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TWAIL Conference

Third World Approaches to International Law (TWAIL) Conference

The first ever TWAIL conference in the global South will be held in Cairo from 21 - 24 February 2015. The February conference will be proceeded by two small follow-up workshops at the University of Windsor (June 2015) and the National University of Ireland, Maynooth (September 2015). The conference is co-organised by Professors Sujith Xavier (University of Windsor Faculty of Law), Amar Bhatia (Osgoode Hall Law School, York University), Usha Natarajan (American University in Cairo) and John Reynolds (National University of Ireland- Maynooth).

The TWAIL Cairo conference and workshops arise from a worldwide network of established and emerging scholars, practitioners, and graduate students of international law and relations engaged with the evolving and complex relationships between the global North (e.g. Western Europe, North America, Australia) and the global South (e.g. Latin America, Asia, and Africa).  While deeper intellectual roots began in the 1955 Afro-Asian Conference in Bandung, Indonesia, along with the Non-Aligned Movement, this network coalesced more concretely as TWAIL at Harvard Law School in the mid 1990s.  This fast-growing network continues to meet regularly, with the goals of researching the mutual constitution of international law with colonialism and assessing the prospects for reforming the former’s pedagogy, scholarship, and practice.

The TWAIL Cairo conference’s call for papers garnered tremendous interest from international law and other disciplines, with over 150 paper submissions by eminent academics, junior scholars, and graduate students from 33 countries across the globe. The Cairo conference has two broad aims. First, the conference will connect the existing TWAIL network, largely based in the global North, with like-minded scholars and practitioners (lawyers, legal activists) in the global South. To this end, it will be the first TWAIL conference to be held in the global South, with previous conferences being held in Canada, the United States, and Europe. The TWAIL network has strong ties to Canada, with senior Canada-based academics being amongst the founders of TWAIL, and growing number of young scholars at Canadian institutions playing important roles in the recent evolution. The second aim is to engage participants in the conference’s theme of “praxis and the intellectual”. Presentations and panels will challenge comfortable notions of scholarly impact and explore contested strategies of fostering radical change, incremental law reform, or mere maintenance of the status quo with, and on behalf of, social movements.

Conference organizers managed to raise approximately $25,000 from various institutional sources, including a grant from Harvard Law School’s Institute for Global Law and Policy. They were also recently awarded a prestigious Connection Grant by the Social Science and Humanities Research Council matching the funds already raised.

Click here to go to the Conference website.