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Students forge online connections at the ninth annual Salzburg Cutler Fellows Program

April 06, 2021

Students from University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School joined their peers from 13 other leading law schools online this March to explore the future of public and private international law at the ninth annual Salzburg Cutler Fellows Program.

Convening online rather than in-person in Washington, DC due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic meant that the program this year lasted from March 11 to 27, rather than a single weekend as in previous years. The six-session program saw law students from schools across the country engage with prominent legal professionals, public servants, and leaders in the fields of international law and public service, and build connections across their school networks that will serve them in years to come, as well as connecting them to the wider international Salzburg Cutler Fellows network.

While all studying in the United States, the 53 students of the ninth cohort of Cutler Fellows represented many countries, including Canada, China, Ghana, Mexico, Sweden, Taiwan, Turkey, and the U.S., among others, maintaining the international nature of the program. Students selected from the Law School at Penn were Joelle Hageboutros L’21, Alicia Lai L’21, and Bridget Golob L’21. They were accompanied by Professor Jacques deLisle, Stephen A. Cozen Professor of Law & Professor of Political Science and Director of the Center for East Asian Studies.

The 14 law schools taking part in the 2021 program included Chicago, Columbia, Cornell, Duke, Georgetown, Harvard, Michigan, New York University, Northwestern, Penn, Stanford, UC Berkeley, the University of Virginia, and Yale.

Speakers this year included Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, Perry World House Professor of the Practice of Law and Human Rights at the University of Pennsylvania and former Jordanian diplomat who was recently appointed President & CEO of the International Peace Institute; Susan Biniaz, the Senior Fellow for Climate Change at the United Nations Foundation and previously lead climate lawyer for the U.S. State Department; William Burke-White, Professor of Law at the University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School and leading expert on U.S. foreign policy, multilateral institutions, and international law; and John B. Bellinger, III, Partner at Arnold & Porter LLP and former Legal Adviser to the US Department of State and National Security Council.

Al Hussein spoke candidly with Fellows about his previous role as the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights and the “diplomatic art” of human rights advocacy.

“The power of human rights is immense when wielded properly,” said Al Hussein.

Bellinger and Biniaz held an engaging discussion regarding the creation of the Paris Climate Agreement and the move to rejoin it under the new Biden Administration. Burke-White also once again served as the faculty chair for the year’s program alongside Mark Wu, Henry L. Stimson Professor of Law at Harvard Law School.

In addition to hearing from these keynote speakers, Fellows received individualized critiques on their student papers from faculty of the participating law schools, as well as further advice on how to seek publication in journals. This year’s papers covered diverse topics, ranging from cyberespionage to refugee rights, to the interaction between international law and environmental sustainability.

In the program’s Knowledge Café, students discussed personal ambitions and potential career routes in international law with mentors from The World Bank, New Markets Lab, Rock Creek Global Advisors, the International Monetary Fund, Equality Collective, and the Office of Human Rights & Refugees in the U.S. Department of State.

“It was great to meet so many other students who are passionate about this field – as well as working professionals and academics; I look forward to (hopefully) calling many of them colleagues one day,” said Michigan Law student Sean Brennan.

Concluding this year’s program, Stephen L. Salyer, President and CEO of Salzburg Global Seminar, said: “Being a Salzburg Global Fellow is a life-long learning and problem-solving opportunity; we look forward to working with you and continuing these connections in the future.”


About the Program

The Salzburg Cutler Fellows Program, held under the auspices of the Cutler Center for the Rule of Law, develops outstanding talents who will shape the future of the international rules-based order and government and judicial systems. Since 2012, it has convened annual cohorts of graduate students from 14 top U.S. law schools to build leadership skills and networks across law and public service worldwide.

The Lloyd N. Cutler Center for the Rule of Law was established in Washington, D.C., in 2010 to honor the legacy of long-serving Chair of the Board and Washington “superlawyer”, Lloyd N. Cutler.

About Salzburg Global Seminar

Salzburg Global Seminar is an independent non-profit organization founded in 1947 to challenge current and future leaders to shape a better world. Our multi-year programs aim to bridge divides, expand collaboration, and transform systems.

Salzburg Global convenes outstanding talent across generations, cultures and sectors to inspire new thinking and action, and to connect local innovators with global resources. We foster lasting networks and partnerships for creative, just and sustainable change.

Over 38,000 Fellows from more than 170 countries have come together through our work, with many rising to senior leadership positions. Our historic home at Schloss Leopoldskron in Salzburg, Austria – now also an award-winning hotel – allows us to welcome all participants in conditions of trust and openness.

This piece originally appeared on the Penn Law newsfeed.