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jessop, ILSA, conferences, oh my


(devant le Louvre: Paris, France)


As president of the WVU chapter of the International Law Students Association, I really got to know Mina during an international law conference in New York City in October. The conference was the 90th Annual Meeting of the ABILA (American Branch of the International Law Association- quite the mouthful!) and was hosted by Fordham University. Mina and I were the West Virginia University representatives, and I cannot stress what a fabulous experience it was. Initially, I was hesitant about making the drive up north, with midterms were just around the corner- but the students we met, the speakers we heard, and the connections we built made it all worthwhile.

For me, the highlight was definitely hearing Harold Koh (Legal Advisor to the Department of State) speak- we spent a good bit of time covering his involvement with the Haitian refugee crisis in our fall civil procedure class.

International Law Weekend at Fordham University

(Above: International Law Weekend at Fordham University)

To give you an idea of what the schedule looked like:


Needless to say, it was a busy weekend.

I thought it would be beneficial to let the president herself tell you a little about the organization….......

1. How did you become involved in the WVU ILSA Chapter?

I became involved in the WVU ILSA Chapter after being on the Jessup International Law Moot Court Team last year. I had such an incredible time during the competition and was already deeply interested in international law. I knew I wanted to be even more involved in it my final year at WVU, and Emily Moy and I learned that ILSA actually existed previously at WVU. We decided to revive it, and when we saw the incredible interest displayed by the 1Ls, we felt virtually compelled to re-energize it. I tried to think of ways to make group activities as fun and appealing as possible, while also fostering awareness of international law issues at WVU and catering to the expressed student interest in it.

2. Tell us a little about your own interest, and personal connection, with international law.

My own personal interest in international law stems from two primary places, the first being my heritage and the second being my belief in its potential for good. Being of Lebanese descent and having traveled extensively, I have significant experience interacting with people of different cultures, religions, and ethnicities. I have also seen first hand the prolific damage that can result from failing to properly understand these differences and work with, as opposed to against, them. It is within this context that I fully believe international law can be a catalyst for ensuring global awareness and cooperation, while also contributing to the international stage those institutions and ideas that have proven successful in addressing issues faced by the world community.

Mina in Baalbek, Lebanon

(Mina in Baalbek, Lebanon)

3. What kind of activities/events does ILSA sponsor?

ILSA sponsors and co-sponsors speakers who discuss international law issues withWVU Law students. At first, we didn’t realize how successful we’d be at doing this, and once we brought in our third speaker of the fall semester, we decided to dub the events the “ILSA International Law Lecture Series.” We also have potlucks dinners, at which our various members bring a unique, international dish that they prepare. ILSA also disseminates information about study abroad programs and international law opportunities and events to its members, and last semester, we attended an international law conference in New York. We have also identified several charities for whom we would like to fund-raise, and I am hoping to plan a group trip somewhere fun this spring!

ILSA members gathered for a potluck dinner at Professor Bowman’s house!

(Above: ILSA members gathered for a potluck dinner at Professor Bowman’s house!)

4. Besides joining ILSA (obviously!), what would you recommend to a law student interested in a career in international law?

Besides a shameless plug for joining ILSA, I would recommend that students discuss their interest with our fantastic professors here who have international law experience as they can have great suggestions for career paths and experiences to share. I would also recommend taking the course in international law when it is offered here to understand it doctrinally, and joining the ABA Section of International Law is a good way to keep you apprised of developments and issues. Trying out for the Jessup team (yet another shameless plug) is honestly a fantastic way for students to get hands on experience applying international law.

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