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Posted Feb. 10, 2010

Symposium to Examine President’s Effect on U.S. Role in International Law and Policy

The Obama Impact

A group of experts will examine President Barack Obama’s impact on international law and policy Friday in Caplin Pavilion during a Law School symposium sponsored by the J.B. Moore Society of International Law.

The event, which is open to the public, will include panels featuring representatives from the U.S. State Department, the International Red Cross, the Army Judge Advocate General’s Legal Center and School and academia, as well as a keynote address by Professor Sarah Cleveland, co-director of the Human Rights Institute at Columbia Law School.

“This event comes at a timely moment,” said symposium director Daniel Sullivan ’10. “President Obama just wrapped up his first year in office and there have been lots of hectic events going on in international law and policy recently.” 

The symposium participants will examine the nature and implications of differences between the Bush and Obama administrations as shown by the country’s response to recent international events such as the presidential coup in Honduras, the summer elections in Iran and the destructive earthquake in Haiti. 

“We are really excited about our speakers as well,” Sullivan said. “They are all experts in their fields and will bring some great analysis to the questions the symposium seeks to address.”

After opening remarks by Dean Paul G. Mahoney and the keynote address, the first panel discussion will center on the country’s relationship with the United Nations. Panelists will explore the tensions recent international events have created between the two bodies and discuss the impact that the Obama administration has had on that relationship.

The panelists include Darin E. W. Johnson, an attorney-adviser on U.N. affairs in the State Department’s Office of the Legal Adviser; Mark Katz, a professor of government and politics at George Mason University; Julian Ku, a professor of law and associate dean for faculty development at Hofstra Law School; and Christopher Preble, the director of foreign policy studies at the Cato Institute. Law School professor Paul Stephan will moderate.

The second panel will analyze and discuss the Obama administration’s impact on the U.S. interpretation of the law of war, and what implications those changes might have for future conflicts.

The panelists include Martin de Boer, deputy head of the International Committee of the Red Cross, D.C. Delegation; Ashley Deeks, the assistant legal adviser for political military affairs at the State Department’s Office of the Legal Adviser; and David Graham, a retired colonel and the executive director of the Army Judge Advocate General’s Legal Center and School.  Professor Thomas Nachbar will moderate.

Schedule

9:40 a.m.
Registration and Coffee

10:15 a.m.
Opening Remarks
Dean Paul G. Mahoney

10:30 a.m.
Keynote Address
Professor Sarah Cleveland

11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
Panel I
The United States and the United Nations: Where Do We Stand?

12:45 p.m.
Symposium Luncheon (Stone Dining Room)

2:15-3:15 p.m.
Panel II
Rules of Engagement: The United States and the Law of War

3:15 p.m.
Closing Reception (WB Student Lounge #1)