President’s Letter: Spring 2022
This is my final letter as ABILA President, and it has been an extraordinary four years. In spite of a global pandemic and ongoing war, we have grown to become the largest ILA Branch and created a new website. Eight members have joined as patrons, and we are currently celebrating our 100th anniversary.
This is largely due to the talent and efforts of our members, and the leaders of our Branch who came before me. It is also due to the dedication of our staff and our officers, including our long-time Treasurer Houston Putnam Lowry; our corporate secretaries Amity Boye and M. Imad Khan; Membership Officers Bethel Mandefro, Tabitha Crawford, and Madaline George; Media Officers Zoe Ferguson, Rukhsar Azamee, and Kristi Ueda; our Student Ambassadors; and of course our Committee Chairs, our at-large Board of Directors, Chairman of the Board David Stewart, and our officers and Co-directors of Studies, Jennifer Trahan and Peter Yu.
ABILA has become a Centennial organization because it is a service organization of individuals working for the betterment of the world through the teaching, study, and development of international law. We are small, but part of a larger whole, and we love that. We are bottom-up, rather than top-down; members can propose new committees and projects as well as serve on existing committees and propose panels at International Law Weekend (ILW), regional ILWs, or other events. There is not very much gatekeeping in our organization; instead, there are many entrepreneurs. We are by and large a volunteer organization with little in the way of permanent staffing, and no permanent physical space; we encourage students to attend our meetings free of charge and keep our costs very low for members; and our Board has been remarkably stable, particularly in the adoption of a leadership troika model that allows for continuity and effective collective governance.
Today we continue to cleave to our core values and the International Law Association’s mission of peace and justice through law. We continue to advance our mission through researching, teaching, and studying international law as a practical, as well as a scholarly, discipline and our annual meeting, International Law Weekend, has continued to grow and flourish, even during a global pandemic. We continue to be a service organization and have encouraged the next generation of international lawyers to join—free of charge—and participate actively—free of charge.
We have reached out to new constituencies and embraced diversity and inclusion as key elements of our successful future while at the same time honoring our past. I have been proud to serve as ABILA’s second woman President and thrilled to see a woman chair our parent organization, the International Law Association, and the continuing diversity of our global organization. For this reason, I am convinced that in spite of an ongoing conflict, the continued scourge of the pandemic, economic inequality, racism, religious tension, nationalism, and climate change, we will steadfastly continue to do what we do best: work together, as a community, dedicated to achieving peace and justice through law.
As our organization looks hopefully towards its second century, I am grateful for the opportunity I have had to lead it for the past four years, and to continue to serve as ABILA Chair as the presidential baton passes to my dear friend and colleague, Michael Scharf.
Leila Nadya Sadat, American Branch President