About the 2006 Founders Celebration

The Centerpiece of SECLE's work is the Founders Celebration, a series of events over a 3-month period held during the spring semester. The celebration commemorates the founding of WCL by Ellen Spencer Mussey and Emma Gillett in 1896 at a time when few women were admitted to law school or the legal profession.

"The real measure of success is what you put into the world, what you leave behind, not what you get out of it for yourself."

-- Ellen Spencer Mussey

Speech at the 10th Anniversary of WCL's Founding

WISDOM for all.

American University Washington College of Law (WCL) has established a tradition of offering many exceptional and diverse conferences and lectures during our Founders� Celebrations. The 2005 Founders� Celebration commenced with the historic conversation between sitting U.S. Supreme Court Justices Antonin Scalia and Stephen Breyer on the Relevance of Foreign Law for American Constitutional Adjudication. Over the ensuing five months, more than 5,000 lawyers, students, judges, scholars and other professionals from around the nation and the world attended 46 Founders� events and conferences addressing key issues of our time. Speakers and attendees traveled from 19 different countries and included representatives from 279 international and national organizations, 83 law schools and universities, and 47 embassies. Several events were cosponsored with distinguished organizations such as the Library of Congress, the Inter American Press Association and the American Society of International Law, just to name a few.

Many of the events were covered by the media, including four programs featured on C-Span, and event materials were distributed widely, further expanding the outreach and increasing access to key information concerning the nation and the world.

As this rich WCL tradition continues, I am privileged to present our Founders� Celebration 2006. The extensive program reflects our commitment to offering a vast array of events that concern and engage the community.

Our 2006 program has multiple highlights. We are honored to welcome President and Judge Luzius Wildhaber of the European Court of Human Rights, who will share his unique insights and expertise with regard to �The Present and Future of the European Court of Human Rights.� We will also celebrate the 10th Anniversary of the Annual Sylvania Woods Conference on African Americans and the Law. The conference honors the late Judge Woods, a 1960 WCL alumnus, and will address � through the participation of practicing lawyers, jurists, alumni, faculty, students, and administrators � matters of law that profoundly affect African Americans and their cultures. Celebrating 21 years of the U.S.-Israel Civil Liberties Program, we will host the First Annual U.S.-Israel Civil Liberties Program Conference: Perspectives on Security and Human Rights � Comparing the U.S. and Israel. This conference will bring prominent experts, advocates, academics, activists and thinkers together to compare and contrast lessons learned in the U.S. and Israel in the struggle to balance human rights and security concerns.

We will also offer a training seminar on The UN and Regional Systems� Legal Framework on Torture. This seminar is designed to familiarize policymakers, judges, lawyers, advocates and academics with the obligations established under international law concerning torture, as well as with the organs and procedures relevant to the prohibition of torture. Anticipated speakers include individuals from the UN, including the UN Committee Against Torture, the Inter- American Commission on Human Rights, and NGOs from around the world.

WCL is also very pleased to host both the European American Consortium for Legal Education Conference, as well as the 2006 Mid-Atlantic People of Color Legal Scholarship Conference.

You will find that our Founders� Celebration addresses a wide range of issues involving, for example, business, human rights, gender, intellectual property, international trade, national security, health, and globalization. A sampling of events illustrates the variety and significance of this year�s offerings: Out of Thin Air � The Challenges of Media Regulation in the Era of Technological Convergence; Nuclear Non-Proliferation: A Legal Framework in Crisis?; Emerging Issues in National and International Security (EMININT 2006); Bankruptcy 2.0(05): Chapters, Changes and Challenges; Women�s Health in Developing Countries � Effects of Access to and Quality of Healthcare on Their Economies; Reparations and the Law; Future of International Chemical Regulation; The Fourth Annual Legal Rhetoric Symposium; Recent Developments in the Repatriation of Native American Cultural Heritage; Lessons from NAFTA � Trade Dispute Resolution; Cracks in the System: The Adequacy of U.S. Healthcare Regulation in a Global Age; WCL Living History Student Essay Competition and Panel; Common Ground: Global Perspectives on Minorities� Land Rights; Jurists and Gender: Highlighting the Experiences and Contributions of Female Judges; Courting Justice � The Contested Role of the Courts for the Struggle for LGBT Equality; Ninth Annual Hispanic Law Conference; One Nation Under the Constitution � Bridging Communities Through Constitutional Literacy; IP/Gender: The Unmapped Connections; International Law and International Financial Institutions; Winning the War on Terror � Beyond Crusades and Califates; The Nonprofit Capital Market: Investment Notes and other Socially Responsible Investment Mechanisms for Accessing Investor Capital; Critical Race Theory Workshop: Race, Law and Society; Expanding the Toolbox: Using International Treaty Norms in Domestic Social Justice Advocacy in the United States; Crossing Borders � Legislative Solutions to Immigration Issues; Immigration Consequences of Criminal Convictions; Human Rights and Sustainable Development; and the one-of-a-kind trilingual (English/Spanish/Portuguese) Inter- American Human Rights Moot Court Competition, now in its 11th year.

Recognizing that there have been many technology innovations over the past year, a program � The Intersection of Business, Politics, Technology and the Law � will highlight how these developments will affect all aspects of the work that is carried out today.

Numerous events will be offered with Continuing Legal Education accreditation and these are highlighted in the brochure. I invite you to join us for Founders� Celebration 2006 and to participate in the exciting endeavor of analyzing and shaping key issues of our time.


In hosting the annual Founders� Celebration, WCL follows in the footsteps of its Founders, Emma Gillett and Ellen Spencer Mussey, who believed that legal education was key to achieving gender equality. Our Founders would be proud to know that their institution�s contributions to the rule of law continue to inspire our community. In 1896, when Ellen Spencer Mussey and Emma Gillett founded our law school, they created an institution that gave voice to many who, until then, had none. Our Founders had the courage to see potential where few had dared, and the determination and practical action to realize their vision. More than 100 years later, WCL further contributes to human dignity by working to transform ideals into reality. In honoring Ellen Spencer Mussey and Emma Gillett, our Founders� Celebration seeks out innovative and diverse topics, examines engaging legal developments worldwide, and analyzes important issues facing practitioners in the field. One person who continues the vision of these remarkable women is Edna Ruth Vincent, the recipient of the 2006 Women and the Law Leadership Award.

She is a 1989 graduate of the American University Washington College of Law and earned her undergraduate and graduate degrees in Education from North Carolina A&T State University and Howard University, respectively. Before becoming a lawyer, Ms. Vincent was an educator in the Fairfax County Public School System. Prior to co-founding Colten Cummins Watson & Vincent P.C., Ms. Vincent was an associate with Hazel & Thomas, P.C. and a Principal at Surovell, Jackson, Colten & Dugan, P.C. She was a judicial law clerk to the Honorable Leonie M. Brinkema, Judge of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia. Ms. Vincent practices primarily in the area of Family Law. She was recognized in the February 2004 issue of the Washingtonian Magazine as one of the top 52 domestic relations lawyers in the area and in the December 2004 issue as one of the Top Lawyers in divorce and family law. She also has received Martindale Hubbell�s top attorney rating of AV.

The Award will be presented to Ms. Vincent during a luncheon ceremony bringing together women leaders from around the world.