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Initiative on Global Law and Policy at UH Law Center to host international speaker series

Chelsea Klumpp

Feb. 8, 2021 - The Initiative on Global Law and Policy for the Americas, founded by University of Houston Law Center Professor Elizabeth Trujillo, will launch by hosting a webinar series in Spring 2021 in partnership with the University of Bologna Center for Latin American Studies.  The Latin America Interest Group from the American Society of International Law (ASIL-LAIG) will also co-sponsor the event.

The theme of the series is, "Constitutionalism, Trade, Social Justice, and Sustainability in the Americas: Lessons from the 2020 Global Pandemic." Over six webinar events, international experts in comparative constitutional law, human rights, sociology, international trade, international health law, and international law will discuss specific areas of society that have been particularly impacted by COVID-19, with an eye towards gathering lessons for developing improved legal frameworks that can better address the most pressing needs of our times.   Lessons for climate change, social justice, and international trade and other topics will be examined.

This series also marks the first for the newly-launched GLPA initiative, which provides a fresh approach to international law.  Though GLPA’s focus is the Americas, it is not exclusive to the region.

 “The intent of the GLPA initiative is to provide a platform in which to examine global issues in relation to the local,” Trujillo, the Mary Ann & Lawrence E. Faust Professor of Law, said. “This global pandemic has had long-term effects on so many aspects of our lives as well as on society and the law in every country of the world.  It has highlighted weaknesses in social and legal frameworks but also the incredible capacity of individuals to engage with their communities at home and abroad.  

“Curing the pandemic will ultimately require both global and local solutions.  We need legal frameworks that better capture this relationship if we have a chance at tackling difficult challenges like climate change, access to health capacity and technology, and other areas.”

Trujillo said working with the University of Bologna Center for Latin American Studies will provide an exciting opportunity to collaborate with an institution that has an extended history in interdisciplinary studies in law and the social sciences and specific expertise on Latin America. 

 “The COVID-19 Pandemic has proven how fragile our welfare systems are and how important it is to provide public and accessible health care,” said University of Bologna Associate Professor Sabrina Ragone. “Moreover, democracies all over the world have been under unprecedented stress and have tested their limits. Assessing these issues from a comparative perspective will help to understand which solutions have been successful and how to learn from one another.” 

The series will begin on Feb. 11 with a discussion titled, "The COVID-19 Pandemic and its Impact on Social Justice." The keynote speaker will be Alberto Abad Súarez Ávila of the National Autonomous University of Mexico. Anuscheh Farahat of the University of Erlangen–Nürnberg will serve as a discussant.  Ecuadorian attorney and ASIL-LAIG Co-Chair César Coronel Ortega, will moderate.

"The Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on International and Global Law" will be on Feb. 25 René Urueña, a professor at the University of The Andes in Bogotá, Colombia, will lead the discussion and Lorenzo Casini of the IMT School for Advanced Studies will provide additional insights.

The third event, "Lessons from COVID-19 for Sustainability: Health and Climate Change," will take place on March 11.  Speakers include Professor Daniel Farber of the University of California, Berkeley, School of Law as the keynote speaker and Pedro Villareal of the Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law.

The March 25 webinar will focus on international trade in the time of COVID-19.  Gabrielle Marceau of the University of Geneva and Senior Counsellor to the WTO will serve as speaker.  Trujillo will serve as a discussant, along with Boston College School of Law’s, Frank García, an expert in international trade justice, who will lead the discussion as moderator and discussant.

The fifth webinar, "COVID-19 and Latin America: The Impact on the Inter-American System of Human Rights," is scheduled for April 15.  Speakers include Pablo Saavedra of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights and Amaya Úbeda de Torres of the Council of Europe, along with Jorge Contesse from Rutgers University and Co-Chair to ASIL-LAIG, as moderator.

The final webinar on April 22th is entitled, "COVID-19 and Trends on Constitutionalism: A Comparative Approach." University of Chicago Law School Professor Tom Ginsburg will deliver the keynote presentation, with University of Bologna Professor Sabrina Ragone providing commentary, and Professor James Gathii from Loyola University Chicago School of Law, an expert in international trade and African constitutional law and human rights, will moderate.

Click here to learn more about the Initiative on Global Law and Policy for the Americas.

UHLC media contacts: Carrie Anna Criado, UH Law Center Assistant Dean of Communications and Marketing, 713-743-2184,; Elena Hawthorne, Assistant Director of Communications and Marketing, 713-743-1125,; and John Brannen, Media Relations Rep, 713-743-3055,

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