Class of 2023
Our 15th IFLOS Summer Academy
The fifteenth IFLOS Summer Academy was held at the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea from 30 July to 25 August 2023. As in the past, the event endorsed the overarching theme of “Promoting Ocean Governance and Peaceful Settlement of Disputes”.
The Foundation welcomed 38 participants from 28 different States from around the world. With a participant originating from one country that had not been represented at the Summer Academy before, our “Global Reach” grew to 134 nations with 525 Alumni on all continents. The Tribunal seconded six attendees within the framework of the Nippon Program, and the Foundation chose 32 participants in cooperation with the Tribunal. Once again, a record number of applications was achieved, with over 100 submissions. As in previous years, the Foundation noted a continued high level of academic qualifications and professional achievement among applicants.
The 2023 session was supported by the Edmund Siemers-Stiftung and the German Foreign Office (Auswärtiges Amt). Six individual scholarships were granted by the German Shipowners Association (VDR – Michael Behrendt Scholarship), the Hapag Lloyd AG, the Jens-Peter und Betsy Schlüter Stiftung für Schifffahrt und Umweltschutz and the Stiftung Maritime Forschung. In addition, the participation of 11 citizens of the South East Asia and South Pacific regions was made possible by scholarships provided by the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. The Nippon Foundation enabled six other participants to attend the course as a part of their Capacity-Building and Training Programme at the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea. In addition, grants and IFLOS reserves from previous years made it possible to award five other scholarships.
Like its predecessors, the 2023 Academy covered a variety of law of the sea, maritime law and related topics, dealing extensively with specific subjects of interest such as marine environmental protection as well as oil pollution and its consequences. Based on the experience from previous Summer Academies, the schedule maintained a specific thematic session on maritime delimitation, where the traditional practical workshop was combined with courses on legal and political solutions. A copy of the schedule is attached.
During the four weeks of the program, participants had the opportunity to meet an impressive faculty of over 20 renowned individual personalities willing to share their expertise and experiences on a pro bono basis. The Foundation is incredibly grateful for the invaluable contributions made by the members of the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea. With Vice-President Tomas Heidar, newly elected President of the Tribunal, Judges David J. Attard, Ida Caracciolo, Liesbeth Lijnzaad and Helmut Türk, as well as Registrar Ximena Hinrichs Oyarce and Marco Benetar, the Foundation was delighted to record a high number of ITLOS representatives again. Many members of former faculties, consisting of legal and economic experts, natural scientists and experienced practitioners in maritime affairs, were attracted to return to Hamburg and the Tribunal for our opening and closing ceremonies, and the Open Event.
As usual, the Foundation hosted an Open Event during the Summer Academy to invite our community and supporters to discuss one relevant subject on the law of the sea and maritime law. This session’s event focused on “Regional Approaches on the Law of the Sea”. The event took place at the main Courtroom of the Tribunal, which was recently renovated and inaugurated. We had three excellent speakers representing different regional perspectives on the Law of the Sea and maritime issues. The Foundation’s Deputy Chair, Professor Alexander Proelss, moderated the session.
At first, Dr. Paul Adalikwu, Secretary General of MOWCA (Maritime Organization of West and Central Africa), gave an insightful presentation on “Resolving Challenges in the Maritime Domain of West and Central Africa”. Secondly, Mr Sushil Goswami, IFLOS Alumni and Assistant Professor and Director of the School of Integrated Coastal and Maritime Security at Rashtriya Raksha University, India, discussed the “Indian Approach on protection of Marine Environment”. Finally, Dr Angel Horna, IFLOS Alumni and Peruvian Diplomat did a presentation on “Latin-American Approaches to the Law of the Sea”.
Following the system adopted in the previous edition, a mandatory exam seminar was held for the second time instead of the traditional moot court. During the exam seminar, participants had to demonstrate that they had gained distinct knowledge of the law of the sea and maritime law. It took place in small groups of 4 to 5 participants and consisted of Q & A rounds in the form of an “exam conversation”, i.e., questions were passed on from one candidate to another, candidates were able to add to or correct what had already been said, or to develop a topic further when called upon.
Each examination commission consisted of a chair (Judge Helmut Türk, Professor Nele Matz-Lück and Professor Alexander Proelss) and a further examiner (Robert Steenkamp, Tony Cabus and Moritz von Rochow), both of whom were entitled to ask questions. Each round of examinations lasted around 60 minutes. The candidates were assigned approximately the same amount of time to speak during the exam. The participants’ performance was not graded, and they were notified of passing the exam after their respective rounds. Individual feedback was also provided during the break and after all exams.
Nevertheless, this year’s edition successfully experimented with another exam method. In addition to the mandatory exam seminar, the participants could take an additional oral exam to pass with distinction. Therefore, 12 participants registered for this optional exam and prepared a 15-minute presentation on an assigned research question, randomly chosen between a series of topics studied during the Summer Academy lectures. The participants defended their arguments in a discussion with the examination board and received a final certificate with distinction. The presentation topics were mentioned in the certificates, following a grade awarded for the quality of the discussions.
Although the schedule was tight, some time was reserved for extra-curricular activities. Participants had the opportunity to do some sightseeing in Hamburg and its vicinity during a very informative bus tour and a boat tour through Hamburg’s port. The Foundation also organised a trip to the medieval city of Lübeck. The course programme was accompanied by social events such as a “Night Out Bavarian Style” and a visit to the International Maritime Museum.
At the end of the Summer Academy, the Senate of the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg held an impressive and well-attended reception in the Town Hall hosted by the Senator of Justice, Anna Gallina, during which the participants received their certificates. For the 15th consecutive year, IFLOS was honoured to be invited to Hamburg City Hall for the graduation ceremony and reception.
A Growing Network
Although the participants came from very diverse legal and cultural backgrounds, they quickly bonded, got along with each other very well and formed a very active and interested group. With their help, the Foundation will try to keep track of all of them to facilitate networking further and to add the 2023 participants to the Alumni circle founded by the class of 2007. The feedback given by the participants was, in every sense, overwhelmingly positive, especially concerning the consistency of the group, the quality of the lectures delivered and the organisation.
The Foundation would like to express sincere thanks to President Hoffmann, Registrar Hinrichs Oyarce, and all the staff members of the Tribunal who have supported the Foundation team so well before and during the course of the Summer Academy.