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We are only a few weeks away from the Annual Meeting. Recently, our meeting co-chairs, Larry Johnson, Oona Hathaway and Fionnuala D. Ní Aoláin answered a few questions about this year’s meeting and its theme—The Effectiveness of International Law.
Why is the American Society of International Law’s annual meeting so important?
The Society brings together not only legal academics, practitioners and public servants, but also policy makers, judges and academics from other fields as well. Because of the extraordinary depth of experience and knowledge which people bring to ASIL events, discussions are stimulating and provocative, both in formal settings and, most enjoyably, in informal conversations "on the side". Attending ASIL meetings and events offers a chance to learn something new and to appreciate new perspectives and insights.
Tell us about theme of The Effectiveness of International Law?
This year's gathering of international lawyers at the joint meeting of ASIL and the American Branch of the International Law Association offers a unique opportunity to take stock of the state of international law today. As we noted in the theme statement, international law touches on nearly every aspect of our lives, from the price of practically everything we purchase, to the health of the environment that surrounds us, to our ability to communicate seamlessly worldwide. And yet there are daily reminders that not all nations, groups, or individuals observe all principles of international law or all of their obligations all of the time—from human rights abuses, to trade law breaches, to law of armed conflict violations. This historic gathering of international legal scholars and practitioners is a unique opportunity to consider when, how, and why international law can be effective. It also offers us an opportunity to learn from one another about ways in which international law might be made more effective—for example by borrowing tools from one area of international law for use in another, enhancing the role of both international and domestic courts in enforcing the law, and drawing on opportunities offered by the increasingly intertwined transnational economy to enforce international law against states and individuals.
Which panels will be most relevant to the most current events around the world?
This year, for the first time, we are offering a set of panels specifically focused on "contemporary challenges." The panels will cover a wide range of contemporary topics—including "Law of Warcraft: New Approaches to Generating Respect for the Law," "Can International Norms Protect us from Natural Disasters," and "Combating Tax Avoidance and Evasion." In addition, late-breaking panels will examine the crises in Syria.