Featured Faculty: Mary Ellen O’Connell

Author: Susan Good

VP of American Society of International Law

Mary Ellen Oconnell

On March 25, Mary Ellen O’Connell will begin a two-year term as Vice President of the American Society of International Law (ASIL). The ASIL’s mission “is to foster the study of international law and to promote the establishment and maintenance of international relations on the basis of law and justice.” It is the leading organization of its kind in the world.

Founded in 1906 by United States Secretary of State Elihu Root, the Society was chartered by Congress in 1950. It is grown today to an organization of 4000 members from nearly 100 nations, including scholars, lawyers, judges, government officials, non-governmental organization members, students, and others interested in international law. The Society is a non-profit, non-partisan, educational membership organization. The ASIL is a constituent member of the American Council of Learned Societies. It is headquartered in Washington, D.C. For more about the Society go to www.asil.org.

O’Connell is an expert on international law. Her areas of specialization are international law on the use of force, international dispute resolution, and international legal theory. She chairs the International Law Association’s Committee on the Use of Force. She is the author, most recently, of a fully revised and updated edition of a leading casebook on international law, The International Legal System, Cases and Materials (with R.F. Scott and N. Roht-Arriaza, Foundation Press 6th ed. 2010). In the last two years, she has also published International Law and the Use of Force, Cases and Materials (Foundation 2d ed. 2009), and The Power and Purpose of International Law (Oxford 2008), in addition to eight other books and more than 70 articles.

O’Connell was a Marshall Scholar and holds degrees from Northwestern, the London School of Economics, Cambridge, and Columbia. She practiced international law with the Washington, D.C. law firm of Covington & Burling. At Notre Dame she holds the Robert and Marion Short Chair in Law and is Research Professor of International Dispute Resolution at the Kroc Institute for Peace Studies. She teaches a number of courses in the international law area including international law, international law and the use of force, international art law, international dispute resolution, and international environmental law, as well as the law of contracts.

In addition to the ASIL, she is a member of the International Law Association, the Germany Society of International Law, and the International Institute for Humanitarian Law.

Professor O’Connell says on becoming a Vice President of ASIL, “This is indeed an honor for me and for Notre Dame. I look forward to helping lead the Society in these challenging times as it continues to promote peace, human rights, an end to poverty, protection of the environment, and the rule of law in the world. Its efforts have never been more needed.”

For more on Professor O’Connell, visit her faculty profile web page.

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