Opening plenary and remarks.

Author:Donovan, Donald Francis
Position:International Law in a Multipolar World

ASIL Today *

Let me welcome everyone to this 107th meeting of the American Society of International Law. I have the very agreeable task of expressing some important thanks, and then I'm going to open the meeting by reviewing what's happening at the Society and extending an invitation to all of you to get involved to the fullest extent possible.

Some years ago, for the Centennial Meeting, we had close to 1,600 attendees, our highest total ever. We are approaching that number for this meeting. That level of participation reflects not only the dynamism of the Society, but the quality of the meeting program. While we are the American Society of International Law, close to half our members are based outside the United States or are non-U.S. nationals, and that diversity is reflected in the clearest way in the program. We very much want to serve as an international forum, and I'm proud that this meeting will surely achieve that goal.

So this morning we should give pride of place to the real stars of the meeting, our three co-chairs: Stanimir Alexandrov, Laurence Boisson de Chazoumes, and Kal Raustiala. Anybody who has done anything to put on a program of this scope will know how much work it involves, and how much skill. From the first time I thought about this meeting, I thought what a perfect team these three would make, and I was therefore enormously pleased when they each agreed to take on the task. With the help of a stellar program committee, they have executed, as you will see from the program and experience over the next three days, a truly extraordinary program. Laurence, Stanimir, and Kal, on behalf of all of us who will be enjoying the fruits of your labors, thanks enormously to you and the members of your committee for the spectacular work you did in putting it all together.

I also want to thank the Society's sponsors: our patrons, the law schools, the law firms, the publishers, and all of those who support what we do. One of the expanding sources of support for the Society is our law school and law firm partners, and we are grateful to them for the collaboration and for the support.

Finally, and I will say this time and again throughout the meeting, we should thank the incomparable Betsy Andersen and the Tillar House staff. They are the epitome of the under-resourced, hardworking professionals who do an extraordinary amount of high-quality work with limited--though hopefully increasing--resources. So Betsy, to you and the whole staff, enormous thanks as well. I would encourage every meeting attendee who sees anybody with a staff button to stop them in the hall, and tell them what a fabulous job they do.

It is not the purpose of these remarks to provide a grand vision of the state of international law or the challenges it faces. No, I'm going to do something much more pedestrian, but still, to my mind, very exciting. I'm going to tell you what is happening at the Society. We are at a truly important point in the Society's history. The work that is going on now is building on the work of the last five or six years of my predecessors, Betsy, and the staff. But we are not only continuing the Society's core activities, we are expanding its work in important ways. So if you'll indulge me for a moment, I'd like to review where we are and where we hope to go.

First, in the way of maintaining our core contributions, we are here at an Annual Meeting with what may prove record attendance, but what is surely record breadth of participation. In the way of expanding that contribution, there's been an important development in the last few years. Rather than hold the Midyear Meeting in Washington, D.C., Betsy and my predecessor David...

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