“Vietnam/War/Memory/Justice: A Conversation with Viet Thanh Nguyen,” a very special February 14 event

nguyenGeorgia Law’s Dean Rusk International Law Center is honored to host a roundtable on the legacies of the U.S.-Vietnam War as part of next week’s visit to Athens by Viet Thanh Nguyen, a University of Southern California professor whose first novel, The Sympathizer, won the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction.

nothingEntitled “Vietnam/War/Memory/Justice: A Conversation with Viet Thanh Nguyen,” the roundtable will take place from 4 to 5:30 p.m. this Tuesday, February 14, in the Larry Walker Room on the 4th floor of the law school’s Dean Rusk Hall.

The topic of Tuesday’s roundtable is drawn from Nguyen’s 2016 work, Nothing Ever Dies: Vietnam and the Memory of War, which itself was nominated for the 2016 National Book Award for Nonfiction. (Nguyen’s newest book, a short-story collection titled The Refugees, was published yesterday.) In Nothing Ever Dies, Nguyen writes:

“Memory, like war, is often asymmetrical.”

The same may be said of justice; in particular, of efforts to right the wrongs done during armed conflict and similar extreme violence. These issues of transitional justice, memory, and war will be explored in the roundtable, at which Nguyen will be joined by:

tiana-mTiana S. Mykkeltvedt, Georgia Law alumna, member of the Dean Rusk International Law Center Council, and partner at the Atlanta law firm Bondurant Mixson & Elmore, who was flown out of Vietnam as an orphan in April 1975 in what came to be known as Operation Babylift; and

amannDiane Marie Amann, Associate Dean for International Programs & Strategic Initiatives and Emily & Ernest Woodruff Chair in International Law at Georgia Law, who also serves as the International Criminal Court Prosecutor’s Special Adviser on Children in & affected by Armed Conflict.

Roundtable space is limited, and registration, available here, is recommended. For more information, contact ruskintlaw@uga.edu.

Our Center is especially pleased to sponsor this event, given that our namesake, the late Dean Rusk, a Georgia Law professor, and served as U.S. Secretary of State during the first years of the Vietnam War. The Georgia Asian Pacific American Bar Association, the Vietnamese American Bar Association of Georgia, and Georgia Law’s Asian Law Students Association are cosponsoring the roundtable. It will be the last in a series of Global Georgia events hosted by other university units, most notably the Department of Comparative Literature and the Willson Center for Humanities and Arts:

► 4 p.m. Monday, February 13, in the university Chapel, Nguyen will deliver the 3d Annual Betty Jean Craige Lecture of the Department of Comparative Literature, entitled “Nothing Ever Dies: Ethical Memory and Radical Writing in The Sympathizer.” For information, contact Professor Peter D. O’Neill at pon@uga.edu.

► 6-7 p.m. Sunday, February 12, at Avid Bookshop, 493 Prince Avenue in downtown Athens, a book-signing of The Refugees.

U.S. immigration law subject of timely article by Professor Jason A. Cade

cade_profileAn especially timely account of U.S. immigration law has just been published by Georgia Law’s expert on the subject, Professor Jason A. Cade.

Entitled “Judging Immigration Equity: Deportation and Proportionality in the Supreme Court,” the article  examines the Supreme Court’s deportation and immigration enforcement jurisprudence over the last 15 years, arguing that the Court’s decisions have been increasingly animated by a proportionality norm.

Here’s the abstract:

Though it has not directly said so, the United States Supreme Court cares about proportionality in the deportation system. Or at least it thinks someone in the system should be considering the justifiability of removal decisions. As this Article demonstrates, the Court’s jurisprudence across a range of substantive and procedural challenges over the last fifteen years increases or preserves structural opportunities for equitable balancing at multiple levels in the deportation process. Notably, the Court has endorsed decision makers’ consideration of the normative justifiability of deportation even where noncitizens have a criminal history or lack a formal path to lawful status. This proportionality-based lens helps unify the Court’s seemingly disparate decisions regulating the immigration enforcement system in recent years. It also has implications for deferred action enforcement programs such as the DACA program implemented by President Obama in 2012. The Court’s general gravitation toward proportionality analysis in this field is sound. Nevertheless, there are drawbacks to the Court’s approach, and the cases are probably best seen as signals to the political branches that the deportation system remains in dire need of wide-ranging reform.

The article, which appears at 50 UC Davis Law Review 1029 (2017), is available here.

1st Amendment Professorship to Sonja West, globally noted media law expert

cropsonja_lawrencefulbrighthu13oct16Very pleased to note the appointment of Georgia Law Professor Sonja R. West, an internationally recognized expert in media law,  the inaugural holder of the Otis Brumby Distinguished Professorship in First Amendment Law. News of the position, which is shared by the law school and the University of Georgia Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication, came in a university press release issued just before the holiday break.

Of her appointment, Georgia Law Dean Peter B. “Bo” Rutledge said:

“Sonja is a distinguished scholar in media law, and it is fitting that she be named to this professorship, which is devoted specifically to teaching and research about the First Amendment.”

As noted in a previous Exchange of Notes post, last October West represented Georgia Law in Budapest, Hungary, where she:

► Spoke on “Improving Press Coverage of the Courts through Communication” at the European Judicial Conference on Courts and Communication.

► Met with Budapest-based alums and representatives from the Hungarian-American Fulbright Commission, with whom she discussed Georgia Law’s Master of Laws (LL.M.) degree.  West’s at that meeting the photo above; to her immediate left is Dr. Jessica Lawrence, who earned her J.D. from Georgia Law and now is a Lecturer at Budapest’s Central European University. Surrounding them are Fulbright representatives: at far left, Krisztina Kováts, and to the right of West, Dr. Károly Jókay, Körtvélyesi Zsolt, and Molnár Gábor.

► Visited the law faculty at Pázmány Péter Catholic University. In fact, West has accepted an invitation to return to that Budapest university in June, to take part in a Free Speech/Media Law Discussion Forum.

Georgia Law’s International Law Colloquium returns for Spring 2017

intl_law_colloquiumThe International Law Colloquium, a time-honored tradition at the University of Georgia School of Law, returns this spring semester with another great lineup of global legal experts.

Led by our newest holder of an international law professorship, Harlan G. Cohen (prior posts), this 3-credit course consists of presentations of substantial works-in-progress on a variety of international law topics by prominent scholars from other law schools. Since the series began in 2006, students have read and written reaction papers on the scholars’ manuscripts, and then discussed the papers with the authors in class. Other Georgia Law and university faculty often have joined in these dialogues.

We at the Dean Rusk International Law Center are pleased to support this colloquium, thanks to the work of Kathleen A. Doty and Britney Hardweare, respectively, our Center’s Director of and Administrative Assistant for Global Practice Preparation.

Presenting at the Spring 2017 Colloquium are:

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◄ January 20: Duncan B. Hollis, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and James E. Beasley Professor of Law at Philadelphia’s Temple University Beasley School of Law, Constructing Norms for Global Cybersecurity.

kingsbury► January 27: Benedict Kingsbury, Murry & Ida Becker Professor of Law and Director of the Institute for International Law and Justice at New York University School of Law, Contested Megaregulation: Global Economic Ordering After TPP.

todres◄ February 3: Jonathan Todres, Professor of Law, Georgia State University College of Law, Human Rights Education: Traversing Legal and Geographical Boundaries.

jain► February 10: Neha Jain, Associate Professor of Law and McKnight Land-Grant Professor, University of Minnesota Law School, Radical Dissents at International Criminal Courts.

puig◄ February 24: Sergio Puig, Associate Professor of Law and Director of the International Economic Law and Policy Program at the University of Arizona James E. Rogers College of Law, Blinding International Justice.

donde► March 15: Professor Javier Dondé Matute (LLM 1998) of the National Institute of Criminal Sciences, Mexico City, Mexico, a Spring 2017 Georgia Law Visiting Scholar, Criminal Responsibility as a Founding Principle of International Criminal Law.

durkee◄ March 24: Melissa J. Durkee, Assistant Professor of Law, University of Washington School of Law, The Global Norms Market.

achiume► March 31: Professor E. Tendayi Achiume, Assistant Professor of Law, UCLA School of Law, International Law and Xenophobic Anxiety.

Professor Harlan Cohen, Georgia Law’s newest chair in international law

cropcohen_harlan_columns2012Our new year begins with a new chaired professor in international law.

Georgia Law Professor Harlan G. Cohen was named the inaugural holder of the Gabriel M. Wilner/UGA Foundation Professorship in International Law in a university press release issued just before the holiday break.

Cohen has been a vital member of our international law curriculum since joining the Georgia Law faculty in 2007. His courses include international law, global governance, international trade, international business transactions, and U.S. foreign affairs and national security law, and human rights, and he is widely published on those topics.

Recognition of his expertise and prominence in the field is evident: Cohen is Managing Editor of AJIL Unbound, the online platform of the American Journal of International Law, and his service to the American Society of International law includes membership on ASIL’s Executive Council, co-chairing the 106th Annual Meeting and ASIL-Southeast, and membership on the Executive Committee of ASIL’s International Legal Theory Interest Group. Cohen also has co-chaired the Junior International Law Scholars Association and is an elected member of the American Law Institute.

His role in promoting the work of our Dean Rusk International Law Center includes mentoring globally minded students, leading the International Law Colloquium, inviting speakers and organizing conferences, and serving as faculty advisor to the Georgia Journal of International & Comparative Law. These mentorship and advising roles are like those undertaken by the namesake of the new chair: Gabriel M. Wilner (1938-2010), whose long career on Georgia Law’s faculty included service as Associate Dean and holder of the Kirbo Chair of Law. The professorship was created through a gift from Kenneth Klein, a former student of Wilner who is a partner at Mayer Brown in Washington, D.C., and matching funds from the UGA Foundation.

In the words of Georgia Law Dean Peter B. “Bo” Rutledge:

“Harlan has established his reputation as an intellectual leader in international law. His appointment as the inaugural holder of the Wilner/UGA Foundation Professor in International Law will help further the law school’s commitment to providing our students with a strong foundation that will assist them as they join the legal profession in law, business or public service – in the United States as well as abroad. The law school is grateful to our alumnus Ken Klein and the UGA Foundation for their support of this professorship.”

National Jurist magazine features Georgia Law LL.M. alum Tobias Henke

henkecompThe new edition of the magazine National Jurist features a recent stellar graduate: Tobias Henke, who earned his Georgia Law LL.M., or Master of Laws, degree in 2015.

Henke, who earned his undergraduate law degree from Goethe Universität Frankfurt am Main, Germany, is now back in Frankfurt, practicing as an Associate in the Capital Markets Group of the international law firm Taylor Wessing.

As described on p. 34 of National Jurist’s Fall 2016 issue, he landed the position based on a interview at the International Student Interview Program in New York City – the University of Georgia School of Law belongs to a select group of law schools that participate in this annual LL.M. careers event.

Henke told the magazine that he applied here based on the recommendation from a law firm where Henke had clerked, Orrick Herrington Sutcliffe:

henketobias_sep2016‘Since I always wanted to go back to the U.S., I decided to apply for an LL.M. program. My former boss at Orrick was, by coincidence, an alumnus of [University of Georgia] and spoke highly of this school. Because I really liked Atlanta, it was obvious for me to come back to Georgia.’

Georgia’s a draw for Germans, the magazine reported:

The state of Georgia is home to more than 17,000 Germans and 450 German companies.

Henke cited an additional reason for preferring Georgia Law:

‘LL.M. students are always included in classes and viewed as equals.’

Details on our LL.M. curriculum and application process here.

“Africa’s time”: Team members reflect on SE Model African Union summit

logoIt’s our pleasure today to publish this post, jointly written by the Georgia Law team that last week was named Best Delegation at the Southeast Model African Union, and so is eligible to compete in the 35th annual national competition in February in Washington, D.C. The 6 students on the team each won individual achievement awards at the event, which was hosted by the University of Georgia African Studies Institute and cosponsored by the law school’s Dean Rusk International Law Center. They write:

Introduction

“This is Africa’s time.”

So said the keynote speaker and Honorary Consul of Sierra Leone, Cynthia Jarrett-Thorpe, to delegates at the 20th Annual Southeast Model African Union, This was the beginning of what turned out to be an eventful competition. Over the course of the next 2-1/2 days we would be tasked with working together in various negotiations, in order to provide solutions to complex situations on behalf of the country we represented, the Republic of Niger.

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► Rebecca Wackym left, listens to statement by delegate from South Sudan

Rebecca Wackym, 1L, Executive Council

My role as a delegate for the Republic of Niger in the Executive Council was not only as an advocate for the interests of Niger, but also a servant to the interests of the entirety of the African Union. As a member of the Executive Council, I was not required to draft or advocate for a resolution. I introduced a hypothetical crisis situation caused by Boko Haram to the committees, who then had to create resolutions to solve the crisis.

Regarding the process, I had to work with other delegates in the Executive Council to first decide on how to setup the crisis in a way that would guide them to a solution while simultaneously, allowing each committee to achieve the goals set forth in the Union’s Agenda 2063.

The Executive Council ferociously debated how we wanted to achieve these goals in the context of the Boko Haram crisis. For example, we contemplated:

  • Would we ask the Committee on Peace and Security to involve states with more resources to combat Boko Haram?
  • Would we rather rely on our own resources, even though we had far less than the Americans?

I had to advocate for a position that struck a balance between safety and sovereignty of Niger and the goals of the Agenda. We eventually negotiated an agreement to ask the committees to formulate plans in a tiered manner, which put the African Union’s sovereignty first, but allowed for support outside of the Union.

However, our work did not end with tasking the committees. We also were tasked with creating a final report, called a “communiqué.” We had discretion to adopt an entire committee’s resolution, or certain parts, or to scrap the entire resolution and draft our own. At this point, we divided into groups so that we could discuss the edits, if any, that we wanted to make to the resolution. I was asked to look over the Committee on Democracy, Governance, and Human Rights’ resolution because the other delegates believed that my whole t3 months in law school afforded me more expertise in regards to judicial reform in the African Union. Drafting the communiqué might have been one of most hectic couple of hours, but with exceptional teamwork we churned out a comprehensive report.

My takeaway from this experience is that the diplomatic system works well when all the parties decide put the interest in solving the crisis above their own individual interests. The Executive Council ran efficiently when we all saw each other as colleagues working towards a common goal rather than a competition of whose interest would be given most prominence.

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From left, team members Shummi Chowdhury, Amanda Hoefer, and Chanel Chauvet

Amanda Hoefer, 1L, Committee on Democracy, Governance and Human Rights

I was fortunate enough to be able to participate in the 2016 Southeastern Model African Union Competition held at UGA, with the support of both the Dean Rusk International Law Center and the UGA Department of African Studies. I represented the Republic of Niger in the Committee on Democracy, Governance, and Human Rights, and helped with the drafting of four resolutions, addressing a wide spectrum of issues, including the scope and jurisdiction of the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights, the use of transitional justice as a means of compensating victims of human rights abuses, the reduction of corruption throughout the continent, and the African Union’s role in promoting economic growth throughout the diaspora.

The most rewarding aspect of this experience was working with undergraduate students with little experience in mock diplomacy; having participated in Model United Nations in high school, I was able to use my rusty knowledge of parliamentary procedure to help steer my fellow delegates to a rewarding and enriching resolution. Diplomacy competitions are an incredible opportunity to flex your teamwork muscles and to collaborate on creative solutions to complex problems; in a word, competitions like SEMAU are empowering. I enjoyed watching those in my committee who had never participated in a similar competition become increasingly confident in their public speaking and critical thinking skills, and loved having a chance to dig into complicated diplomatic problems myself.

I also enjoyed having the chance to learn about African culture and politics, having never had a particular opportunity to immerse myself in the topic before this competition. While preparing for the competition during the Fall semester of my 1L year was a bit stressful, my inner-diplomacy nerd jumped at the opportunity to do some research about Niger and the AU, and to delve into the complex policy problems that we were asked to face. I’m incredibly grateful to both Georgia Law’s Dean Rusk International Law Center and the University of Georgia African Studies Institute for their patronage and support in this endeavor, and look forward to competing again at the national competition in February.

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On behalf of Niger, Johann Ebongom (center) joins in discussion

Johann Ebongom, LLM, Committee on Economic Matters

The Model African Union is known as a competition in which student delegates represent their selected countries and develop an understanding of African issues from an African perspective. Practically speaking, the Model African Union is a simulation of the African Union Summit which occurs twice a year in Africa.

At the 20th annual Southeastern Model African Union competition, I had the opportunity to participate in the Economic Matters Committee. We convened on the afternoon of November 3, to discuss on two main agenda topics:

  • Promoting a balanced and inclusive economic growth: aspirations and implementation
  • Promoting a sustainable ecosystem and climate resilient economies: aspirations and implementation

The objective was to debate and engage in diplomatic principles and standards to ultimately resolve major economic issues currently harming African countries. Some of these issues include concerns of water resources and agricultural development, management of mineral resources, debt relief, energy and development, multilateral trade negotiations, and food security. The committee created a resolution that represented the majority opinion of the different countries present. Following negotiations, we presented the resolution to Heads of State and Government during the General Assembly on the last day of the event for their final approval.

The Delegation of Niger recognized that despite a sustained agricultural productivity growth, a large number of households continue to face food insecurity and malnutrition problems due to on-site effects of soil degradation and the mismanagement of revenues from the exportation of the continent’s natural resources. At this point, it was clear that our challenge would not only be that of enhancing our agricultural production to meet the increased food demands of the expanding population, but also to focus on the judicious use of soils in order to promote a sustained productivity in the foreseeable future.

Niger promoted the implementation of a tax, on the total revenue from natural and agricultural resources exportation, which would be deposited and managed at the level of the African Union through an African Fund for Development. The funds would then be distributed back across the continent to support integration-related projects which will lead to the inclusive economic growth of the continent. Niger supported this motion using the slogan:

“Give what you own for the benefit of the continent!”

Niger also reminded the delegation about the importance of a collective solution that would benefit the 54 African countries. We also urged the honorable house to vote for a resolution that will take into account the effects of the current Boko Haram security issue, which directly affects the economy of a number of western African countries, including Nigeria, Cameroon, Chad, and Niger. Niger was leading the negotiations and after long hours, a compromise was found! The resolution was adopted by a 2/3 majority of the house.

I had the honor of being promoted by the organizers of the competition as a “Parliamentarian Dais” for the rest of the session. As such, my role was to ensure the respect of for the rules and proceedings during the working session, and advise the Chair in maintaining the parliamentary order during the debates. I also had the opportunity to fill this role during the General Assembly of Heads of State and Government on November 5, 2016.

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► Nelly Ndounteng, right, seeks to intervene on behalf of Niger

Nelly Ndounteng, LLM, Committee on Social Matters

The 20th Southeast Model African Union (SEMAU) competition was a noble experience for me. I am delighted to have represented the law school as the Republic of Niger in this conference. As the representative for the Committee on Social Matters, I was tasked with the responsibility of providing a solution to:

  • Empowering the African Woman and Eliminating All Forms of Violence and Discrimination (Social Economic, Political) Against Women and Girls.
  • Eliminating Youth Unemployment and Promoting the Creativity, Energy and Innovation of African Youth as the Driving Force Behind the Continent’s Transformation.

I was especially excited to work on the sub-topic that dealt with African women because it required the committee to resolve matters concerning hardship, inequality and degradation suffered as a result of male counterparts.
It was my first experience using parliamentary procedure, and I must say I enjoyed every bit of it. During the first session, I decided to observe the proceedings in order to see how procedure was carried out. Once I was comfortable, I began participating, and later, took the lead, which made the whole experience more exciting for me.

My sincere appreciation goes to the founder of SEMAU, the organizers and most importantly, the Dean Rusk International Law Center for allowing me this great opportunity to promote Africa’s development.

Shummi Chowdhury, 1L, Committee on Pan-Africanism and Continental Unity

The Southeast Model African Union Competition (SEMAU) proved to be an eventful and rich learning experience to kick off my 1L career. I participated on the Pan-Africanism Committee as the delegate for the Republic of Niger. One of the important tasks we faced on the first two days of the competition was to read and scrutinize the resolutions from all the countries represented, and then engage in debate over the merits and drafting of the resolutions. Having been exposed to the concise and effective style of legal writing, I took an active role in drafting the two main consolidated resolutions that passed through our committee. This competition helped me reflect on my newly acquired skills and for the first time appreciate that all the work spent on my courses thus far actually have substantial application outside the classroom.

nigerThe part I enjoyed most during the competition however was in the negotiations that occurred. Everyone had a resolution, or an idea that they wished to promote. For me, I focused on human trafficking as it affects Niger, particularly in light of the Boko Haram crisis. In order to get my ideas drafted into a resolution, I had to work the room and speak to different delegates to find common ground and similar interests. I thoroughly enjoyed the process of negotiating and coming together with distinct parties to draft a resolution that satisfactorily acknowledged differing goals in a coherent manner.

Though the competition occurred in November, which is a very busy time for 1L students, I have no regrets and am thankful to have had the opportunity to participate. It really forced me to manage my time, so that I could focus on the competition and also stay on top of all the schoolwork and studying that is required to be successful in law school.

Chanel Chauvet, 2L, Committee on Peace and Security

As the delegate for the Republic of Niger in the Committee on Peace and Security, I was engaged in the intricate task of educating and debating my fellow delegates about the impact of Boko Haram and al-Qaeda within my state. According to the United Nations, more than 20,000 people have been killed, and 2.2 million people have been internally displaced as a result of the Boko Haram and al-Qaeda.

My primary focus however, involved the potential remedies that the African Union could provide through the use of education. One of the solutions that Niger emphasized in accordance to the “Achieving Freedom From Armed Conflict, Terrorism, Extremism and Intolerance by 2063: Aspirations and ecowasImplementation” topic was the implementation of international humanitarian law (IHL) within school and military curriculums. The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) have considered how treaties related to IHL can be strengthened through the legal system, as detailed here; however, the organizations have yet to explore these other avenues of implementation. Educating the youth about the legal protections and obligations of parties involved and affected by conflict would ultimately serve to generate respect for treaties that promote IHL and prevent conflict.

Perhaps, what was the most difficult part about the committee process for me was the need to use of parliamentary procedure in order to communicate my points effectively to the other delegates. This required extensive knowledge of the rules and procedure, in order to redirect the committee to certain point favorable to my country. Fortunately, our team had laboriously practiced parliamentary procedure in the weeks leading up to the competition, so we were well-prepared.

Conclusion

Overall, we are grateful for this experience, and pleased with our team performance. We managed to earn the “Best Delegation” award, in addition to numerous individual awards.

We would like to express our sincere gratitude to the Dean Rusk International Law Center at the University of Georgia School of Law and our faculty advisor for extending this opportunity to us. We would also like to thank the African Studies Institute at UGA and its Director for his assistance.