Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Prominent Woman in International Law Award

At the American Society of International Law Annual Meeting last month, WILIG, the Women in International Law Interest Group, conferred the Prominent Woman in International Law Award on Dinah Shelton, the Manatt/Ahn Professor of International Law at George Washington University Law School, the first woman nominated by the United States to become a member of the Inter-American Human Rights Commission (prior post) -- and one of WILIG's founders. Her full speech, "Where I sit and where I stand," is available on the WILIG listserv at ASIL, but here is an interesting observation about the history of women in international law that she included:

I particularly miss my dear friend Virginia Leary, with whom I initially chaired WILIG. We were part of a small group, along with Kit Bigelow, Edith Brown Weiss, Cynthia Lichtenstein, and Amy Young, who started this wonderful association [WILIG] some 30 years ago. At that point women were being admitted to law school in growing numbers and this brought more into the Society [ASIL], which was not so quick to recognize this new reality. The 75th anniversary meeting was the catalyst: not a single (or married for that matter) woman international lawyer from the U.S. appeared on the program. We decided that was the last time such a result would occur.

And here's a tantalizing paragraph that explains the title of her talk:
Now, to turn to sitting and standing…. One of the members of the current US administration has repeatedly said when asked about his new position and policy on certain international matters that “where you stand depends upon where you sit.” I’ve given that a lot of thought, because I am now sitting in a new position as member and vice-president of the Inter-American Human Rights Commission. We are just finishing our first two week session since my election. What have I learned about where I stand from where I sit, and what does that phrase actually mean?

Read more here.

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