Nearly 500 Attend Annual Grotius Lecture to Open ASIL Annual Meeting, ILA Biennial Conference

Advocate for Women's International Human Rights, Radhika Coomaraswamy, Delivers Distinguished Lecture

On April 9, American University Washington College of Law and the American Society of International Law (ASIL) welcomed nearly 500 attendees to the 16th Annual Grotius Lecture to open the 108th ASIL Annual Meeting and the 76th International Law Association (ILA) Biennial Conference in Washington, D.C.

The Lecture was held at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center.

This year's distinguished lecturer was NYU Law Professor Radhika Coomaraswamy (pictured right) . She is the former U.N. special rapporteur on Violence Against Women, and former U.N. under-secretary general and special representative of the Secretary General for Children and Armed Conflict.

Throughout her career, Coomaraswamy has been a strong voice for women's international human rights and has written extensively on the topic. She delivered her lecture on "Women and Children: The Cutting Edge of International Law."

"Increasingly member states, along with individuals and groups in the global south, challenge both the epistemology and practice of human rights," said Coomaraswamy in her remarks. "Despite their efforts, at the grass root level there is a groundswell of support for the idea of human rights, including women’s and children’s rights, as more and more groups begin mobilizing using the discourse and strategy of the human rights movement to fight for equality and social justice."

Diane Marie Amann, law professor at University of Georgia School of Law and the International Criminal Court Prosecutor’s special adviser on Children in Armed Conflict, served as the event's distinguished discussant. Claudio Grossman, dean of American University Washington College of Law, moderated the discussion.

(Pictured Left: Coomaraswamy, Grossman, and Amann)

Sixteen years ago, American University Washington College of Law and ASIL launched the Grotius Lecture as an annual event to open ASIL's annual conference. The event is named for Hugo Grotius, who is considered the father of international law.

"Hugo Grotius captured the spirit of his time by identifying norms and principles capable of providing the legitimacy of law to decision making in the realm of international relations," said Dean Claudio Grossman in his introductory remarks. "His ideas paved the way for international law to evolve into the system we know today. Our presenters, Professors Coomaraswamy and Amann, join a distinguished group of speakers who have occupied this podium, embodying the commitment to the rule of law in international relations."

The Grotius Lecture is organized annually by the law school's International Legal Studies Program. Read additional coverage by ASIL.