Saturday, March 26, 2005

Fun days in international law

"It's great that the law of the sea has got exciting again."

These were the words of a senior academic to me on Tuesday, on discovering that several PhD students working on law of the sea issues had trotted down to London for a symposium on the law of the sea. For a field with a dry, technical reputation the place was - as academic affairs go - buzzing.

WMD proliferation, terrorism, the environment, fisheries disputes have all put the law of the sea back on the agenda in terms of issues with a lot of political currency and academic interest. Of course, it's symptomatic of law that "interesting" usually equates to - "things may go badly wrong sometime soon."

On average, the papers were very good. Presentation quality, though, was variable. Some academics do not make the greatest public speakers.

Anyway, as much as anything it was good to make a few connections, both with senior academics and peers. Similarly, about a month ago I went to a highly informative round table session on the Proliferation Security Initiative at Chatham House - where I was, I think, able to participate in a discussion with academics and other lawyers without coming across as a moron.

And on Tuesday I'm off to the intellectual theme-park that is the American Society of International Law conference in Washington DC for a week. While I'm over there it also looks like I'll be interviewing lawyers in US government agencies who work in my field - and having a supervision meeting in the conference venue lobby to discuss my term's work with my supervisor.

The level of weird in my life just keeps rising.

PS Went punting again today. And watched the new Dr Who episode as it went to air with another Australian brought up on that heady Tom Baker vintage.

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