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Professor Ruth Wedgwood at Xiamen Academy: A Volunteer Recounts

Release Time: 2019-07-26      Browse:1600

“Be naughty in a good way” was Professor Wedgwood’s quintessential remark during the opening ceremony of the 2019 Xiamen Academy of International Law summer programme. In shedding light on the oxymoron, she implored the attendees, especially the females to be assertive in correcting the wrongs of society. Her beaming grin, great sense of humour, and humble demeanour immediately endeared her to everyone. In the first session of her lectures, Professor Wedgwood recounted her professional history and family life which narratives were very inspiring. With that offering a pace for scholarly engagement, the erudite professor then delved deeply into the United Nations (UN) Charter. Subsequent sessions were remarkable with demystifications of other international legal instruments; inter alia, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), International Covenant on Economic and Social Rights (ICESR), Convention and Protocol Relating to the Status of Refugees, The UN Global Compact, and some international legal issues pertaining to Modern Day Slavery and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). 

Ruth Wedgewood is Edward B. Burling Professor of International Law and Diplomacy, Johns Hopkins University. She served on the US Secretary of State’s advisory committees on private and public international law and on the CIA historical review panel; US delegate to the UN Human Rights Committee (Geneva and New York, 2003–11); was independent expert for UN criminal tribunal for the former Yugoslavia; former director of studies at Hague Academy for International Law, and tenured professor at Yale Law School; named Berlin Prize Fellow of the American Academy; was vice president of the American Society of International Law, and is on the board of editors for American Journal of International Law, Journal of Strategic Studies, American Interest, World Policy Journal, National Defence University Prism and National Interest.

Professor Wedgwood’s showcase of teacher-student camaraderie was outstanding. I found it very beautiful and fascinating watching her dined with different sets of students after each day’s session – she never seized issuing out dinner invitations. The professor had a strong admiration for Xiamen’s scenic beauty. In catching a glimpse of the city’s grandeur, we visited some busy and trendy shopping malls; the magnificent Xiamen University Campus; Xiamen Museum; and Gulangyu Island - a World Heritage Site of the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). The Afrocentric intellectual discourses I had with her during lunch and dinner have broadened my research frontiers as an aspiring international legal luminary of Africa. Her lectures on General Course of International Law at the Academy spanned from 9-16 July 2019. 

Reported by Gracious Avayiwoe