Georgia Law coursework begins for inaugural class of students seeking Graduate Certificate in International Law

Graduate Certificate in International Law students tour Hirsch Hall at the University of Georgia School of Law Friday, in anticipation of the new semester beginning this week.

This New Year marks the arrival of the inaugural class of Graduate Certificate in International Law students here at the University of Georgia School of Law.

Through the initiative of the law school’s Dean Rusk International Law Center, postgraduate students from other disciplines within the university will earn this academic certificate following their successful completion, in classes alongside J.D., LL.M., and M.L.S. students, of fifteen credit hours chosen from among the law school’s rich comparative, transnational, and international law curriculum; courses include Public International Law, International Human Rights, International Trade Law, Immigration Law, International Law Colloquium, and Global Governance.

The seven students comprising the first class include:

  • Four doctoral students: from the School of Public and International Affairs, Alma Bajramović, a Ph.D. candidate who is researching conflict and conflict resolution, with a focus on the Balkans; from the Mary Frances Early College of Education, Leslyn Beckles, candidate for a Ph.D. in Learning, Leading, and Organization Development, whose research concentrates on women political leaders in the Caribbean; and from the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences, Isaac Torres, a Ph.D. candidate in Bioinformatics who examines artificial intelligence and statistical models to address complex biology problems, and Jasmine Underwood, a Ph.D. candidate in Sociology interested in gender, development and social change, and political sociology.
  • Three master’s students, all from the School of Public and International Affairs: Megan Gerken and Nelson Millan Nales, both pursuing Master of Public Administration degrees, and Michael Sway, a candidate for the Master of International Policy degree.

Details on application of and matriculation toward the Graduate Certificate in International Law are available here and by contacting the initiative’s administrator, Sarah Quinn, Associate Director for Global Practice Preparation at the Dean Rusk International Law Center, squinn[at]uga.edu.

Georgia Law 3L Davis Wright on his externship in Virginia: “My time at NATO helped me grow as an aspiring lawyer, law student, and person.”

Pleased today to welcome this post by University of Georgia School of Law student Davis Wright, who describes his just-completed his Fall 2021 externship in Norfolk, Virginia, in the legal department of HQ SACT, a leading unit of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. This externship is administered by our law school’s Dean Rusk International Law Center in partnership with NATO Allied Command Transformation. Davis arrived at Georgia Law with a background in international relations and politics, having competed in Model United Nations and worked for a member of the Dáil Éireann. His experiences at Georgia Law have included service as a Dean Rusk International Law Center Student Ambassador and J.D.-to-LL.M. liaison. He is due to receive his J.D. degree this May, and then to begin practice as an Associate at the Atlanta office of Jones Day.

Working in the Office of the Legal Advisor at the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Headquarters Supreme Allied Commander Transformation (HQ SACT) in Norfolk, Virginia, was an exciting and rewarding experience. In the time I was at HQ SACT I grew substantially, in personal, academic, and professional aspects.

Personal growth

During the time I spent at HQ SACT, I was exposed to a diverse range of ideas and people. While the Chief Legal Advisor at HQ SACT is American, there is a French Legal Advisor, a Dutch Legal Advisor, and a Turkish intern. All of these interactions were valuable to me as I was exposed to cultural and legal perspectives from their home nations. 

My interactions at the office likewise gave me exposure to a diverse set of views on a variety of topics, ranging from the insignificant, such as musical preferences, to the significant, such as views on the war in Afghanistan and NATO’s involvement in it. These new friendships, and sometimes deep discussions, helped me grow as a person and challenged my views and perspective of the world.

Academic growth

As one part of my externship at HQ SACT, I participated in a once-a-week seminar course with Georgia Law Professor Diane Marie Amann, who is a Faculty Co-Director of the Dean Rusk International Law Center. We discussed a variety of topics through weekly readings on different areas of international law. Highlights included the role of the legal advisor in armed conflict, rules of engagement, and immunities of international organizations in domestic courts. Most of these subjects were new to me, and the weekly seminar helped build my knowledge and challenge my perspective on different international legal issues.

I am especially pleased that I was encouraged to lead the discussions in this seminar and to select readings for subjects that I find of interest. This encouragement to be curious and take a leading role also helped me grow academically.

Professional growth

The experience at HQ SACT was completely new for me as I had never before worked in the national security sector or for an international organization. My time in the legal office was largely split into two categories, as follows:

  • Legal assistance: During the mornings I was assigned to legal assistance work. This is essentially all the support elements that the office provides to both civilian and military personnel at HQ SACT. This work varies depending on who walks through the door, but includes a large amount of immigration work.  These experiences provided me an appreciation of the multitude of legal issues that foreign personnel face during their time in the United States. Additionally, these experiences provided me valuable client interaction that will assist my future career.
  • Legal projects: In the afternoons I worked on projects for the legal advisors. These projects varied considerably. For example, I had the opportunity to work on an overhaul to the general terms and conditions throughout HQ SACT and its subordinate commands, and to research whether NATO information is protected under U.S. laws against espionage. These projects all challenged me and provided an opportunity to make a substantial impact during my time at HQ SACT.  

In short, my time at NATO helped me grow as an aspiring lawyer, law student, and person. I am sure I will use the experiences I have gained so far at NATO in my future career.

I am extremely grateful that the Dean Rusk International Law Center and the University of Georgia School of Law allowed me to partake in this unique experience. Specifically, I would like to thank the Center’s Associate Director for Global Practice Preparation, Sarah Quinn, and Professor Amann, for their valuable guidance. I would also like to thank everyone at HQ SACT, especially Theresa Donahue, Kathy Hansen-Nord, Monte DeBoer, Butch Bracknell, Mette Hartov, Vincent Grassin, and Muge Karatas.

Stockholm Declaration conference: link to video of Shelton keynote and panel on international environmental law’s future

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A superb third panel and keynote speech concluded “The 1972 Stockholm Declaration at 50: Reflecting on a Half-Century of International Environmental Law” conference that we at the Dean Rusk International Law Center and the Georgia Journal of International and Comparative Law at the University of Georgia School of Law hosted on October 8.

Following on our prior posts outlining the first and second parts of our daylong conference, we’re pleased in this post to recap the final segment, video of which is available here. (The full series, meanwhile, is available here.)

It begins with the third panel of the conference, entitled “International Environmental Law’s Future,” and moderated by MJ Durkee, Associate Dean for International Programs, Director of the Dean Rusk International Law Center, and Allen Post Professor at Georgia Law (pictured above, middle right). Joining her were 4 panelists (pictured clockwise from bottom center): Lakshman D. Guruswamy, Nicholas Doman Professor of International Environmental Law at Colorado Law; Jutta Brunnée, Dean, University Professor, and James Marshall Tory Dean’s Chair at the University of Toronto Faculty of Law in Canada; Cymie Payne, Associate Professor in the Department of Human Ecology and the School of Law, Rutgers University; and Rebecca M. Bratspies, Professor and Director of the Center for Urban Environmental Reform at CUNY Law.

Together, they consider the part of Principle 1 of the Stockholm Declaration that declares:

“[Humankind] bears a solemn responsibility to protect and improve the environment for present and future generations.”

In light of that statement, panelists examined the major successes and failures of the last half-century of international environmental law, and, imagining a “2022 Stockholm Declaration,” they considered how to prioritize environmental protection efforts going forward.

Then follows “Stockholm Plus 50: Glass Half Full, Half Empty, or Shattered?,” the keynote address by Dinah L. Shelton, Manatt/Ahn Professor of International Law Emeritus at George Washington University School of Law. In it, Shelton sounds an urgent call to action to ensure protection from the worst effects of climate change, especially for the most vulnerable populations.

Kimberlee Styple, GJICL Editor-in-Chief, then delivers closing remarks.

Scholarly achievements, vibrant initiatives highlighted in newsletter of Dean Rusk International Law Center, University of Georgia School of Law

For a recap of the year’s research and global practice accomplishments, have a look at the just-published newsletter of the Dean Rusk International Law Center at the University of Georgia School of Law. Features include:

► Welcome to our new professor, Zohra Ahmed, as well as scholarly achievements of our Center Director, Melissa J. Durkee, and our many other globally minded faculty, including Diane Marie Amann, Christopher Bruner, Jason Cade, Harlan G. Cohen, Walter Hellerstein, Thomas Kadri, Jonathan Peters, Peter B. “Bo” Rutledge, and Laura Phillips Sawyer.

► The return of our International Law Colloquium in Spring 2022, a course featuring works-in-progress conversations with authors; this year’s edition will include international law scholars based in Latin America and Europe as well as the United States.

► Recent events, including our day-long conferences on international environmental law and on global healthcare governance cosponsored with the Georgia Journal of International & Comparative Law, our Consular Series of talks with diplomats, presentations by Visiting Scholars and other distinguished lawyers, our cohosting of International Law Weekend South with the American Branch of the International Law Association, and participation in panels at the American Society of International Law and other global meetings, as well as academic and civil-society roundtables.

Initiatives aimed at preparing our J.D. and LL.M. students for global legal practice, including our NATO Externship, our Global Externships, and the Global Governance Summer School we host in partnership with the Leuven Centre for Global Governance at Belgium’s University of Leuven, plus support for internationally minded students’ organizations, journal, and advocacy teams.

The full newsletter is here.

International lawyers, including several Georgia Law graduates, to speak Monday on “Careers in International Law”

We at the University of Georgia School of Law Dean Rusk International Law Center are honored to welcome a group of distinguished attorneys, including several of our graduates, for an online discussion of “Careers in International Law” from 12 noon to 1:30 p.m. this Monday, November 8.

David Hull (JD’84), who is a Partner at the Van Bael & Bellis law firm in Brussels, Belgium, will moderate a panel featuring:

  • H. Vincent Draa (JD’84), Of Counsel, Kochhar & Co. LLC in Chicago
  • Catherine Gordley, Senior Associate at Van Bael & Bellis
  • David Hegwood (JD’83), Senior Advisor for Global Engagement at the U.S. Agency for International Development, based in Rome, Italy

Together, they’ll lead a conversation on global legal practice in a variety of settings, including private law firms, corporate legal departments, and governmental organizations.

Register here to attend the careers session.

Stockholm Declaration conference: link for “Anti-Racism, Decolonization, Environmental Protection” panel video

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High-level speeches and other events at COP26, the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties now under way in Glasgow, Scotland, underscores the timeliness of “The 1972 Stockholm Declaration at 50: Reflecting on a Half-Century of International Environmental Law” conference that we at the Dean Rusk International Law Center and the Georgia Journal of International and Comparative Law at the University of Georgia School of Law hosted on October 8.

And so, following on last week’s post outlining the first part of our daylong conference, we’re pleased in this post to recap the second segment, video of which is available here. (The full series, meanwhile, is available here.)

Featured in this segment is the day’s second panel, “Anti-Racism, Decolonization and Environmental Protection,” moderated by Harlan G. Cohen, Gabriel M. Wilner/UGA Foundation Professor in International Law and Faculty Co-Director of the Dean Rusk International Law Center at Georgia Law (pictured above, top right). Joining him were 4 panelists (pictured clockwise from middle right): Sumudu Anopama Atapattu, Director of Research Centers and Senior Lecturer at Wisconsin Law; Robin Bronen, Executive Director of the Alaska Institute for Justice; Usha Natarajan, Edward W. Said Fellow at Columbia University; and Sarah Riley Case, Boulton Junior Fellow at McGill University Faculty of Law in Canada.

Together, they consider the part of Principle 1 of the Stockholm Declaration that declares:

“In this respect, policies promoting or perpetuating apartheid, racial segregation, discrimination, colonial and other forms of oppression and foreign domination stand condemned and must be eliminated.”

In view of that statement, panelists ask inter alia: whether and to what extent the substantive protections of international environmental law addresses environmental racism; whether and to what extent indigenous peoples, racial and ethnic minorities, or formerly colonized peoples can access, use, or affect the development of international environmental law; and whether and to what extent international environmental law has incorporated the concept of consent by affected communities.

Stay tuned for our video recap of the final conference segment.

Stockholm Declaration conference: link available to video of conference start, including panel on rights-based approach

Miss the opportunity to see our “The 1972 Stockholm Declaration at 50: Reflecting on a Half-Century of International Environmental Law” live on October 8?

No worries: We at the Dean Rusk International Law Center and the Georgia Journal of International and Comparative Law, University of Georgia School of Law, are happy to provide videolinks.

This daylong conference addressed, in the words of MJ Durkee, the Georgia Law faculty member who conceptualized it,

“one of the foremost challenges of our time: What the international community can do about the crises facing our environment and the link between environmental health and human flourishing.”

Durkee, who is Associate Dean for International Programs, Director of our Dean Rusk International Law Center, and Allen Post Professor, further noted the timeliness of the conference:


“The Stockholm Declaration, in addition to launching the field of international environmental law 50 years ago, was also among the first to articulate the idea of a human right to a healthy environment, and to elevate this as a matter of world concern. Just today, in Geneva, the UN Human Rights Council has been deliberating over a resolution recognizing that this human right to a healthy environment has matured into an internationally recognized human right.”

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Also in this segment is the first of three panels, entitled “The Rights-Based Approach to Environmental Protection,” and featuring a global array of panelists: Nnimmo Bassey, Director, Health of Mother Earth Foundation, pictured at bottom center; Tyler Giannini, Clinical Professor and Co-Director of the Harvard Human Rights Program and the International Human Rights Clinic at Harvard Law, top right; Kate Mackintosh, Executive Director, Promise Institute for Human Rights, UCLA Law, middle left; Katie O’Bryan, Lecturer, Monash University, Australia, middle right; and moderator Diane Marie Amann, Regents’ Professor of International Law, Emily & Ernest Woodruff Chair in International Law and Faculty Co-Director of the Dean Rusk International Law Center at Georgia Law, top left.

Her welcome, as well as introductory remarks from Georgia Law Dean Peter B. “Bo” Rutledge and Eva Hunnius Ohlin, Senior Advisor for Energy and Environment at the Embassy of Sweden in Washington, D.C., appear in the first of three conference video segments, available here.

Principle 1 of the Stockholm Declaration begins:

“Man has the fundamental right to freedom, equality and adequate conditions of life, in an environment of a quality that permits a life of dignity and well-being …”

Considering that claim in relation to “humankind,” panelists explored a range of issues, including: the utility, or not, of the rights-based approach; comparison of the rights-based approach with others, including the rights of nature and harmony with nature; and the recent civil-society promulgation of a definition of the international crime of ecocide, with the aim of amending the 1998 Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court to include this crime.

Interested in other segments of our Stockholm conference? Stay tuned.

(Update: The full series of links is available here.)

International Law Colloquium returns to Georgia Law in Spring 2022 semester

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

This for-credit course consists of presentations of substantial works-in-progress on a variety of international law topics by prominent scholars from other law schools. In keeping with a tradition established when the series began in 2006, students will write reaction papers on the scholars’ manuscripts, and then discuss the papers with the authors in class. Leading the class will be Harlan G. Cohen, Gabriel M. Wilner/UGA Foundation Professor in International Law and Faculty Co-Director of the Dean Rusk International Law Center. Other Georgia Law and university faculty will join in the dialogues.

Further supporting the colloquium are staff at our Center; in particular, the Center’s Global Practice Preparation team, which includes Sarah Quinn and Catrina Martin. The colloquium further benefits from generous support from the Kirbo Trust Endowed Faculty Enhancement Fund and the Talmadge Law Faculty Fund.

Presenting at the Spring 2022 Colloquium (pictured above, clockwise from top left):

► January 21: Kristen Eichensehr, University of Virginia School of Law 

► January 28: Rebecca Hamilton, American University Washington College of Law 

► February 11: Asli Ü. Bâli, UCLA Law

► February 25: Rebecca Crootof, University of Richmond School of Law 

► March 4: Alonso Gurmendi Dunkelberg, Universidad del Pacífico, Perú  

► March 18: Sarah Nouwen, European University Institute, Italy, and University of Cambridge, United Kingdom

► April 1: Maggie Gardner, Cornell Law School

► April 15: Julian Arato, Brooklyn Law School 

“Stockholm Declaration at 50,” October 8 Georgia Law journal conference, will feature experts in international environmental and human rights law

“The 1972 Stockholm Declaration at 50: Reflecting on a Half-Century of International Environmental Law” is the title of the daylong conference to be hosted Friday, October 8, 2021, by the Dean Rusk International Law Center and the Georgia Journal of International and Comparative Law, with additional cosponsors including the American Society of International Law.

As described in the concept note:

The 1972 United Nations Conference on the Human Environment produced the “Stockholm Declaration,” an environmental manifesto that forcefully declared a human right to environmental health and birthed the field of modern international environmental law. In celebration of its 50th anniversary volume, the Georgia Journal of International and Comparative Law is convening a symposium to reflect on the first 50 years of international environmental law and the lessons this history may hold for the future.

The symposium will include a keynote address by Dinah L. Shelton, Manatt/Ahn Professor of International Law Emeritus at George Washington University School of Law whose distinguished service in areas of human rights and environmental law includes President of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. Also featured will be scholars and practitioners from around the world, taking part in panel discussions and breakout sessions: on the rights-based approach to environmental protection; on anti-racism, decolonization, and environmental protection; and on the future of international environmental law. As indicated in the schedule below, the panels reflect themes in Principle 1 of the 1972 Stockholm Declaration, which states in full:

“Man has the fundamental right to freedom, equality and adequate conditions of life, in an environment of a quality that permits a life of dignity and well-being, and he bears a solemn responsibility to protect and improve the environment for present and future generations. In this respect, policies promoting or perpetuating apartheid, racial segregation, discrimination, colonial and other forms of oppression and foreign domination stand condemned and must be eliminated.”

The conference will take place on Zoom, though students and a limited number of registrants may attend in person. Details and registration here. The full schedule follows:

Welcome and Introduction by Georgia Law’s Peter B. “Bo” Rutledge, Dean, MJ Durkee, Associate Dean for International Programs, Director of the Dean Rusk International Law Center, and Allen Post Professor, 9 a.m.

Panel 1: The Rights-Based Approach to Environmental Protection, 9:10 a.m. (followed by breakout session at 10:25 a.m.)

Recalling Principle 1’s statement that humankind “has the fundamental right to freedom, equality and adequate conditions of life, in an environment of a quality that permits a life of dignity and well-being,” the following panelists will explore how and in what contexts the Stockholm Declaration’s rights-based approach to environmental protection is useful, as well as limitations of this approach:

  • Nnimmo Bassey, Director, Health of Mother Earth Foundation
  • Tyler Giannini, Clinical Professor and Co-Director of the Harvard Human Rights Program and the International Human Rights Clinic at Harvard Law
  • Kate Mackintosh, Executive Director, Promise Institute for Human Rights, UCLA Law
  • Katie O’Bryan, Lecturer, Monash University, Australia
  • Moderating will be Diane Marie Amann, Regents’ Professor of International Law, Emily & Ernest Woodruff Chair in International Law and Faculty Co-Director of the Dean Rusk International Law Center at Georgia Law

Panel 2: Anti-Racism, Decolonization, and Environmental Protection, 10:50 a.m. (followed by breakout session at 12:05 p.m.)

Recalling Principle 1’s statement that “policies promoting or perpetuating apartheid, racial segregation, discrimination, colonial and other forms of oppression and foreign domination stand condemned and must be eliminated,” the following panelists will explore how international environmental law addresses, or fails to address, environmental racism:

  • Sumudu Anopama Atapattu, Director of Research Centers and Senior Lecturer at Wisconsin Law
  • Robin Bronen, Executive Director of the Alaska Institute for Justice
  • Sarah Riley Case, Boulton Junior Fellow at McGill University Faculty of Law in Canada
  • Usha Natarajan, Edward W. Said Fellow at Columbia University
  • Moderating will be Harlan G. Cohen, Gabriel M. Wilner/UGA Foundation Professor in International Law and Faculty Co-Director of the Dean Rusk International Law Center at Georgia Law

Panel 3: International Environmental Law’s Future, 1 p.m. (followed by breakout session at 2:15 p.m.)

Recalling Principle 1’s statement that humankind “bears a solemn responsibility to protect and improve the environment for present and future generations,” the following panelists will explore what are the successes and failures of the last 50 years of environmental law, as well as the key international environmental law challenges for the next 50 years:

  • Rebecca M. Bratspies, Professor and Director of the Center for Urban Environmental Reform at CUNY Law
  • Jutta Brunnée, Dean, University Professor, and James Marshall Tory Dean’s Chair at the University of Toronto Faculty of Law in Canada
  • Lakshman D. Guruswamy, Nicholas Doman Professor of International Environmental Law at Colorado Law
  • Cymie Payne, Associate Professor in the Department of Human Ecology and the School of Law, Rutgers University
  • Moderating will be MJ Durkee, Associate Dean for International Programs, Director of the Dean Rusk International Law Center, and Allen Post Professor at Georgia Law

Introduction of keynote by Adam D. Orford, Assistant Professor at Georgia Law, followed by keynote address, entitled “Stockholm Plus 50: Glass Half Full, Half Empty, or Shattered?” and delivered by Dinah L. Shelton, Manatt/Ahn Professor of International Law Emeritus at George Washington University School of Law, 2:40 p.m.

Closing remarks by Kimberlee Styple, Editor-in-Chief of the Georgia Journal of International and Comparative Law, 3:15 p.m.

Besides ASIL, many units of the University of Georgia are cosponsoring this event. They include the International Law Society, Environmental Law Association, Georgia Initiative for Climate & Society, Warnell School of Forestry & Natural Resources, School of Public & International Affairs, Center for International Trade & Security, Global Health Institute of the College of Public Health, School of Social Work, and College of Environment & Design.

Registration and details on the program and accommodations here.

Welcoming newest class of Master of Laws (LL.M.) students to Georgia Law

With the Fall 2021 semester in full swing, we at the Dean Rusk International Law Center are proud to welcome another class of talented lawyers, now studying for our University of Georgia School of Law Master of Laws (LL.M.) degree.

The group of 16 hail from 12 different countries in Africa, Asia, Europe, and the Americas, including Argentina, Bahamas, Bangladesh, Ecuador, Germany, Iran, Mexico, Nigeria, Panama, Russia, Turkey, and Venezuela. Among them are judges, government attorneys, public interest lawyers, corporate attorneys, and seasoned litigators. Some of them are pictured above; from left, Franzisca Heinze, Julieta Sánchez Flor, Veronika Grubenko, Supreme Unukegwo, Agustina Figueroa Imfeld, and Ciro Pazmino.

This Class of 2022 joins a tradition that began at the University of Georgia School of Law in the early 1970s, when a Belgian lawyer became the first foreign-trained practitioner to earn a Georgia Law LL.M. degree. In the ensuing four decades, the law school and its Dean Rusk International Law Center have produced nearly 600 LL.M. graduates, with ties to nearly 100 countries and every continent in the world.

Side by side with J.D. candidates, LL.M.s follow a flexible curriculum tailored to their own career goals – goals that may include preparation to sit for a U.S. bar examination, or pursuit of a concentration affording advancement in their home country’s legal profession or academic institutions.

The application for the LL.M. Class of 2023 is now open; for information or to apply for LL.M. studies, see here.