ILW 2023 Featured Speakers
The American Branch is pleased to host world-class speakers at International Law Weekend 2023 – Beyond International Law. This year’s keynote and plenary speakers have extensive and active professional careers, specializing in various fields of international law. They offer a wealth of knowledge and embody the diversity that exists within international law – geographically and in regards to areas of expertise.
President, American Society of International Law (ASIL)
Friday, October 20, 2023 at 1:00 pm
Prior to becoming President of ASIL in 2021, Gregory Shaffer served as a Vice President and a member of the Executive Board. Additionally, he served as a representative to the American Council of Learned Societies and Co-Chair of the International Economic Law Interest Group.
He recently joined Georgetown Law Center as the Scott K. Ginsburg Professor of International Law. Previously, he was the Chancellor’s Professor of Law and Political Science at the University of California Irvine School of Law. He has also taught at the University of Minnesota School of Law; Loyola University in Chicago School of Law, where he was the inaugural Wing-Tat Lee Chair; and the University of Wisconsin School of Law, where he co-directed two university research centers–World Affairs and the Global Economy and the European Union Center for Excellence. Before his academic career, he practiced law in Paris for seven years for the Coudert Frères and Bredin Prat.
He is a recognized expert on law and globalization with a specialization in international trade law. He has written numerous publications, including nine books and more than one hundred articles and chapters. His most recent book, Emerging Powers and the World Trading System: The Past and Future of International Economic Law, won the 2022 Chadwick F. Alger Prize of the International Studies Association.
President’s High-Level Opening Plenary Panel
The High-Level Opening Plenary Panel, held at the New York City Bar Association, explores the conference’s theme ‘Beyond International Law’ with a diverse panel of speakers. This annual panel is moderated by ABILA’s President, Michael P. Scharf, Dean of Case Western Reserve University School of Law.
Thursday, October 19, 2023 at 5:30 pm
Ambassador Sheikha Alya Ahmed Saif Al Thani
Permanent Representative of the State of Qatar to the United Nations
Ambassador Sheikha Alya Ahmed Saif Al Thani is a Qatari diplomat who has served as Qatar’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations since 2013, becoming the first woman to serve in this capacity. She has authored and facilitated several UN General Assembly resolutions and has held several leadership roles, including Chairperson for the Seventy-Sixth Session of the UN General Assembly in 2021.
Before her appointment, she held numerous diplomatic and governmental positions. From 2011 to 2013 she was the Permanent Representative to the UN in Geneva. In 2011 she served as Ambassador to the Cabinet of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs. From 2010 to 2011 she was Deputy Permanent Representative at Qatar’s Permanent Mission to the UN in New York, serving previously as Minister Plenipotentiary and Counsellor. From 2003 to 2007 she held two positions within Qatar–Director of the Division of the Rights of the Child in the General Secretariat of Qatar’s Supreme Council for Family Affairs and Senior Specialist in the General Secretariat of the Supreme Council’s Department of International Relations.
She is well-known for her efforts to advance international cooperation and improve accountability. She is also a staunch defender of human rights, with work advancing rights of children, women, and girls.
Assistant Director for Climate, Ocean, and Equity, White House Office of Science and Technology Policy
Maxine Burkett is the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy’s Assistant Director for Climate, Ocean, and Equity. and a Professor of Law at the University of Hawai’i at Manoa, William S. Richardson School of Law. She was a visiting professor at Harvard Medical School and from 2017 to 2020, she was a Global Fellow at Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.
In addition to her academic positions, Maxine Burkett has experience in governmental and NGO spheres. She recently completed her term as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Oceans, Fisheries and Polar Affairs in the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs. Prior to that, she served as an Expert Senior Advisor to Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry where her portfolio included climate-related migration, climate security, bilateral relationships with island nations, and Indigenous Peoples’ engagement. She also is a co-founder of the Institute for Climate and Peace, where she served as Senior Advisor from 2018 to 2021.
Her work focuses on climate change, with specific emphasis on climate justice, climate-induced migration, and climate change, peace, and conflict. She is a member scholar of the American Law Institute and the International Law Association’s Committee on International Law and Sea Level Rise, for which she served as a Co-Rapporteur from 2019 to 2021. In 2016, she received the Bicentennial Medal from Williams College for her distinguished achievement in environmental justice.
Judge Graciela Gatti Santana
President, International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals
Judge Graciela Gatti Santana has served as a Judge at both national and international levels for over 30 years. She currently serves as President of the International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals and is the first woman to do so. She has been a Judge of the Mechanism for over a decade and has been a Judge of the Appeals Chamber in the Karadžić case, Judge of the Trial Chamber in the Kabuga case, and actively involved as a judicial member of the Mechanism’s Rules Committee. In her home country of Uruguay, she has extensive experience as a prominent judge, jurist, and professor. Since joining the Uruguayan judiciary in 1992, she has been assigned to a number of domestic courts and was actively engaged in the implementation of the new Uruguayan Code of Criminal Procedure in 2016/17. She is currently President of the Association of Magistrates of Uruguay and has worked before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights.
Ambassador Michael Imran Kanu
Permanent Representative of Sierra Leone to the United Nations
Ambassador Michael Imran Kanu is the Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Sierra Leone to the United Nations in New York. Previously, he served as Ambassador and Deputy Permanent Representative for Legal Affairs at the Permanent Mission of Sierra Leone to the United Nations. He was a partner at numerous law firms in Sierra Leone, CEU Global Teaching Fellow at University of Makeni, and Visiting Associate at White & Case LLP under the international lawyers for Africa (ILFA) secondment program. He was also a Legal Officer at ProCredit Bank (SL) Limited and served as a Prosecutor at the Anti-Corruption Commission in Sierra Leone. His areas of practice include commercial law and dispute settlement, corporate law, financial crimes, corruption, international business law, international human rights, and public international law.
Christopher Ward SC
Senior Counsel, 6 St James Hall Chambers
Dr. Christopher Ward SC is the immediate-past global President, and current Vice-President, of the International Law Association. As Senior Counsel of the New South Wales Bar and of 6 St James Hall Chambers, he is a recognized expert in the fields of public and private international law. He has an international practice and works in public international law, large commercial disputes and inquiries, private international law, and constitutional and governmental disputes. He has expertise in maritime boundaries, law of the sea, aviation, sanctions, and international anti-corruption and bribery cases. Dr. Ward works regularly in pro bono human rights cases, including providing assistance to individuals facing wrongful detention or the death penalty overseas.