The SAIS Review’s “Treaties, Traditions, and Tribunals” Launch Event

Read Time:3 Minute, 31 Second

Tyler Parmelee and Kayla Goldstein

Edited by Mary Hopkins

On February 15th, the SAIS Review Journal of International Affairs hosted its first in-person event in three years to celebrate the release of their latest issue, Treaties, Traditions, and Tribunals: The Role of International Law and Institutions in the 21st Century. 

The new edition–which is one of three to be released this semester due to delays stemming from the Covid-19 pandemic–tied together unlikely themes such as biodiversity, space, and food security under the umbrella of international law. Through these themes and others, experts analyze the role of international law in the world today. In a letter written by The SAIS Review Editorial Board of this issue, the editors spoke to the interconnectedness of the ever-changing global landscape. 

“[Today,] we confront transnational issues that reach beyond the jurisdiction of domestic law and require states to create international rules, norms, and other institutions to collectively address them.” 

In addition, the Editorial Board underscored the reliance of nation-states for guidance and order in international law. The editors identified the myriad of challenges faced by states today–from deep-rooted issues uncovered by the Covid-19 pandemic to the drastic effects of climate change–and how states have interpreted the role of international forums and governing bodies in different ways.

SAIS Foreign Policy Institute Executive Director, Ambassador Cinnamon Dornsife, gave the event’s opening remarks, followed by SAIS Review Editor-in-Chief of the 2021-2022 edition, Ava Shen. Current Editor-in-Chief Jonathan Mangrum followed up with his own remarks and then introduced the main event: a moderated panel of experts and contributors to the latest issue. The SAIS Review hosted four panelists: Dr. Carla Freeman, Senior Fellow at the SAIS Foreign Policy Institute and Senior Expert on China for the United States Institute of Peace; Dr. Peter Martinez Executive Director of the Secure World Foundation; Dr. Daniel Magraw Senior Fellow at the SAIS Foreign Policy Institute and Senior Lecturer at the University of Miami School of Law; and Dr. Marsha A. Echols Founding Executive Director of the World Food Law Institute and professor at Howard University School of Law. Dr. Freeman and Dr. Martinez both contributed to the latest edition. Moderating the discussion was Senior Editor of the SAIS Review Editorial Board Na-Yeon Park. 

Each panelist discussed the articles they wrote for the new edition and their other active research on matters related to international law. Dr. Freeman discussed the importance of her work with a team of researchers and experts, on the Diplomatic Capacity Index, which highlights the methodology of state decision-making upon consideration of joining an international body or forum. Afterward, Dr. Peter Martinez spoke on international law as it pertains to space exploration, governance, and its militarization, in addition to the competition between public and private sector interests in space activities. His recommendations included UN involvement in the short-term and state/non-state partnerships in determining long-term principles for the future of space. 

After the contributors reviewed their articles, FPI Fellow Dr. Daniel Magraw highlighted the key importance and role of international law in themes such as biodiversity, climate change, and the significance of securing a clean environment as a human right. Specifically, Dr. Magraw cited the 30 years of environmental case law and activism that culminated in last year’s UNGA recognition of a clean, healthy, and sustainable environment as a human right. Dr. Marsha Echols discussed the key role of food security and access to basic necessities such as clean water when discussing international law and regulations, especially in the United States. 

The panelists provided a nuanced approach to tackling pressing questions regarding international law and the contemporary role of institutions (both domestic and international). 

Congratulations to the contributors and Editorial Board of the SAIS Review for an incredibly successful launch event and for the publication of their first journal issue of the 2022-2023 school year. Interested students can watch the full panel discussion here and can access the full issue online via Project Muse. Print copies are available at the SAIS Review office on the 8th Floor of the Benjamin T. Rome Building or upon request from

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