Salzburg Cutler Fellows Delve into International Law

Five Columbia Law School students and Professor Matthew Waxman travel to Washington, D.C. for the annual Salzburg Cutler Fellows Program on global public service and international legal issues.

Five stellar Columbia Law School students were in Washington, D.C. on February 23–24 to explore the future of public and private international law at the sixth annual Salzburg Cutler Fellows Program.

The Salzburg Cutler Fellows from Columbia were Jacob Bogart ’18, Haris Durrani ’19, Julian Ranetunge ’18 LL.M., Kathryn Witchger ’18, and Fabian Augusto Zetina Vasquez ’18 LL.M. They were joined by faculty representative, Matthew Waxman, Columbia Law School’s Liviu Librescu Professor of Law and the faculty co-chair of the National Security Law Program, as well as participants from 10 other elite law schools. 


(Left to right) Professor Matthew Waxman, Haris Durrani, Julian Ranetunge, Fabian Augusto Zetina Vasquez, Kathryn Witchger, and Jacob (Jake) Bogart — Photo: Salzburg Global Seminar/Tom Hausman
(Left to right) Professor Matthew Waxman, Haris Durrani, Julian Ranetunge, Fabian Augusto Zetina Vasquez, Kathryn Witchger, and Jacob (Jake) Bogart — Photo: Salzburg Global Seminar/Tom Hausman

Over two days, the fellows engaged with prominent legal professionals and public servants, including Diane Wood, Chief Judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit; William H. Webster, former FBI and CIA director; and Ivan Šimonović, the U.N. Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights and Special Adviser of the Secretary-General on the Responsibility to Protect.

The fellows also worked with faculty advisers from the ten other participating schools to sharpen their research papers tackling issues in international law ranging from trade and investment law to the law of war. The Cutler Fellows collectively represented 23 countries, including Argentina, Indonesia, Israel, Jamaica, and Pakistan, as well as the United States.

Opening the program on Friday at the United States Institute of Peace, Judge Wood emphasized that international law is closer and more relevant to the students’ future in legal practice than they might anticipate.

While international legal frameworks put in place since World War II have fostered the effortless flow of ideas, goods, and services around the world, Wood said, challenges have also emerged, including the drug trade, online financial scams, and human trafficking.

“The borderless world has some sinister consequences too,” Wood said, “but these are things that we are dealing with right now in the courts.”

Waxman and Alex Whiting of Harvard Law School engaged in a luncheon discussion with the fellows focusing on the role and recent developments of the International Criminal Court (ICC). Whiting spoke from his experience in the Office of the Prosecutor at the ICC from 2010 to 2013.

On Friday evening, former FBI and CIA director Judge Webster joined in a conversation with John B. Bellinger, III, former Legal Adviser for the U.S. Department of State, reflecting on recent events in the U.S. and calling for the restoration of the values of public service and fierce integrity across party lines.

The following morning, Šimonović offered the fellows advice based on his own work in diplomacy, justice, and international institutions. Recalling his experience as a member of the Croatian Delegation at the 1995 Dayton Peace Talks, Šimonović said, “Always remember the importance of cultural context in international negotiations.”

The fellows were also joined on Saturday by mentors from institutions including the World Bank, the Inter-American Development Bank, and New Markets Lab to discuss how legal training can be used for the public good. Two mentors, Joseph Klingler and Eric Lorber, described their journeys from their participation as students in the Salzburg Cutler Fellows Program to their current work as an associate at Foley Hoag and senior adviser to the Undersecretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence at the U.S. Department of the Treasury, respectively.

At the end of this year’s program, Salzburg Global Seminar President Stephen L. Salyer announced the opportunity for students to submit applications to travel to Salzburg, Austria—the home of Salzburg Global Seminar—in May 2018 to serve as rapporteur at this year’s high-level meeting of the Public Sector Strategy Network, a multiyear initiative at Salzburg Global Seminar run in partnership with the Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Court.

“It is rare to find a program that is so dedicated to training young scholars to develop their own international legal scholarship,” said Witchger. “Participating in the seminar allowed me to grow as a scholar, a student, and a future practitioner . . . the program also introduced us to future mentors in our fields. It was encouraging to meet such dedicated and knowledgeable people to help us forge the path ahead.”


Posted on March 15, 2018