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April 08, 2021

Justice Breyer, former Canadian prime minister headline ABA international law conference

WASHINGTON, April 8, 2021 — U.S. Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer and former Canadian Prime Minister Kim Campbell top the list of well-known speakers and timely programs at next week’s 2021 Virtual Annual Meeting of the American Bar Association International Law Section.

2021 Virtual Annual Meeting
Sponsored by the ABA International Law Section

Wednesday-Friday, April 14-16


The three-day annual conference, “The Americas and Beyond: Navigating Legal Changes and Challenges,” focuses on several key topics, including trade, climate change and transactional law in the international arena.

Breyer, who joined the court in 1994 and at 82 is its oldest member, will speak from 12:45-1:15 p.m. ET on the conference’s opening day, April 14. He is a graduate of Stanford University, Oxford University and Harvard Law School, worked in the U.S. Department of Justice and later taught law for many years as a professor at Harvard Law School and at the Kennedy School of Government. Breyer will be presented the section’s World Order Under Law Award, given to individuals who have made a substantial contribution to and provided visionary leadership in pursuit of the ABA’s Goal IV, to “advance the rule of law in the world.”

Campbell, who was the 19th prime minister of Canada, has spent much of her life breaking barriers for women. She served at all three levels of government in Canada and after leaving politics, she served as the Canadian Consul General in Los Angeles. She then taught at the Harvard Kennedy School, after which she became an international leader of leaders with organizations such as the International Women’s Forum and the Club de Madrid. In 1993, she succeeded Brian Mulroney as prime minister near the end of his term, and her tenure lasted less than five months.

Two former top U.S. State Department lawyers will be showcased in the lunchtime program,
“Rebuilding America’s Leadership in Rule of Law at Home and Abroad: A Conversation with Former Legal Advisers.” John B. Bellinger III served in several government roles, including the Senate-confirmed legal adviser to the Department of State and senior associate counsel to the president and legal adviser to the National Security Council during the George W. Bush administration. He will be joined by Harold Koh, who served for nearly four years as the State Department’s legal adviser during part of the Barack Obama administration. The program takes place on Wednesday, April 14 from 11:45 a.m.-12:40 p.m. ET.

Other well-known speakers include:

  • Sandie Okoro, senior vice president and general counsel for the World Bank Group, and the World Bank’s vice president for compliance as well as chair of the World Bank Group Task Force on Racism. She delivers a keynote address on Wednesday from 10:05-10:35 a.m. ET.
  • Todd Owen, former executive assistant commissioner of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection. As the senior executive for the Office of Field Operations for nearly six years, he was responsible for all operations at the 328 U.S. ports of entry, as well as overseas operations in 32 countries. His keynote luncheon remarks, “Balancing Trade and Travel Facilitation with National Security Concerns,” will be Thursday, April 15 from 12:45-1:15 p.m. ET.

The entire program, including more than two dozen different panels, remarks and other events, can be found online. Media can register for the meeting by emailing Bill Choyke at [email protected].

The ABA is the largest voluntary association of lawyers in the world. As the national voice of the legal profession, the ABA works to improve the administration of justice, promotes programs that assist lawyers and judges in their work, accredits law schools, provides continuing legal education, and works to build public understanding around the world of the importance of the rule of law. View our privacy statement online. Follow the latest ABA news at and on Twitter @ABANews).