Five Columbia Law School Students Named to the 2016 Salzburg Cutler International Law Fellowship
The "Fellows" Spent Two Days in Washington, D.C., Engaging with Academics, Judges, Lawyers, and Peers from Other Top Law Schools
New York, May 2, 2016—A delegation of Columbia Law School students who are rising stars in the field of international law recently joined leading academics, judges, practitioners, and peers from nine other top U.S. law schools to participate in a two-day session of the 2016 Salzburg Cutler Law Fellows Program in Washington, D.C.
Daniel Allman ’16 LL.M., Ethan Merel ’16, Modupe Odele ’16 LL.M., Anjli Parrin ’17, and Martin Willner ’17 joined in a series of intensive workshops and lectures on critical issues shaping today’s international law agenda—and became members of a network of students, scholars, and practitioners interested in public service careers and international practice.
Fellows were chosen through a competitive application process open to second- and third-year J.D. candidates and LL.M. students with prior experience in international law. Matthew C. Waxman, the Liviu Librescu Professor of Law and faculty chair of the Law School’s Roger Hertog Program on Law and National Security, served as faculty adviser of the Law School’s program. He helped launch the first session in 2012 and has regularly taught at it since then, including at the Feb. 19-20 event.
|Columbia Law School's 2016 Salzburg Cutler Law Fellows stand with faculty advisor Professor Matthew C. Waxman at the two-day international law conference in Washington D.C. (From left to right: Martin Willner ’17, Daniel Allman LL.M.’16, Modupe Odele LL.M. ’16, Waxman, Anjli Parrin ’17, and Ethan Merel ’17.)|
“This is a terrific program, and I’ve been proud to lead Columbia’s superb delegations,” said Waxman. He added, “It’s a great opportunity for these students to discuss their projects with leaders in the field, and to explore where they want to go in their careers.”
After participating in a number of discussions led by experts, the fellows split into small working groups to explore cutting-edge issues in international law, covering international human rights and humanitarian law; international courts; rule of law; and international finance, monetary, and trade law.
Each fellow had an opportunity to present his or her own research project in international law. Faculty and other fellows provided feedback on focus, execution, framing, and methodology in an effort to strengthen each paper and improve its chances for publication.
Here is a snapshot of the five fellows and their scholarly papers:
Daniel Allman LL.M.’16 wrote a paper on how currency manipulation by China exacerbates inequality, both in the United States and in China. He argues that existing International Monetary Fund and World Trade Organization rules are inadequate and that new rules are needed to combat currency manipulation in international economic law. Allman is from Australia, and has practiced law in Melbourne, Shanghai, and Southeast Asia. His areas of interest are international business and economic law, specifically arbitration law, investment law, trade law, and business and human rights.
Ethan Merel ’17 looked at Google’s Maps and Earth platforms—the most widely used mapping services in the world. He says the company’s methodology for affixing borders and naming key features is unregulated and that Google customizes its maps to adhere to each country’s beliefs and laws. His paper explores the legal implications of customized cartography as it pertains to states’ relations, the role of non-governmental and supranational organizations as governing bodies for geopolitics, and the shift toward private entities and the public as significant actors in the development of public international law. Merel is a Hamilton Fellow, a James Kent Scholar, and a recipient of the Young B. Smith Prize. He participated in the International Criminal Court Moot Competition and is currently acting head notes editor for the Columbia Journal of Transnational Law.
Modupe Odele LL.M. ’16 focused on her native Nigeria in drafting a paper on the rights of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), looking at how Nigeria has managed its expanding IDP population. The paper criticizes the effort of the Nigerian state authority —under international law, IDPs remain the responsibility of their home country—and goes on to provide legal and institutional recommendations drawing on the experiences of two other African countries: Kenya and Sierra Leone. Odele is enrolled in the Columbia Law School Human Rights Clinic and is interested in the intersection between law, development, and human rights. Prior to attending law school, she worked as a commercial lawyer in a boutique corporate law firm in Lagos, Nigeria for three years.
Anjli Parrin ’17 wrote her paper about Somalia’s Demobilization, Disarmament and Reintegration (DDR) initiative. The President of Somalia announced amnesty schemes for people who defect from the terrorist group Al-Shabaab and go through a “process of supervised rehabilitation,” established with assistance from the UN. Her paper evaluates the effectiveness of the DDR initiative, and the legal framework required to deal with terrorist defectors and detainees. Parrin, originally from Kenya, is president of the Law in Africa Student Society, a student organization at Columbia Law School. She has worked at the UN Development Programme in Somalia, in their Rule of Law Programme, and at the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs IRIN News and Analysis Service, focused on the East, Central and Horn of Africa. She has written for The New York Times, Quartz Africa, African Arguments, and the Guardian Development.
Martin Willner ’17 examined two applications of the International Court of Justice’s Specially Affected States Doctrine to international humanitarian law. He argues that both the International Committee of the Red Cross application of the doctrine, which designates all states as specially affected by war, and the U.S. application, which considers only states with a distinctive history of participating in war to be specially affected, are flawed. He uses the topic of drone-warfare to argue that states with a “demonstrated interest” in participating in war should be considered specially affected. Willner has worked at the Permanent Mission of Afghanistan to the UN, the State Department’s Office of Threat Finance Countermeasures, the Council on Foreign Relations’ International Institutions and Global Governance Program, and the Justice Department’s Office of Foreign Litigation. At Columbia, he serves as a coach of the Jean-Pictet Competition in International Humanitarian Law, works with the Iraqi Refugee Assistance Program, and is a staff member of the Columbia Journal of Transnational Law.
The fellowship program is sponsored by the Salzburg Global Seminar, in partnership with 10 top U.S. law schools. It honors the founder of the Washington law firm Wilmer Cutler & Pickering, Lloyd N. Cutler, who served as White House Counsel to Presidents Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton, and played a pivotal role in convening lawyers and judges from across the world at Schloss Leopoldskron, the home of Salzburg Global Seminar since 1947.
Fellows become members of the Salzburg Global Fellowship and can apply for scholarships to attend seminars on topics relevant to their papers and professional interests in Salzburg, Austria.
The process is overseen by the Law School’s Office of International Programs. Adam Kolker, dean and executive director for International Programs, said, “The Salzburg Cutler International Law Fellows Program represents a tremendous opportunity for Columbia students, not just now but – through the Fellowship – in the future as well. We’re delighted to see such highly qualified participants, year after year.”