Journal of International Law and International Relations

The UN at Sixty: Celebration or Wake?

A symposium assessing the prospects for UN reform
in light of the September meeting of the UN General Assembly

October 6-7, 2005

University of Toronto
Faculty of Law
Bennett Lecture Hall

In September 2005, the world's political leaders gathered in New York to reflect upon the UN's successes and failures.  Framing their discussions was the report of the High Level Panel on Threats, Challenges and Change and the Sachs report on the implementation of the Millennium Development Goals, as well as the Secretary-General's response.  Kofi Annan had already described the current moment as a "fork in the road" for the UN and for global politics.  Indeed, we are facing fundamental choices as a world society, choices that may result in the marginalization of the UN, or at least of its political and judicial organs.  The US President stated during the bitter debates before the Iraq War of 2003 that the Security Council risked becoming irrelevant.  It is impossible to separate the fate of the UN from the attitude of the political leadership of the United States of America.  Over the last year various efforts have been made to reaffirm a strong role for the UN and to equip it to meet future challenges.  Are these efforts too few and too late?  Does the UN retain global political legitimacy?  Is the United States interested in UN reform?  Can the world do without the UN?  These issues will be debated in the light of the outcomes of the September 2005 session of the UN General Assembly.

Confirmed speakers include distinguished academics and practitioners from Canada, the US, Europe and Latin America on panels covering "new" threats such as development, disease and environmental degradation as well as "old" ones such as constraining and enabling the use of force and preventing state failure and rebuilding societies. 

Professor Philip Alston, Professor of Law & Director, Center for Human Rights and Global Justice, New York University School of Law, will deliver the 2005-2006 Cecil A. Wright Memorial Lecture on October 6 to open the conference.

The conference is organized by the newly-established student-run Journal of International Law & International Relations (JILIR), in collaboration with Professors Jutta Brunnée (University of Toronto) and Stephen Toope (McGill University).

Registration: Registration is free. To register please send a message including your name and affiliation to by September 30. Space is limited.

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