Better Place is an interview series with international law practitioners from around Australia and the world. Hosted by Jonathan Kolieb of RMIT University, the ...
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Michael Abramowitz - President, Freedom House - democracy and human rights advocate
In this episode Jonathan speaks with Michael J. Abramowitz, the president of Freedom House - an independent watchdog organisation dedicated to the expansion of freedom in the world. As their website states: 'Freedom House is founded on the core conviction that freedom flourishes in democratic nations where governments are accountable to their people.'Before joining Freedom House in February 2017, Mike was director of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum’s Levine Institute for Holocaust Education. He led the museum’s genocide prevention efforts, including the creation of the "Committee on Conscience", and later oversaw its public education programs. He was previously National Editor and then White House correspondent for the Washington Post.He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and former fellow at the German Marshall Fund and the Hoover Institution. A graduate of Harvard College, Michael is also a board member of the National Security Archive.A few Freedom House Publications: Principles for Safeguarding US Democracy (Freedom House) - https://freedomhouse.org/article/prin...Freedom on the Net 2020 - "The Pandemic's Digital Shadow" - https://freedomhouse.org/report/freed...Freedom in the World - https://freedomhouse.org/report/freed...Relevant links:https://freedomhouse.org/report/freedom-net/2020/pandemics-digital-shadowhttps://freedomhouse.org/https://www.ushmm.org/https://www.washingtonpost.com/
Paul Williams - Co-Founder of Public International Law and Policy Group and Professor in Law and International Relations, American University-Washington DC
In this episode, Jonathan speaks with the tireless Paul Williams. Paul is a former US State Department officer, Paul co-founded the Public International Law & Policy Group - a non-profit, pro bono global law firm advising everyone from sovereign governments to non-state armed groups. He also finds time to be a professor at American University, Washington DC.Public International Law & Policy Group - https://www.publicinternationallawandpolicygroup.orgFormal bio: Paul R. Williams holds the Rebecca I. Grazier Professorship in Law and International Relations at American University. Professor Williams teaches at the School of International Service and the Washington College of Law and also directs the joint JD/MA program in International Relations. Professor Williams is co-founder of the Public International Law & Policy Group (PILPG), a non-profit group, which provides pro bono legal assistance to states and governments involved in peace negotiations, post-conflict constitution drafting, and war crimes prosecutions. Over the course of his legal practice, Professor Williams has assisted over two dozen peace negotiations. Professor Williams has advised governments across Europe, Asia, as well as North and Sub-Saharan Africa on state recognition, self-determination and state succession issues, and on drafting and implementation of post-conflict constitutions.Prior to his arrival at American University, Professor Williams spent time as a Senior Associate with the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, and as a Fulbright Research Scholar at the University of Cambridge. Professor Williams also served as an Attorney-adviser for European and Canadian affairs at the U.S. Department of State, Office of the Legal Adviser. Professor Williams has authored five books on a variety of topics such as international human rights, international environmental law and international norms of justice; he has also written over three dozen articles on a wide variety of public international law topics. He holds a PhD from Cambridge, a Law degree from Stanford and an undergrad degree from UC Davis.
Sarah Leah Whitson - Executive Director, DAWN - Democracy for the Arab World Now
In this episode, Jonathan speaks with Sarah Leah Whitson an American human rights lawyer and advocate with a passion for advancing democracy and human rights in the Middle East. Sarah Leah has worked and volunteered for various civil society organisations, including the Arab-American Anti-Discrimination Committee, the Center for Economic and Social Rights and for Human Rights Watch.For over a decade and a half, Sarah Leah was in the leadership of Human Rights Watch - where she served as executive director of the Middle East and North Africa division of Human Rights Watch. Sarah Leah has now taken up the role of executive director at DAWN- Democracy for the Arab World Now – an organisation advocating for democracy and human rights in the Arab world that was originally conceived by Jamal Khashoggi - the murdered Saudi journalist and rights activist. Prior to her human rights work, Sarah-Leah worked for Goldman Sachs as an investment banker and as lawyer for a prominent New York law firm. Sarah-Leah is a graduate of University of California, Berkeley and Harvard Law.Useful links:DAWN (Democracy for the Arab World Now) - https://dawnmena.org/Human Rights Watch - https://www.hrw.org/Center for Economic and Social Rights - https://www.cesr.org/MADRE - https://www.madre.org/
Sean Murphy - Special rapporteur on Crimes Against Humanity at United Nations' International Law Commission and Professor at George Washington University Law School
In this episode, Jonathan speaks with Sean Murphy - a former president of the American Society of International Law and currently the Special Rapporteur on Crimes Against Humanity for the UN's International Law Commission. In this role he has led efforts to draft articles for a world-first dedicated treaty to prevent and punish crimes against humanity. (https://legal.un.org/ilc/texts/instruments/english/draft_articles/7_7_2019.pdf)Professor Sean Murphy teaches, writes, and practices in the fields of public international law and U.S. foreign relations law at George Washington University Law School in Washington DC. Before joining GW Law faculty in 1998, Professor Murphy served as legal counselor at the U.S. Embassy in The Hague, arguing several cases before the International Court of Justice and representing the U.S. government in matters before the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia. He also served as U.S. agent to the Iran-U.S. Claims Tribunal, arguing cases on behalf of the U.S. government and providing advice to U.S. nationals appearing before that tribunal. Between 1987 and 1995, he served in the U.S. Department of State Office of the Legal Adviser, primarily advising on matters relating to oceans and international environmental law, international claims, and international humanitarian law. Since leaving the U.S. Government, Professor Murphy has represented several countries in international courts and tribunals, including Ethiopia, Kosovo, Macedonia, Suriname, Uganda and the United States, and has served as an arbitrator in inter-State and investor-State arbitrations.Professor Murphy has published numerous articles on international law – including on international environmental law, and law of the sea issues. Since 2012, Professor Murphy has served as a member of the UN International Law Commission, and now, into his second term he serves as special rapporteur for crimes against humanity.Professor Murphy also served as the President of the American Society of International Law.Relevant links:ILC Draft Articles on prevent and punishment of crimes against humanity - https://legal.un.org/ilc/texts/instruments/english/draft_articles/7_7_2019.pdfSean Murphy's profile at George Washington University Law School - https://www.law.gwu.edu/sean-d-murphyInternational Law Commission (of the United Nations) - https://legal.un.org/ilc/American Society of International Law - https://www.asil.org/
Tilman Ruff AO - Associate Professor at Nossal Institute for Global Health, University of Melbourne and Co-President of International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War
In this episode Jonathan chats with Nobel Peace Prize laureate Tilman Ruff on his lifelong pursuit of a world free of nuclear weapons.Tilman Ruff AO is an infectious diseases and public health physician, with particular focus on the urgent planetary health imperative to eradicate nuclear weapons. His work also addresses the broader public health dimensions of nuclear technology.He is Associate Professor in the Nossal Institute for Global Health in the School of Population and Global Health, University of Melbourne. Dr Ruff has since 2012 been a co-president of International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW, Nobel Peace Laureate 1985), and has previously served as Asia-Pacific Vice-President, Boston-based Consultant on Policy and Programs, and Board member. He is a co-founder and was founding international and Australian chair of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), and serves on the Committee of ICAN Australia. ICAN was awarded the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize “... for its work to draw attention to the catastrophic humanitarian consequences of any use of nuclear weapons and for its ground-breaking efforts to achieve a treaty-based prohibition of such weapons". ICAN is the first Australian-born Nobel Peace Laureate.Dr Ruff has been active in the Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia) since 1982 and is a past national president. He was one of two civil society advisors to the International Commission on Nuclear Non-proliferation and Disarmament, the first civil society representative on Australian nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty delegations, and a civil society delegate to the landmark intergovernmental Conferences on the Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons in Norway, Mexico and Austria (2013-14). In 2017, he led the IPPNW delegation in New York through the negotiation of the historic United Nations Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.Dr Ruff has clinical interests in immunisation and travel medicine, and was the inaugural head of travel medicine at Fairfield Hospital and then Royal Melbourne Hospital. He served as Australian Red Cross international medical advisor from 1996 to 2019. Dr Ruff worked on hepatitis B control and maternal and child health in Indonesia and Pacific island countries with the Australian and NZ government aid programs, Burnet Institute, UNICEF and WHO. He spent five years as regional medical director for an international vaccine manufacturer.In June 2012, Dr Ruff was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia "for service to the promotion of peace as an advocate for the abolition of nuclear weapons, and to public health through the promotion of immunisation programs in the South-East Asia - Pacific region". In 2019, he was appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) “For distinguished service to the global community as an advocate for nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament, and to medicine.”
Better Place is an interview series with international law practitioners from around Australia and the world. Hosted by Jonathan Kolieb of RMIT University, the interviews seek to demystify what international law is, and what drives people to pursue and sustain careers in international law. International law is ever-increasingly relevant to every facet of life and society in our globalised world. These are the people that help create, support, engage, enforce and work with international law.