ABILA’s Centennial Gala Featuring Judge Yusuf (ICJ)
The American Branch held a Gala on October 21, 2022, to celebrate its 100th anniversary, featuring a keynote address by Judge Abdulqawi Ahmed Yusuf of the International Court of Justice.
The special Centennial Gala was hosted at White & Case LLP in New York City, following the President’s High-Level Opening Plenary and Opening Reception on the first day of International Law Weekend 2022. This was a sold-out ticketed event attended by Board Members, Committee Chairs, ABILA and ILA members, and esteemed colleagues in the field of international law.
The gala began with welcome remarks by Hugh Verrier (Chair, White & Case LLP), introduced by Amity Boye (Chief of Staff to the Chair, White & Case LLP; Vice-President, International Law Association (American Branch)). Verrier stressed the importance of international, congratulating the American Branch on its centennial year and urging it to continue to develop and promote international law for another 100 years.
Floriane Lavaud (Counsel, Debevoise & Plimpton LLP; Co-Chair, ILW 2022 Organizing Committee) then introduced the night’s Keynote Speaker, Judge Yusuf. His keynote address, entitled The Development of International Law: Looking Backward to Move Forward, asked: how do we protect humanity?
Stressing that the sovereignty of a state is sovereignty under, not above, the international rule of law, Judge Yusuf stated that a truly collaborative and inclusive international law could in fact protect humanity. He lamented that historical yet persistent uneven power dynamics and applications of international law prevent it from reaching its full potential to create positive change in the world. He warned that so long as states continued to work separately in pursuit of only its own national interests, then the challenges facing humanity will endure, as the development of a normative framework that could inspire common action would not happen. Emphasizing the importance of the American Branch’s role in developing and promoting an effective international legal order, he congratulated the Branch on its centennial year and called on its members to strive for an international law capable of addressing the needs of humanity in the next 100 years.
The American Branch strives to address Judge Yusuf’s call and looks forward to the next 100 years of international law.