My name is Franz Zubieta Mariscal from the world's highest capital city: La Paz, Bolivia. I am a practitioner lawyer, career diplomat and lecturer on international law. As a Bolivia's legal counsel, I had the honour to serve my country before many international tribunals, including the International Court of Justice. Due to the latter, my first visit to the Peace Palace Library took place in December 2012, and from that moment, I had the privilege to be there uncountable times.
Among those memorable visits, I'd like to highlight the 2013 and 2014 summer courses of Public International Law of the Hague Academy of International Law. During these courses, I spent many hours in the Library surrounded by people from all over the world united by International Law's passion. Indeed, I still preserved a vivid memory of such a great diversity of cultures and nationalities digging into the Library's treasures, like children playing in the sand!
It is worth mentioning that the Library membership has been a priceless tool to keep connected to this specialized source of knowledge for me and for many others researchers once back home. Since the asymmetry in the access to information in developing countries is enormous - which also explains why our intellectual production is so modest - I am fully aware of the importance that the Library keeps promoting affordable, simple and continuous access to knowledge for researchers of the world. Particularly in these unprecedented and challenging times.
Currently, I am starting my PhD project on Landlocked States' rights since many countries have no real exercise to its right to freedom of transit to the sea and the invaluable benefits of the 'common heritage of mankind' (as the high seas are known). In this regard, the research guides of the Library have become the Via Regia to enter into these vast domains, where I'll be sailing for a few years (I hope without wrecking).
It's a famous saying among my peers that the Peace Palace Library is the Mecca or the Pole Star of International Lawyers and indeed it is. Like my colleagues, I can't conceive my present and future academic work without the critical support of the Library. Towards whom we'll keep pilgrimaging enthusiastically.