Letter from the President, André Nollkaemper

Dear ESIL members,

At the 12th ESIL Annual Conference in Riga in September 2016, I entered my third and final year as President of the Society. Being President for the past two years has been a real privilege for me and I hope that in this third year I can further contribute to the development of ESIL and its impact on international law, both in its academic and practical dimensions.

In Riga, the Board said farewell to the following members: Laurence Boisson de Chazournes, Lauri Mälksoo, Geir Ulfstein and Ralph Wilde, as well as to Ineta Ziemele who had been co-opted to the Board as the local organiser of the Riga conference. I extend my gratitude and that of the Society to each and every one of them. They have all made a substantial contribution to the Society as Board members and we look forward to their continued support.

I would also like to welcome the new members who were elected to the Board in Riga: Veronika Bílková, Pierre d’Argent, Maria Issaeva, Fulvio Palombino and Philippa Webb. In addition, Massimo Iovane remains for one more year as the co-opted local organiser of the 2017 annual conference in Naples and Jean d’Aspremont has been co-opted for two years as the local organiser of the 2018 annual conference in Manchester. I thank all the new arrivals for their willingness to join the Board and devote their time and energy to our mutual aim of strengthening the study and role of international law in Europe. My gratitude is in particular due to Joyce Davies, Administrative Director of ESIL, who not only continues to keep the Society afloat but also helps to make it grow.

The strength of ESIL is in its members. The Riga conference showed the Society in all its creative and dynamic strengths. With a strong presence of Eastern European participants, it was a manifestation of the regional diversity of the Society. Inspired by the organiser, Ineta Ziemele, and her colleagues in Riga, over 450 participants engaged in lively discussions about the ability of international law to deal with international crises.

ESIL relies very much on the vitality of its Interest Groups and I would like to thank all the members of the Society who have contributed to the success of the groups. We currently have 15 groups, which provide an excellent opportunity for members to actively participate in the Society and interact with fellow members. The groups also allow ESIL to be present in all the different regions in Europe. Recent improvements in the membership management system of the Society have reduced the administrative burden on the conveners and allow them to focus on the substantive interests of their members.

As President, I will continue to promote the scientific reputation of our Society so that it becomes a central actor in the scholarly debate about international law. Our work should reflect the diversity of legal and linguistic traditions, as well as the diversity of conceptions of international law, in the almost 50 states in Europe, and beyond. The development of the Society's relationship with international law practitioners - including legal advisers, judges and attorneys - is also an important aspect of the Society’s future.

Finally, I intend to continue to update the organisation of the Society to make it even more professional. As ESIL continues to attract more members in more states, and engages in more activities, we will need to strengthen and extend the operation of the Society and I will work closely with the ESIL Secretariat staff, based at the European University Institute in Florence, to ensure that this is done in the most effective way.

As your President, I welcome members' suggestions about how we can collectively develop our Society so please feel free to contact me, in writing or in person, to discuss your thoughts and ideas. I look forward to continuing to work with all of you!

André Nollkaemper
President, European Society of International Law (ESIL)