 per program. We are working with the hotel on a buffet arrangement to make food available at a central location and on pricing. These and other administrative arrangements will follow later.
Time and space have also been set aside for Interest Group business meetings in the mornings on the usual sign-up basis. Details will be made available separately from Tillar House.
For now, we would ask you to send in proposals for a briefing or other substantive session to fill a 90-minute slot from 1:00 to 2:30 pm. To ensure consideration of your group's proposal, these must be submitted to us through Charlotte Ku at Tillar House no later than August 31, 1997. A reply form is attached for your use.
Meeting Theme. After exploring various possible themes for the Annual Meeting, the Committee has decided to focus on the implications of changes in the number, identity, interests and roles of the actors involved in the international legal system, with a particular focus on non-state actors. Although international law has long been state-centric, new actors, including individuals, NGOs, transnational corporations, supranational institutions, and transnational networks of individuals, groups, corporate entities and government bureaucrats, are playing an ever increasing role in the development of international law and the international system. The Program Committee would like individual panels to explore various aspects of this changing international legal environment. In the process, the Committee also hopes to pay special attention to a number of important international law anniversaries, including the 50th anniversaries of three major international human rights instruments: the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the American Declaration of the Rights and duties of Man, and the Genocide Convention.
Program Proposals: Content and Format. Not all panels must address the general theme described above, but decisions on Interest Group program proposals will be made in part on the extent to which those proposals are consistent with the overall meeting theme. The Committee particularly welcomes proposals that do not simply cover ground that has already been well covered in previous Annual Meeting programs. One possibility of interest to the Committee would be a proposal to conduct an "insider briefing" on recent events of particular importance for Interest Group members.
The Committee appreciates the suggestion already received form the UN Decade of International Law Interest Group concerning assessment of the work, accomplishments, and frustrations of the UN Decade of International Law. Because this subject has been covered in prior annual meetings, the Committee would be particularly interested in a proposal that would address the subject in a new way, perhaps with a focus on non-state actors in keeping with the Annual Meeting's general theme.
In developing your proposal, the Committee encourages you to consider innovative formats for the conduct of program sessions. The standard format in the past has been three or four speakers and a moderator. While the format is likely to continue to predominate, the Committee is interested in alternative format, such as structured conversations among a group of experts; limited-attendance workshops designed to analyze a particular problem or issue with the active participation of all who sign up; mock trials/hearing/appellate arguments on particular cases, real, or hypothetical; etc. One caveat: The Program Committee has decided that Interest Group officers should not participate as panelists or speakers in program events organized or sponsored by their Interest Group, for the same reasons that Program Committee members are barred from participating directly in any program event [emphasis in the original].
If you wish to discuss either a proposed topic or a proposed alternative format in advance of submitting a proposal, please feel free to contact either of the Program Co-Chairs. We appreciate your interest and support, and we look forward to hearing from you.
Dorinda Dallmeyer David Wippman
[Editor's Note: The Annual Program Committee's above letter seeks Panelist information from IG's wishing to propose a panel for the 1998 Annual Meeting of the ASIL. Because of the ASIL's deadline, and request for input in the last UNDIG newsletter to group members, I will be submitting our input to the Planning Committee in August. For the purpose of timely publishing this newsletter, and thereby seeking your input, I have left the names of the proposed panelists portion of the following fax submission blank--while indicating the identity of the NGOs which I believe would be suitable for participating on our panel at the 1988 Annual Meeting. (It is my hope that Judge Macdonald will forgive me for including his name below, without his having had the opportunity to respond before this newsletter goes to print!)]
FAX TO: Charlotte Ku (202) 797-7133 AUGUST 1998
FROM: Bill Slomanson, Chair, UN Decade Interest Group
RE: 1998 Annual Meeting Interest Group Programs
I intend to propose the following Interest Group Program for the ASIL 1998 Annual Meeting:
Moderator: Judge R. St. J. Macdonald, European Court of Human Rights
Panelist: Member, International Committee of the Red Cross
Panelist: (6th Comm. Member(?), role of NGOs in influencing the U.N.'s agenda)
Panelist: (NGO participant, 1995 Beijing World Conference on Women)