Letter From the President - Prof. Anne Peters
Dear ESIL members,
At the 4th ESIL Biennial Conference in Cambridge, the Board of the society elected me to serve as its president for the next two years. Let me start off by thanking Hélène Ruiz Fabri, the second President of ESIL from 2006 to 2010, and the five members who have just ended their terms as board members (Andrea Bianchi, Vera Gowlland, Boldiszar Nagy, Ian Scobbie, and Bruno Simma) for all the time and energy they invested in the society. Then let me thank you, the members, for your readiness to share with each other your knowledge, creativity, time, and networks. Membership has been constantly increasing since the society was inaugurated in 2004 and has reached its peak this year. It would be wonderful if we could reach the threshold of one thousand members soon.
In my first message as President, let me outline where I would like to see ESIL in two years’time. The distinctive features of the society are: youth (it’s all relative …), methodological reflection, inclusiveness, and diversity. By diversity I refer to approaches to international law, languages, legal cultures, and the places where our events take place. We should cherish this diversity as a specifically European feature.
Although the facilitation of a trans-European dialogue on international law is a very important part of ESIL’s mission, we as members should not only look at ourselves. We should try to contribute to the solution of pressing global problems ranging from Anti-terrorism to Zero-death-strategies, from Age discrimination to the issue of Prince Zeid’s report, from Anti-dumping to the exclusive economic Zone. It is not easy for ESIL to influence the international practice of states but maybe it will be possible in future. So far ESIL has never advised a government to recognize the compulsory jurisdiction of the ICJ, as the German society of international law did some years ago. Nor has it recommended a candidate for the position of judge, as the American society has done. But in the next few years, ESIL might think about such actions, addressing the EU as an international actor.
I deem it very important that themes and methods, as debated in conferences and research fora, should to a large extent develop ‘bottom up’ rather than ‘top down’. ESIL Interest Groups, covering issues ranging from international legal theory to international environmental law, are already a very important factor in this regard. I will do my best to ensure that the interest groups’ activities are integrated more fully into our conferences.
It is a privilege and an honour – and hopefully also some fun — to serve ESIL, and I am looking forward to the next two years.
© ESIL 2004-2011
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