Dear ESIL members,

The next big event in the ESIL calendar is the 2018 European Society of International Law Conference on ‘International Law and Universality’ (13-15 September) in Manchester. You can already consult the excellent cast of speakers in the programme. It is relevant that this debate takes place in Manchester, one of the main starting points of the industrial revolution that generated the take-off of Western economic development and European world leadership, which had as one of its alleged corollaries the western origin of current international law. While the universal scope of international law is usually questioned outside Western countries because of this original sin, the challenge to universality in Europe mainly comes from those who criticize the harmful effects of globalization and the democratic deficit in the creation of international norms. The organizers have taken care to make sure that these different perspectives are present in the Manchester ESIL conference that also includes representatives from a constitutional/ cosmopolitan view of the international legal order conceived as an instrument of democratization, peace-making and defence of human rights.

May I remind you that 2018 is an election year for the ESIL Board. The 2018 General Assembly of the Society will elect seven Board members. The election will be held on Friday 14 September 2018 during the ESIL Annual Conference in Manchester. Eligible candidates should be willing to vigorously contribute to the Society and have an active knowledge of one of the official languages of the Society and at least a passive knowledge of the other. Being a Board member involves a considerable and generous amount of work but enables you to make a relevant contribution to exchanges of ideas on matters of common interest to international lawyers all throughout Europe and elsewhere. The ESIL Board wishes to send a message to our membership encouraging gender balance and geographical diversity when voting in this election.

I would like to thank all the ESIL Board members for their hard work much of which goes unseen. The Society in indebted to André Nollkamper, Marko Milanovic, Mary Footer, Mario Prost, Jean d’Aspremont and Nehal Buta for their years of dedicated service. It has been such a pleasure and an honour working with them!

The vigour of the 15 Interest Groups is one of ESIL’s main contributions to the scientific debate and the groups provide a forum for networking and for the exchange of ideas with colleagues working in the same field of international law. Many members are involved in the activities of these groups, which are a constant source of innovation and stimulation for the Society.

Besides the Annual Conference (the next after Manchester to be held in Athens on 12-14 September 2019) and the yearly Research Forum (next in Göttingen on 4-5 April 2019), ESIL organizes and sponsors numerous events throughout Europe and beyond. You can find information about all the events on this website together with information about all the other ESIL activities (publications, ESIL Lectures, prizes, grants, and so on).

Previous Presidents and previous Board members have built a complex and well-functioning machine and we benefit from the work that has already been done. To keep things going is a great challenge and an exciting task, but it is also this Board’s aim to develop new initiatives. We aim to reinforce our relationship with other international law societies and to find ways to expand membership, particularly in countries in the periphery of Europe. The Society should look for means to promote core European values (democracy, rule of law, human rights) without getting involved in politics and we should continue to open up our Society to the new generation of researchers and to practitioners.

Many other ideas for the further development of the Society will come from our members. You are always welcome to make suggestions to the Board: all the members of the Board are open to new ideas that can benefit ESIL and its members. Please contact us at any time.

I am looking forward to meeting you  at a future ESIL event,


Luis M. Hinojosa-Martínez

Président, Société Européenne de Droit International (SEDI)


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