Diplomats from 17 countries, on Wednesday 17 June, completed an intensive course in international law held by the Institute for Executive Education (IEE) of New York University School of Law.
The course was the first of the IEE's customised programmes sponsored and developed jointly and by the United Arab Emirates Mission to the United Nations (UN).
Entitled "Law and Practice of the United Nations: an Advanced Course for Diplomats", the programme was launched on February, 27th, 2015 and aimed at providing practical training on issues of international law for New York-based diplomats from UN member and observer states.
In coordination with the UAE Mission to the UN, Jose Alvarez, Professor of International Law, customised the course to introduce participants to the legal framework for understanding the contemporary operations and challenges faced by the principal UN organs; namely the Security Council, the General Assembly, and the International Court of Justice. The course also gave specific attention to threats to international peace and security, UN counter-terrorism sanctions, UN peace operations, and many other related topics.
Course attendees heard from a broad array of scholars and practitioners in international law, including Professor Philip Alston, who also serves as the UN special rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights; Professor Benedict Kingsbury; Judge Kimberly Prost, the Ombudsperson of the UN Security Council's Sanctions Committee regarding Al-Qaida; Santiago Villalpando, Chief of the UN Treaty Section; and Judge Theodor Meron, President of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia.
In her keynote speech, delivered at the closing ceremonial dinner, the UAE Permanent Representative to the UN, Ambassador Lana Nusseibeh, highlighted that the four-month course has provided the participants with a more comprehensive understanding of many of the legal principles that define their work, and helped them be better informed and more effective in serving their countries as diplomats at the UN.
"This comes in line with the UAE commitment to helping the multilateral system work better and enabling states like us with a small footprint here in the New York to have maximum impact", she said.
"This experience has made members of this class more aware of the principles of international law. The relevance of this curriculum is hard to overstate, since it touches virtually every issue that we as diplomats at the UN are working on. But beyond that, it also brought colleagues from a variety of different countries and from different regions together. We all learned from each other's perspective on these key issues," she said.
The Ambassador concluded by thanking the academics and practitioners for sharing their knowledge and expertise of international law with the course attendees.
At the closing ceremonial dinner, students were awarded their certificates of completion and heard final keynote addresses from UN Under-Secretary-General David Malone, the rector of UN University in Tokyo and long-time adjunct professor at NYU Law, and Miguel de Serpa Soares, the UN Under-Secretary for Legal Affairs.