Academy Students in the Spotlight

Ms. Lusine Hakobyan, Chief Specialist at the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Armenia, Ph.D., Founding Member of the Armenian Association of International Law

On 28th July 2014, The Hague Academy of International Law opened its doors in front of more than 230 participants from different countries. First of all, I would like to state that I was one of the Fellows of 2013 United Nations International Law Fellowship held at The Hague (24 June - 02 August, 2013) and simultaneously I was enrolled as a participant in the Session of the Public International Law (08-26 July, 2013) of The Hague Academy. This year it was a great pleasure and honour to participate in the Private International Law Session (7 July -15 August, 2014) and I am grateful to Professor Yves Daudet, the Secretary General of The Hague Academy, as well as to Ms. Monique Legerman, Head of the Secretariat for given me the unique opportunity to attend and participate in the Sessions. I am very proud that I have become the member of Academy’s “Great Legal Family”. The participation in both Sessions gave me great chance to improve my knowledge on Public and Private International Law, to gain new experience and practice, which I will share with my colleagues at the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Armenia and with the MA law students, whom I deliver lectures to.

I appreciate the efforts of the Academy to invite eminent scholars and professors specialized in different issues and topics of Private International Law. I really enjoyed the inaugural lecture given by Professor Lagarde, lectures on modern issues of Private International Law and very recent developments and tendencies in this sphere given by Professor  Benicke, Professor Frigo, Professor Cordero-Moss and Professor Kruger.

During three weeks of the Session we had lifetime opportunity to use the resources of the Peace Palace Library. The participation in the Session became more fruitful and gave lots of advantages in favor of efforts and kind attitude of the Library’s staff representatives. I would like to express my special gratitude to Candice Alihusain, Niels van Tol, Anna Katarzyna Duszczyk, Leo van Vliet for their assistance and kind approach.  I am more than sure that the materials and knowledge gained at the Library will promote the progressive development of my future academic career and scientific research.

The special event in honour of Bertha von Suttner organized by initiative of The Hague Academy and Mrs Candice Alihusain, Head of the Reading Room of the Peace Palace Library is worth mentioning. On July 29,  I took part in the Conference dedicated to Bertha von Suttner and her activities for supporting the maintenance of peace and security all over the World. We were privileged to participate in the Lecture  given by Mrs Hope Elizabeth May Ph.D., J.D. Central Michigan University on “The Life and Lessons of Bertha von Suttner”. To be honest, I would never have known about Bertha von Suttner’s life and lessons if this event had not been organized by the Library.

I discovered that on May 18, 1899, Bertha von Suttner was the only woman to attend the opening of the First Hague Peace Conference and the very first woman in the world who won the Nobel Peace Prize.

Taking the opportunity, I would like also to thank the Association of Attendees and Alumni of The Hague Academy of International Law (AAA) for given me the chance to visit different international organizations such as the OPCW, the ICC, for organizing very interesting socializing events.

I will recall those three weeks spent at The Hague as one of my best memories and experience.

I like The Hague not only because it is the “capital” of  International Law, the city of international justice, but also the city where people with different historical and cultural backgrounds, different nationalities and professions preserve an atmosphere of solidarity and tolerance, peace, non-discrimination and humanity.

Kalkidan Negash Obse from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

I am a young Ethiopian national who considers himself a ‘world citizen’ in the tradition of cosmopolitanism, a belief which underlies my abiding interest in international law as well as my academic pursuits in the field. I am a lecturer at the Center for Human Rights of Addis Ababa University which I helped establish as its first acting director. I am currently working on a doctoral project titled: 'The Emerging Regional Regulation of Domestic Constitutional Law in Africa: The Quest for A Theory of International Constitutional Law'. The project studies
emerging normative standards of the African Union (AU) which purport to regulate key aspects of domestic constitutional law and analyzes the implications thereof, in theory and practice. The dissertation investigates the topic in light of the discourse on global constitutionalism (international constitutional law) and a myriad of
contemporary developments in the field of international law.

I am extremely glad to have been awarded a scholarship by the Academy to further my doctoral study as well as to participate in the 2014 summer courses offered by the Academy. Attending programs of the Academy has given me an ideal opportunity to expand my horizons in the field of international law and to network with a wonderful group of aspiring international lawyers who are determined to ‘change the world’. The summer courses have provided us an excellent platform to explore several thorny issues of international law under the guidance of leading experts of international law (aka “the most highly qualified publicists of the various nations”). While the various lectures covered specific questions of hierarchy, use of force, rebellion, development, arms control and so on, most of them ended up generating heated debates on questions of far broader relevance which were dealt with in the afternoon seminars or informal discussions between students. At the center of the debates were questions concerning the nature of international legal norms, the authority and efficacy of international law as well as the potentialities and limits of international law to address global problems. In general, I believe now we have a clearer picture of what we can accomplish through the use of international law, perhaps thereby fighting for the gradual emergence of a more just and more efficacious global order. So let’s go ahead and change the world!

Gabriela Blachet from Buenos Aires, Argentina

Last month I had the privilege and the opportunity to attend a summer course in Private International Law at the Academy in The Hague, The Netherlands. That was the most wonderful, overwhelming and enriching experience I have ever had in my life.

The professors were remarkable, all members of the staff made me feel at home, and I had the chance to meet dozens of students and colleagues from all over the world. Above all, this experience made me contemplate about the multi-ethnics and diversity of culture as a pillar that should be emphasized and reinforced profoundly in Private International Law and in everyday life. The world becomes smaller each day because of information. It travels fast by internet in social nets and other sites. The Academy helps me to understand that cultures and traditions are tangled. Frontiers are permeable, we know many things about people and countries in advance. Network and communications allow us to do it. In addition as a lawyer, I have the responsibility of understanding different legal matters according to different national legal backgrounds and the culture of each country. Most importantly, the Academy has an amazing Library where you could find a great branch of books on Public and Private International law. Knowledge is the master piece there. The Peace Palace itself is located next to the Academy building. It was a pleasure to the eyes and being so closed to this wonderful building truly touched my heart. The Academy resembles the world I would like to live in. The place where. the value of justice, equity, respect of human nature and human rights are protected and reinforced. I am an independent lawyer in Argentina. I am doing my Masters in International Law and I dream of a world where all languages, cultures, ethnicities and religions are respected and valued.  We need to work to achieve these goals and the beginning of this task is to have the knowledge of how to do it.