By Jordan Poll
At a time when questions surrounding international law are increasingly complex, 56 students from 11 leading American law schools gathered recently to join this conversation for the fifth annual Salzburg Cutler Fellows Program.
At this two-day event in Washington, D.C., students heard from prominent legal professionals and public servants, including Kristalina Georgieva, CEO of the World Bank, and Jared Genser, founder of Freedom Now, a non-profit organization aiming to free prisoners of conscience around the world.
The University of Michigan Law School was represented by LLMs Chun-Han Chen, Farshad Rahimi Dizgovin, Francis “Tom” Temprosa, 3L Yekaterina “Katie” Reyzis, and 1L Han “Jason” Zhu. They were accompanied by Catharine MacKinnon, the Elizabeth A. Long Professor of Law.
This year’s group of Cutler Fellows collectively represented 26 countries, including Australia, China, Cote d’Ivoire, Ecuador, Iran, and the United States. “Getting to know people from various cultural, legal, and social backgrounds allows you to realize that in spite of differences we can still work together,” said Dizgovin. “These kinds of events remind us that we are not only responsible for ourselves and our country, we are responsible for the whole world. We have only one Earth to live in, and thus its problems and fortunes are the problems and fortunes of all of us.”
Students worked closely with faculty advisers from the University of Chicago, Columbia University, Duke University, Georgetown University, Harvard University, New York University, the University of Pennsylvania, Stanford University, the University of Virginia, and Yale University on research papers tackling issues ranging from human rights to monetary law. “Conversations like the ones fostered at the Cutler Conference promote exactly what is missing in many discussions of the most important international human rights issues of our time—intersectionality,” said Reyzis.
Small group discussions exploring how legal training can be used for the public good were facilitated by Michael Bahar, staff director and general counsel for the U.S. House of Representatives Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence; Katrin Kuhlmann, president and founder of New Markets Lab; Gomiluk Otokwala, counsel at the International Monetary Fund; and Mark Vlasic, senior fellow and adjunct professor at Georgetown Law and principal at Madison Law & Strategy Group.
“It’s easy to become cynical working on challenging and sensitive international legal issues year after year, without seeing concrete change,” said Reyzis. “But coming together with like-minded and passionate colleagues, leaders of our generation, granted me a glimpse into the future that reaches far beyond the academic aspects of the issues we discussed. I was inspired and humbled by my colleagues at the conference, and I thank them for reinvigorating the idealism and hope I had when I began pursuing a career in international law.”
The Program is named in memory of Lloyd N. Cutler, the Washington “Super Lawyer” who served as White House counsel to Presidents Carter and Clinton, and served as chair of Salzburg Global Seminar’s Board of Directors for a decade.
Cutler Fellows examine the future of international law
By Jordan Poll