The Society's 114th Annual Meeting—and first Virtual Annual Meeting—took place June 25–26, 2020. The 2020 Annual Meeting theme, "The Promise of International Law," was an opportunity to reflect on the successes and failures of international law, while reaffirming our commitment to achieving its promise of a more just and peaceful world. At this troubling and pivotal moment in world affairs, it was especially important for our members to come together as a global community to consider and debate these matters.
Before the official start of the meeting, the Society offered two sessions—both focused on the COVID-19 pandemic's impact on international law. The first looked at international governance, while the second focused on the disparate impact of the pandemic. Both sessions were free for anyone wishing to sample the content to be offered at the Virtual Annual Meeting. Both are now available without charge, along with other pandemic related resources, at www.asil.org/pandemic.
The Annual Meeting officially began with the Opening Ceremony, featuring remarks by President Catherine Amirfar and a number of special presentations, including a celebration of Sean D. Murphy's term as President of the Society, the dedication of a new book award in foreign relations law honoring the late Robert E. Dalton, and a keynote conversation between Ambassador William J. Burns (Carnegie Endowment for International Peace) and Avril Haines (Columbia University).
The Opening Ceremonies were followed by our first substantive breakout sessions. Among the highlights were the presentation of the 2020 Manley O. Hudson Medal to Rüdiger Wolfrum (Max Planck Foundation), with keynote remarks by Professor Wolfrum on "The Normativity of Public International Law Reconsidered," and his conversation with the 2010 Hudson Medal recipient, Edith Brown Weiss.
At the end of our first day of substantive programs, we recognized the recipients of the Society's honors and awards, including, in addition to Professor Wolfrum, two leading figures in international human rights law—Hina Jilani, who received the Honorary Member Award, and Claudio Grossman, who received the Goler T. Butcher Medal.
The Thursday sessions concluded with the 22nd Annual Grotius Lecture, presented in cooperation with American University Washington College of Law. The lecture was delivered by James Gathii (Loyola University Chicago School of Law), on "The Promise of International Law: A Third World View." Fleur Johns (University of New South Wales Faculty of Law) delivered the response.
The Friday sessions began with a plenary conversation between Professor Grossman and Ms. Jilani, moderated by ASIL's Immediate Past President, Sean D. Murphy. Other programs of note on Friday morning included the Fifth Annual Detlev F. Vagts Roundtable on Transnational Law, convened by Rochelle Dreyfuss, on "Conceptualizing Intellectual Property as a Social Determinant of Health"; and the Eighth Annual Charles N. Brower Lecture on International Dispute Resolution, delivered by Sir Daniel Bethlehem on "The Greening of International Dispute Settlement? Stepping Back a Little."
On Friday afternoon, Judge Elizabeth Odio Benito of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights was the featured speaker at the 27th annual Women in International Law Interest Group program, where she received the 2020 Prominent Woman in International Law Award.
The closing plenary featured a roundtable discussion, sponsored by the Asser Institute for International and European Law and the Municipality of The Hague, on "Cities and Other Sub-National Entities: What promise do they hold for international law?" The session concluded with brief remarks and a toast by President Amirfar (featuring our signature cocktail, The Charming Betsy, created especially for the occasion).
Throughout the Annual Meeting, interactive sessions designed for our virtual format included mentoring sessions that connected students and new professionals with leading scholars and practitioners and "Ask Me Anything" sessions with leaders in the field who answered questions on everything from their career paths to their thoughts on current international legal issues. Many of the Society's Interest Groups hosted member meetings, and the virtual Expo Hall provided an interactive platform featuring information and resources presented by our sponsors and exhibitors.
The Society expresses its deep appreciation to the Annual Meeting Committee, led by co-chairs Joké Babington-Ashaye (World Bank Administrative Tribunal), Ruchi Gill (U.S. Congressional Staff), and Jarrod Wong (University of the Pacific McGeorge School of Law); to our speakers, sponsors, partners and exhibitors; to our technology partner, Silo Virtual Event Solutions, to our event planner, Eden Capuano, and her team at Voila! Inc.; and to the leaders and staff of the Society who labored for many months to create this experience.