The future of international law and the United Nations was under discussion in the opening two panels of the Hauser Global Law School Program’s October 11 conference examining “The International Order Under Challenge.” Moderated by Florence Ellinwood Allen Professor of Law and Hauser Global Law School Faculty Director Gráinne de Búrca, Vice Dean and Murry and Ida Becker Professor of Law Benedict Kingsbury spoke with University of Helsinki Professor Martti Koskenniemi about how international law might change to meet modern challenges such as the threat of climate change or issues, such as data sovereignty, that are posed by evolving technology.
“Now is the moment when the pathway to the future is really getting established,” Kingsbury said.
The conference was held on October 11 to mark the 25th anniversary of the Hauser Global Law School Program. Founded by Rita Hauser, president of the Hauser Foundation and a senior partner for more than 20 years at Stroock & Stroock & Lavan, and by Gustave Hauser LLM ’57, a pioneer of the modern cable television industry, the Hauser Program brings faculty, fellows, and students from around the world to teach, study, and collaborate in New York.
In discussion with Kingsbury and de Búrca, Koskenniemi stressed the need to clarify the language of international law. “Old vocabularies distort creative thinking,” he said, “Often new vocabulary enters the legal field as part of a larger political project… and people are unprepared to think strategically about where to speak the old language but inject new meanings.”
Herbert and Rose Rubin Professor of International Law José Alvarez spoke with Radhika Coomaraswamy, member of the UN Fact Finding Mission on Myanmar and former under-secretary general of the UN, about challenges facing the UN today and the future of multilateralism. “The UN is at the brink of not being able to pay its staff salaries next month… because the United States is in arrears,” said Alvarez. He added that while fact-finding missions are part of the core purpose of the UN, “Alt-right views of conspiracy, hostility to fact… have become much more a part of the mainstream.”
Alvarez noted that the UN also is responsible for some of its reputational problems. “The UN isn’t accountable to the rule of law it sets,” Alvarez said, pointing to problems such as the spread of cholera by UN peacekeepers in Haiti and abuses committed by UN peacekeepers in the Central African Republic. “The organizations have done things they need to fix if they’re going to be legitimized.”
In addition, Sarah Herring Sorin Professor of Law Katrina Wyman moderated panels featuring John Norton Pomeroy Professor of Law Philip Alston and Richard Stewart discussing international human rights and climate change; Lloyd C. Nelson Professor of International Law Robert Howse moderated panels examining regional perspectives on the international order as well as “The Tech Challenge”; and Professor Walter J. Derenberg Professor of Trade Regulation Eleanor Fox ’61 moderated discussions on inequality and corruption with panelists including Beller Family Professor of Business Law Kevin Davis.
Posted November 11, 2019