Skip to main content

2023 Salzburg Cutler Fellows Program

April 10, 2023

The Salzburg Cutler Fellows Program, held under the auspices of the Lloyd N. Cutler Center for the Rule of Law, helps outstanding law students with a common interest in international law explore timely legal issues while forging connections and developing leadership skills.

The 2023 program, consisting of 56 students from 14 leading U.S. law schools as well as faculty representatives, assembled from February 16 to 18 in Washington, D.C. Four students from Penn Carey Law attended as Fellows, as did Penn Carey Law Professor of Law William Burke-White and Stephen A. Cozen Professor of Law and Professor of Political Science Jacques deLisle. The theme for this 11th annual conference was “The Future of Public and Private International Law.”

“It was a whirlwind two-day affair that was jam-packed with paper presentations, panel discussions, and amazing conversation all around,” said Harshitha Kasarla LLM’23.

Alara Hanci L’24 was attracted to the program by its exposure to the most pressing issues in international law and its emphasis on public service, but she noted that “Cutler also offered the opportunity to expand my global network of professionals pursuing careers in the international legal field.”

Salzburg Cutler 2023 In advance of the opening session, each Fellow prepared a research paper on an emerging issue in public or private international law. Then, during the intensive conference, the students reviewed each paper with faculty representatives in a workshop setting, receiving advice on improving arguments and refining papers for publication. “We had the opportunity to present and discuss our papers at the International Institute of Peace with some of the greatest minds in international law,” said Kasarla; her paper, “Taking Corporations to Court for Climate Change,” has since been published on the Salzburg Cutler website.

In her paper, Gaëlle Pierre-Louis L’23 explored the benefits and costs of trade preference programs in developing countries. “The writing workshop was really valuable for me,” she said. “It was targeted and well structured, and it focused on helping us improve the clarity of our papers and understand how to position the paper based on our audience. The feedback helped me identify areas of improvement.”

Hansi combined her background in human rights with a developing interest in corporate social responsibility and environmental law, writing a paper that brought the United States into the picture as well. “My workshop group had another student who wrote about the limitations imposed in the Alien Tort Statute, so she provided tailored, niche advice. It was also valuable to get the input of international law professors from other law schools to supplement the perspectives I had received from the faculty at Penn.”

In her paper, now published, Josie Little L’23 explored the topic of how Russia has changed its IP laws in the aftermath of its invasion of Ukraine. “I appreciated the feedback from the professors in the workshop,” she said, “and ideas on new topics that I could look into. I also enjoyed hearing about the paper topics of other students.”

This year’s conference included several expert panels as well, on topics ranging from Russia’s war in Ukraine to the evolution of climate change law and policy.

It also featured a Knowledge Café, where the Fellows found opportunities to discuss personal goals and Salzburg Cutler 2023  potential career paths with mentors engaged in public service. In these formal networking events, Pierre-Lewis said, “I was able to meet people who were thinking through ideas in international development that helped me to think about other topics I can explore in the future.”

The informal networking opportunities, like lunch and coffee breaks, were just as key for the attendees. “For the first time, informal networking felt fun!” said Hanci. “I connected with intelligent, passionate students with genuine interest in and intimidating amounts of knowledge about international law.”

“The Salzburg Cutler Fellows Program was a unique experience, unlike any other conference that I attended,” said Kasarla. “We were not treated like students, but like academicians and leaders.”

Hanci added, “It felt both inspiring and hopeful to make this early connection with the communities that I plan to be a part of in my post-graduate career.”