Thoughts on ASIL annual meeting, by Sohn Fellow Johann Ebongom

Johann Ebongom, one of several Georgia Law students who traveled to Washington last month as Louis B. Sohn Professional Development Fellows, reflects below on that experience. This Saturday Ebongom, a lawyer from Cameroon, will receive his Master of Laws (LL.M.) degree at our commencement ceremony.

From April 12-15, I, along with University of Georgia School of Law classmates, volunteered at the 111th annual meeting of the American Society of International Law in Washington, D.C. What a great networking occasion for young students interested in the legal management of international affairs and the development of a stronger and more efficient international rule of law.

I was so excited to be offered an opportunity to be a privileged observer of one the world’s biggest and most prestigious international law gatherings, particularly in a time when most nations have adopted new policies towards the protection of their interests and the security of their citizens. With the Brexit in Europe, the Syrian crisis in Middle East, the North Korean nuclear tests, the relationship between African countries and the International Criminal Court, and the recent foreign-policy-related decisions of the current President of the United States of America, no need to say that this year’s ASIL meeting was a decisive one! As an LL.M. student at Georgia Law who has a keen interest in global affairs, I could not ask for a better way to strengthen my analysis and understanding for future research.

For three days, I had the great fortune to listen and interact with experts, scholars, judges, and practitioners coming from various institutions, such as the United Nations, the World Bank, the International Criminal Court, and the U.S. Department of State, among others. Several people shared with me valuable career advice. This experience was further highlighted by an in-depth exchange with Fatou Bensouda, Prosecutor of the ICC, on the inevitable collaboration between the ICC and the soon-to-be-established African Court of Justice, which will lead to a reform of the current hierarchical organization of the international criminal justice system. Also, I enjoyed meeting Georgia Law alums – whom I’ve found always willing to assist.

The conference principally questioned the values of international law at a time when the world is subject to several events that might well compromise the value of international frameworks most nations had once believed in. The main highlighted issue seems to reside in the application or implementation of international law principles. Nations usually sign and ratify international conventions; however, these are far from being implemented, precisely in countries that are powerful enough to bypass the international order to preserve their interests.

It was an honor and privilege to represent Georgia Law as an LL.M. student. Being present for this year’s annual meeting was an inspiration for me, to one day enter the conversation in the hopes of creating a more just, more livable, and more connected world. I am very grateful to the Dean Rusk International Law Center for all its efforts and support in ensuring we have an unforgettable and fruitful time at the University of Georgia School of Law.

For other international law-minded Georgia Law students: Participating in an ASIL annual meeting is a good start to meet the international law community and benefit from invaluable advice! Do not hesitate to join next time.

(Cross-posted); prior Exchanges of Notes posts for which Johann Ebongom was a co-author here and here)

 

Alum Jon Smibert, U.S. Justice attaché in E. Europe, honored for public service

A distinguished University of Georgia School of Law alumnus, Jon R. Smibert (JD 1996), has been honored as one of the United States’ top federal employees. The honor was celebrated this month at a breakfast at the Dirksen Senate Office Building in Washington, D.C.

Smibert serves as Resident Legal Advisor for the U.S. Department of Justice at the U.S. Embassy in Tirana, Albania. As reported in the Washington Post, he is one of 26 finalists for a 2017 Samuel J. Heyman Service to America Medal, also known as a “Sammie,” awarded by the Partnership for Public Service. Smibert is a finalist in National Security and International Affairs; the medalwinners will be chosen later in the year.

In addition to this U.S. recognition, Smibert recently received a medal from  from the President of Albania. In that country, he has worked to assist in overhauling the legal system, with the particular aim of reducing public corruption. Smibert helped to redraft about a third of Albania’s constitution and more than a dozen statutes. Innovations included vetting requirement for judges and prosecutors, as well as establishment of a Constitution-level body dedicated to investigating and prosecuting corruption.

Of Smibert’s work, Donald Lu, U.S. Ambassador to Albania, said:

“A lot of Albanians consider him a hero. The Albanian prime minister has called this ‘the most important reform since the fall of communism. Jon Smibert has a real passion for what he does, not only for representing the U.S., but in making Albania better.”

Before his posting in Albania, Smibert served in Pristina, Kosovo. In addition to helping to establish independent prosecution offices and to draft Kosovo’s Criminal Procedure Code, Smibert helped to launch the Kosovo Specialist Chambers, a war crimes court that sits at The Hague in the Netherlands.

Smibert began his career as a federal prosecutor in Atlanta, Georgia, and later in Cleveland, Ohio. His publications include a 240-page book, Principles of Evidence (2014).

International Jurist features LLM study at University of Georgia School of Law

The Master of Laws (LL.M.) curriculum at the University of Georgia School of Law is featured in the latest edition of The International Jurist, described as “the magazine for foreign attorneys studying in the U.S.”

Our curriculum is highlighted on page 8 of the issue entitled “Best LL.M. Programs.” The item pays particular note to last year’s winning Georgia Law LL.M.-J.D. team in the Southeast Model African Union, as well as  the many experiential learning opportunities and skills-based courses available. It states:

“For example, an LL.M. student from Bangladesh assigned to Magistrate Court conducts legal research, writes memos and observes trials.”

More information and the Georgia Law LL.M. brochure are available here, or by e-mailing Dr. Laura Tate Kagel, Director of International Professional Education at the law school’s Dean Rusk International Law Center, at LLM@uga.edu.

Applications now welcome for 2017 Global Governance Summer School, presented by Georgia Law & Leuven Centre for Global Governance Studies

We at the Dean Rusk International Law Center at the University of Georgia School of Law, are proud to partner with the Leuven Centre for Global Governance Studies at the University of Leuven, to present our 2017 Global Governance Summer School. The Summer School’s core events will take place June 26-30 in Belgium.

Georgia Law students will join at Leuven a target audience of: advanced students in international law, international relations, international political economy, and international and European studies; and practitioners and policy experts who wish to update their knowledge on developments in global governance and international law. We partner institutions welcome applications from such individuals; register here.

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Peace Palace at The Hague in the Netherlands, home of the International Court of Justice

Our Georgia Law students will begin their European journey with a 3-day professional development trip to The Hague, site of many international legal institutions. Plans include attendance at the trial  of Prosecutor v. Ongwen at the International Criminal Court, touring the Peace Palace and a briefing at the International Court of Justice, and an audience with a judge and legal advisers at the Iran-U.S. Claims Tribunal.

Our students then will travel to the centuries-old University of Leuven, one of Europe’s premier research institutions, to take part, alongside other participants, in the Belgium-based Global Governance Summer School. The program is as follows:

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University Library, University of Leuven, Belgium

► June 26-28, participants will attend classroom seminars on issues of international law and global governance, including global economic and trade governance and global human rights, rule of law, and security governance. Instructors include the Summer School’s co-directors, Georgia Law Associate Dean Diane Marie Amann and Leuven Professor Jan Wouters, along with others from both universities: from Georgia Law, Professor Harlan Cohen and Kathleen A. Doty, our Center’s Director for Global Practice Preparation; from Leuven, Dean Bart Kerremans, Professors Horst Fischer, Dominik SteigerGeert Van Calster, Drs. Matthieu Burnay and Nicolas Hachez, and Senior Researcher Philip De Man.

► Next, on June 29, Summer School participants will participate in International Law and Global Governance in a Turbulent World, an expert conference featuring three panels composed of scholars and practitioners from around the world:

  • Global Governance of Human Rights. How to enforce universal values in contested world?
  • Global Governance of Democracy and Rule of Law in international perspective.
  • Global Economic and Trade Governance in Protectionist Times. Will we see the emergence of trade wars in the coming years?
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Headquarters of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, Brussels, Belgium

► The Summer School will conclude on June 30 with a professional development trip in Brussels, where students will visit the headquarters of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and the office of the global law firm Sidley Austin LLP.

Further information here; registration for the Belgium-based components of the Summer School here.

On World Trade Day, alum Bill Poole earns Global Leadership Award

Very pleased to congratulate our distinguished alumnus William M. Poole (JD’73), recipient of the Global Leadership Award bestowed by the World Trade Center Atlanta.

The Center bestowed the award during its World Trade Day celebration on May 2, in order to recognize Poole’s

“exemplary service to the facilitation of international trade and investment between Georgia and the rest of the world.”

Poole, who goes by Bill, is Of Counsel at Atlanta’s Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough LLP. Serving as head of the office’s International Practice, Poole, whose expertise includes transnational tax law, focuses on transnational business and investment matters.

He’s taught international business transactions law as an adjunct professor here at his alma mater. While a law student, he was Editor-in-Chief of the Georgia Journal of International & Comparative Law and took part in our Jessup International Moot Court and Brussels Seminar initiatives. After earning his undergraduate degree from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, Poole served in Vietnam and Germany.

Through its World Trade Day event, the World Trade Center Atlanta brought an array of leaders to discuss issues of trade and investment. In Georgia last year, this sector accounted for more than $157.2 billion in imports and exports.

Georgia Law profs Cohen and Cade win interdisciplinary research seed grants

Two University of Georgia School of Law professors will take part in transnationally focused research projects, recent winners in a universitywide funding competition.

The 2 projects were among a dozen funded by the University of Georgia  Presidential Interdisciplinary Seed Grant Program. More than 150 faculty teams submitted proposals.

The Georgia Law award-winners are:

Harlan G. Cohen, who holds the Gabriel M. Wilner/UGA Foundation Professor in International Law, will take part in research on “Forecasting the threat of cyber attacks, nation by nation.” Also on the team for this project are faculty from the university’s Franklin College of Arts & Sciences and School of Public & International Affairs, plus a political scientist from the State University of New York-Albany.

Jason A. Cade, Assistant Professor of Law and Director of the law school’s Community Health Law Partnership Clinic. He will collaborate on “Building a network of cultural liaisons to improve the health and well-being of Athens-area Latinos.” The research project’s team also includes faculty from the university’s College of Education, College of Family & Consumer Sciences, College of Pharmacy, College of Public Health, School of Social Work, Latin American & Caribbean Studies Institute, and J.W. Fanning Institute for Leadership Development.

Celebrating grads & another great year

Urvashi Jain, Chanel Chauvet, and Alessandra Cunha enjoy refreshments while Winston, our cookie-jar-bulldog mascot, looks on

Just before University of Georgia School of Law students entered the Spring 2017 exam period, we at the law school’s Dean Rusk International Law Center took a moment to thank and congratulate the many students with whom we work.

As listed below, nearly 50 of them will earn JD or LLM  degrees later this month. We were delighted to celebrate their achievements.

The reception also recognized our Center Fellow and our many Student Ambassadors. Members of the 1L, 2L, 3L, and LLM classes, they assist with administrative duties, events, and research. Indeed, they act as true ambassadors by spreading the word about Center’s activities throughout the year.

Graduating Student Ambassador Alessandro Raimondo receives Center mug from Associate Dean Diane Marie Amann

Also recognized were the many students who have taken part in initiatives like the Global Externship, summer study abroad, the Legal Spanish Study Group, Southeast Model African Union, Louis B. Sohn Professional Development fellowships, Atlanta International Arbitration Society reporting, the March 2017 IntLawGrrls conference, the Philip C. Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition, and the Willem C. Vis International Commercial Arbitration Moot.

Thanks and congratulations to all!

Class of 2017

Caitlin Amick Jessup moot
Philicia Armbrister LLM
Tomiisin Atewologun LLM
Reed Bennett Brussels-Geneva study abroad
Chad Berger Brussels-Geneva study abroad
Rachel Bishop Jessup moot
Nicholas Booth Brussels-Geneva study abroad
Ann Carroll GIP/GEO externship
Emily Cox Vis moot
Jennifer Cross Student Ambassador
Alessandra Cunha Student Ambassador, Legal Spanish Study Group
Janis Dabbs GIP/GEO externship
Tiffany Donohue GIP/GEO externship
Pedro Dorado Dean Rusk International Law Center Fellow, leader of Legal Spanish Study Group
Brad Dumbacher GIP/GEO externship
Johann Ebongom LLM, Southeast Model African Union, Sohn Professional Development Fellow, AtlAS rapporteur
Ronald Fields Brussels-Geneva study abroad
Javier Gonzalez LLM
Katie Griffis GIP/GEO externship
Cassidy Grunninger GIP/GEO externship, Brussels-Geneva study abroad
Ahsan Habib LLM
Adrian Hanea LLM
Urvashi Jain LLM, IntLawGrrls conference presenter
Morgan Johnson GIP/GEO externship
Faith Khalik Student Ambassador
Carson Masters GIP/GEO externship
Valerie Mills LLM, Student Ambassador
Hamed Moradi Roodposhti LLM
Kristin Murphey Brussels-Geneva study abroad
Nelly Ndounteng LLM, Southeast Model African Union, Sohn Professional Development Fellow
Brenny Nguyen GIP/GEO externship
Amber O’Connell GIP/GEO externship, Brussels-Geneva study abroad
Lawrence Oise LLM
Gilbert Oladeinbo LLM
Noj Oyeyipo LLM
Waltrice Patterson GIP/GEO externship
Alyssa Pickett GIP/GEO externship, Student Ambassador
Robert Poole Jessup moot
Alessandro Raimondo Student Ambassador
Hannah Sells GIP/GEO externship, Brussels-Geneva study abroad
Emily Shannon Brussels-Geneva study abroad
Richie Steinberg GIP/GEO externship
Eric Sterling Student Ambassador
Ximena Vasquez Student Ambassador
Sarah Willis Student Ambassador
Jonah Zhang Student Ambassador, GIP/GEO externship

Class of 2018

Jeremy Akin Student Ambassador
Megan Alpert GEO externship, AtlAS rapporteur
Taryn Arbeiter Student Ambassador, Legal Spanish Study Group
Victoria Barker Student Ambassador, Vis moot, GEO externship, Sohn Professional Development Fellow, IntLawGrrls conference presenter (also, incoming Editor-in-Chief, Georgia Journal of International & Comparative Law)
Danielle Berenson Student Ambassador, Legal Spanish Study Group
Holly Boggs Jessup moot
Chanel Chauvet Student Ambassador, IntLawGrrls conference presenter, Southeast Model African Union, Sohn Professional Development Fellow
Margaret Christie Legal Spanish Study Group
Preston Cox GEO externship
Davon Dennis Student Ambassador
Ruibo Dong Student Ambassador
Danielle Glover Student Ambassador
Karen Hays Student Ambassador
Maria Kachniarz Student Ambassador, Vis moot
Jared Magnuson Vis moot
Decker McMorris GEO externship
Deborah Nogueira Yates Student Ambassador, Sohn Professional Development Fellow, Legal Spanish Study Group
Claire Provano Student Ambassador, GEO externship
Elizabeth Rawlings Legal Spanish Study Group
Caroline Savini Jessup moot
Carson Stepanek GEO externship
Jamila Toussaint Student Ambassador
Wheaton Webb Vis moot
Hannah Williams Sohn Professional Development Fellow, GEO externship, IntLawGrrls conference presenter (also, International Law Society President)
Yun Yang Student Ambassador

Class of 2019

Shummi Chowdhury Student Ambassador, Southeast Model African Union
Brian Griffin Student Ambassador, AtlAS rapporteur, Legal Spanish Study Group
Amanda Hoefer Southeast Model African Union
Bailey Hutchison Student Ambassador
Lyddy O’Brien Sohn Professional Development Fellow
Matthew Poletti Legal Spanish Study Group
Rebecca Wackym Southeast Model African Union

From left, Laura Kagel, Britney Hardweare, Mandy Dixon, Valerie Mills, Hamed Moradi Roodposhti, Urvashi Jain, Noj Oyeyipo, Javier Gonzalez, Kathleen Doty, Ahsan Habib, Diane Marie Amann, Adrian Hanea