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MSU College of Law

Speaker Biographies

Ciarán James Burke

He is Professor of International Law and Director of the Law and Language Centre at the Friedrich Schiller University in Jena, Germany. He is also a visiting lecturer at the Brussels School of International Studies. Dr. Burke’s areas of interest consist of various aspects of international human rights law, public international law, general principles of law and equity, and legal theory, among other topics.

Dr. Burke’s prior employment includes serving as an assistant to the former U.N. Special Rapporteur for Human Rights and Counter-Terrorism, and as the managing editor of the European Journal of Legal Studies. He has also devised training manuals for border guards in coordination with the International Centre for Migration Policy Development and the European Union Fundamental Rights Agency.

Dr. Burke’s publications include the book, An Equitable Framework For Humanitarian Intervention (2013).

Conor Foley

He is a Visiting Professor at the Pontifícia Universidade Católica de Rio de Janeiro, a Research Fellow at the Human Rights Law Centre of the University of Nottingham and a Visiting Fellow at the University of Essex (both of the latter in Great Britain).

Professor Foley has worked for a variety of U.N. and non-governmental human rights and humanitarian organizations, and in twenty conflict and post-conflict zones including Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Colombia, Darfur, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Serbia, and Sri Lanka. The subject matter of his work has included combating impunity, under Amnesty International UK’s auspices, during the Pinochet case, and designing two pre-deployment training courses on the protection of civilians, for the U.N. Department of Peacekeeping Operations.

His publications include the following books: The Thin Blue Line: How Humanitarianism Went To War (2010), and Combating Torture: A Manual For Judges and Prosecutors (2003).

Ibrahim Gassama

He is the James O. & Alfred T. Goodwin Senior Faculty Fellow Professor at the University of Oregon School of Law where he teaches international law and human rights law. His academic interests include law and development as well as humanitarian and human rights law and policies.

Prior to joining the legal academy in 1991, Professor Gassama helped to coordinate the US Free South Africa Movement and Nelson Mandela’s first visit to the United States. He worked on human rights, foreign policy, and international economic development issues for TransAfrica, the African American lobby for Africa and the Caribbean. In 1994, he coordinated the recruitment, training, and deployment of U.S.-based nongovernmental observers participating in South Africa’s first all-race democratic election.

Professor Gassama has lectured on international law topics in a wide array of law schools and before the American Society of International Law. He has also published numerous law review articles within this subject area including “International Law at a Grotian Moment: The Invasion of Iraq in Context” appearing in Emory International Law Review (2004) and “A World Made of Violence and Misery: Human Rights as a Failed Project of Liberal Internationalism” appearing in Brooklyn Journal of International Law (2012).

Aidan Hehir

He is a Reader in International Relations and Director of the Security and International Relations Programme at the University of Westminster (Great Britain). He previously worked at the University of Limerick and the University of Sheffield (both in Great Britain). His research interests are comprised of humanitarian intervention, statebuilding, and laws governing use of force.

Dr. Hehir is co-covenor of the British International Studies Association Working Group on the Responsibility to Protect, and is currently working on an Economic and Social Research Council-funded two-year project on “The Responsibility to Protect and Liberal Norms.”

He has lectured in venues around the world on the international law of humanitarian intervention and on the doctrine of responsibility to protect, among other topics. In addition, he is a book proposal reviewer for such major publishers as Oxford University Press and Palgrave MacMillan, as well as submission reviewer for such journals as the Review of International Studies and International Peacekeeping. He is also assistant editor of The Journal of Intervention and Statebuilding.

Dr. Hehir has published widely, including the following books: Humanitarian Intervention: An Introduction (2nd Edition) (2010 & 2013), The Responsibility to Protect: Rhetoric, Reality and the Future of Humanitarian Intervention (2012), and Humanitarian Intervention After Kosovo (2008).

James Turner Johnson

He is Distinguished Professor of Religion and Associate of the Graduate Program in Political Science at Rutgers – The State University of New Jersey. His research and teaching have focused principally on the historical development and application of the Western and Islamic moral traditions related to war, peace, and the practice of statecraft.

Dr. Johnson has been awarded Rockefeller, Guggenheim, and National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) fellowships and various other research grants, and has directed two NEH summer seminars for college teachers.

He is a Trustee, Editorial Board member, and former General Editor of the Journal of Religious Ethics, and is a founding Co-Editor of the Journal of Military Ethics. He has lectured to academic, military, and general audiences in the United States and abroad.

Dr. Johnson’s major books include Sovereignty: Moral and Historical Perspectives (2014), Ethics and the Use of Force: Just War in Historical Perspective (2011), The War to Oust Saddam Hussein (2005), Morality and Contemporary Warfare (1999), and Just War and Jihad: Historical and Theoretical Perspectives on War and Peace in Western and Islamic Traditions (1991). His latest book is a co-edited volume, The Ashgate Research Companion to Military Ethics.

Ved P. Nanda

He is the Evans University Professor and Thompson G. Marsh Professor of Law at the University of Denver Sturm College of Law and Director of the College’s Ved Nanda Center for International & Comparative Law. He teaches human rights, international conflict resolution, and international law, among other courses.

Professor Nanda has been significantly involved in the global international community, including serving as past President of the World Jurist Association and now its Honorary President; the former honorary Vice President of the American Society of International Law and now its counselor; a member of the advisory council of the U.S. Institute of Human Rights; the former U.S. Delegate to the World Federation of the U.N. Associations, Geneva and Vice-Chair of its Executive Council; and as an elected member of the American Law Institute. In addition, he is the recipient of numerous national and international awards for his professional accomplishments.

Professor Nanda has spoken at venues around the world and is a widely published scholar on international law topics, authoring or co-authoring 24 books and over 200 chapters and major law review articles. His books include Introduction to International Criminal Law (2012), Law in the War on International Terrorism (2005), and Human Rights and Third World Development (1985).

Taylor B. Seybolt

He is an Associate Professor of International Affairs at the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs, University of Pittsburgh, where he was also Director of the Ford Institute for Human Security (2009-2011). His research interests include the protection of civilians in conflict zones and the causes and prevention of genocidal violence.

Dr. Seybolt served as an advisor to the Genocide Prevention Task Force, co-chaired by Madeleine Albright and William Cohen. From 2002 to 2008, he was a Senior Program Officer at the U.S. Institute of Peace in Washington, D.C., where he established grant-making programs in Nigeria and Sudan. While in Washington, he also taught at the John Hopkins School for Advanced International Studies and at the Security Studies Program, Georgetown University. Before that, he was Leader of the Conflicts and Peace Enforcement Project at the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) in Sweden.

Dr. Seybolt has been invited to speak at prestigious institutions throughout the United States and abroad. He has published many book chapters and scholarly articles, and has authored the book Humanitarian Intervention: The Conditions For Success and Failure (2007), and co-edited the book Counting Civilian Casualties: An Introduction to Recording and Estimating Nonmilitary Deaths in Conflict (2013).

Marcos Tourinho

He is Lecturer and Research Fellow at the Center for International Relations of Fundação Getulio Vargas (São Paulo, Brazil). His research interests include international institutions, international law, and global justice; he is currently engaged in research projects investigating the evolution of norms about humanitarian intervention, among other topics. Professor Tourinho’s recent publications include the co-authored article “Regulating Intervention: Brazil and the Responsibility to Protect” in Conflict, Security & Development (2014), and the co-edited and co-authored book, Targeted Sanctions: The Impacts and Effectiveness of UN Action (Cambridge University Press, forthcoming 2015).

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