ASIL annual dinner: reflections on change in international law.

Position:International Law in a Time of Change - Proceedings of the 104th Annual Meeting of the American Society of International Law - Discussion

The Annual Dinner began at 8:00 p.m., Friday, March 26, and was moderated by David D. Caron, of the University of California at Berkeley School of Law, and Lucy F. Reed, of Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer. Speakers included Edith Brown Weiss, of Georgetown University Law Center; Charles N. Brower, of the Iran-United States Claims Tribunal; Rosalyn Higgins, formerly of the International Court of Justice; John Jackson, of Georgetown University Law Center; K. Russell LaMotte, of Beveridge & Diamond; Andreas Lowenfeld, of New York University School of Law; Theodor Meron, of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia; Hari M. Osofsky, of the University of Minnesota Law School; W. Michael Reisman, of Yale Law School; Stephen M. Schwebel, formerly of the International Court of Justice; and Allen S. Weiner, of Stanford Law School.


Thank you very much. I want to welcome you to the dinner. This is not a business meeting. This is not an awards ceremony. This is a party. It's a dinner, so please eat. In my family, it is not bad manners for me to talk while your mouths are full, so please eat.

The predictions have proved correct that this is a great annual meeting. We have record attendance.


And we have had record buzz. Special thanks to Harold Koh for giving a Big, capital "B," speech.


Now, as most of you know, much work has gone into this program for over a year for it to be so good. My main role tonight is to thank many people. First, I want to thank the Program Committee, who have all just received gifts. Will the Program Committee please stand up?


Now will Hari Osofsky, Russ LaMotte, and Allen Weiner, the co-chairs, please stand back up.


When I recruited you three a year ago, I knew that success was guaranteed, but you have exceeded all expectations. Thank you very much.

Now I also want to thank the people who worked behind the scenes for hours and hours and hours this week and for the past year. So would the staff from Tillar House please stand up for a thank you?


And now would Betsy Andersen please stand back up and come up here, please?


Nobody could ask for a better Executive Director or better friend in this process than Betsy Andersen.


And a great part of the reason that it's hard for me to let go of being President is that Betsy and I have really become joined at the hip.

Now I would like to thank, as well, our financial supporters. We have several wonderful publisher partners. If you've seen the riches outside, you know how important they are to our profession, so thank you to the publishers.


And we have many academic partners who are important collaborators in the program now. We have 29 academic partners. Do I hear a 30, a 30? Thanks to the 29.


And we also have several law firm sponsors who are represented here, who are a source of great interaction with the Society, so thank you to the law firm sponsors.


It is really gratifying in this difficult financial economy to have seen the contributions from these institutions and from individuals increase, so thank you very much.

And very seriously, I would like to hail again the winners of the Butcher Human Rights Medal and the Hudson Medal for Lifetime Achievement. So would Juan Mendez and Edie Brown Weiss please stand up?


I would also like to congratulate all the new officers and council members of the Society, especially our Honorary President, Judge Ted Meron. Ted, please stand up.


So, having played the conductor for all of this appreciation and congratulations, I am very happy to go back to the orchestra and pass the baton to my longtime colleague and friend and commiserator and conspirator, Professor David Caron.

David, I'm giving you a Society that is in good shape, and, members, I am giving you a very, very good pair of hands.


* Partner, Freshfields B ruckhaus Deringer, and President of the American Society of International Law, 2008-2010.


Thank you, Lucy. I ask that Lucy please to stay near the podium and I draw the audience's attention to a series of images on the screens before you.

In the summer of 2008, Lucy traveled to Malaysia for the second meeting of the Asian Society of International Law where she reports she was treated like royalty. Lucy' s Presidency was unusual in that the turn of events dealt not only enjoyable cards like this trip to Malaysia, but the Society also, as you know, dealt an unforeseeable financial difficulty over these past two years, a situation that Lucy and Betsy brought us through admirably.

I bring this up because Lucy we thank you for your service and leadership in addressing that challenge, but we will not remember you for that. We are going to remember you for many more things.

Your constant mentoring of women as reflected in your initiative to mainstream gender issues. A constant focus on mentoring generally that led you to make a point of speaking at every occasion to students as we can see here in this picture at Stanford in a trip to ASIL West and here at Illinois on a trip at ASIL Central.

A focus that is likewise manifest in your vision seven years ago to create and then to constantly support the Arthur Helton Global Human Rights Fellowships for recent graduates.


You have led and have been the voice of our Society at ever-better Annual Meetings, specialized meetings such as Jakarta, regional meetings here in L.A., and meetings abroad as in Helsinki. And in all cases, Lucy has that wonderful quality of being present. She always is opening doors, and gives of her spirit in ways that inspire and energize all of us. And when ways forward were looked for, it was Lucy that placed ASIL as a primary guide, here in this image of the task force on U.S. policy toward the International Criminal Court as well as in this image where she brought together all former legal advisors with Harold Koh. Why? Because she knows full well that regardless of administration or party, we all share a common language. We have all experienced the difficulty of bringing change and yet also felt the joy of making change a reality.

Lucy, thank you very much. I ask you to come back to the podium. Please join me in thanking Lucy.


Lucy F. REED

Thank you. Thank you. It was fun.



As Lucy said, our dinner is a celebration and I do not wish to keep us from it. But let me just say three things as I move into this job that I'm so excited about, and the three things have to do with Dublin, they have to do with change, and they have to do with the value of being bold.

First, on Dublin, Harold Koh seeking to explain the task before the Administration as it took office told a joke. Two men are walking in the countryside in Ireland. One turns to the other and says, "Do you know the way to Dublin?" and he replies, "Yes, I do, but I wouldn't start from here."

In other words, knowing where you want to go is only a part of a leader's task. The other part is charting a course from where you are. In the case of the Society, Lucy passes the Society to me in great shape, in a good place. It therefore is easier to move forward. Lucy, we are all thankful.

Second, change. The theme of this year's meeting is "International Law in a Time of Change," and we need remember that ASIL itself is also in a time of change. I began with the Society in 1980. It was the place to be in 1980, and today it is the place to be. But the world is dramatically different in many ways than it was in 1980. So to remain the place to be is a neat trick. It requires great foresight to change with the times, to be what you have to be tomorrow, to be where everyone wants you to be tomorrow. I don't know where we're going to be in 20 years, but I will do my best to make sure we keep anticipating the future, keep being courageous, keep matching the times and keep providing that which is necessary to a just world under law.

Third and last, the value of being bold; this is a personal story. When I was a first year law student, I was in a large section of Contracts, hundreds of students; many of you have experienced this. I'm in the fifth row, the third day of class, and the Professor has assigned three cases. I have studied two. He arrives in class, he looks at me and he asks, "Could you...

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