2015 Symposium

The Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law sponsored a one-day symposium on February 13, 2015, This is Not a Drill: Confronting Legal Issues in the Wake of International Disasters.

Recent international disasters, both environmental and humanitarian, have resulted in trails of destruction and destitution, as well as an uncertain legal landscape.  In response to this situation, the International Law Commission (ILC) has completed a draft report addressing the protection of persons when disasters occur.  The Journal’s 2015 Symposium, This is Not a Drill: Confronting Legal Issues in the Wake of International Disasters, addressed current international disaster response topics.  The event focused on an in-depth review of the ILC draft.  Two additional panels addressed environmental effects and disaster assistance in the wake of various types of international disasters.  Symposium participants included leading scholars and policy-makers from across the country and abroad.

Click here to view full the schedule.

Keynote Speaker

  • Eduardo Valencia-Ospina, Special Rapporteur, International Law Commission for the United Nations

ILC Draft Panel:

  • Moderator: David Fisher

  • Elizabeth Katchka, Chief of Staff for Legal Policy, Office of the Chief Counsel, Federal Emergency Management Agency

  • Michael Cooper, Managing Director, The Ploughshare Group, LLC

  • Arnold Pronto, Senior Legal Officer United Nations, Office of Legal Affairs

Responses to International Disasters Panel​:

  • Moderator: Michael Newton

  • Kirsten Bookmiller, Professor, Department of Government and Political Affairs and

  • International Studies Program, Millersville University of Pennsylvania

  • Nathan Clark, Faculty of Law, Centre for International Law and Justice, University of Copenhagen

  • Anastasia Telesetsky, Associate Professor of Law, University of Idaho College of Law

Disaster Assistance/Response Panel/Right to Assistance:

  • Moderator: Ingrid Wuerth

  • Chris Rassi, Senior Legal Officer, International Federation of Red Cross

  • Michael Newton, Professor of Law, Vanderbilt University Law School

  • Giulio Bartolini, Associate Professor, Department of Law, Roma Tre University

Environmental Panel/ Responses after Fukushima:

  • Moderator: Jim Rossi

  • Emily Hammond, Professor of Law, George Washington University

  • Lincoln Davies, Associate Dean of Academic Affairs, University of Utah

  • Dave Lochbaum, Director, Nuclear Safety Project

  • Joseph Tomain, Dean Emeritus and Professor of Law, University of Cincinnati