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April 19, 2022

ABA International Law Section returns to in-person meeting with Ukraine as one of many focuses

WASHINGTON, April 19, 2022 — The American Bar Association International Law Section will host its Annual Conference here from April 26-29, with a broad range of programs, including a conversation with retired diplomat William Taylor, who served as U.S. ambassador to Ukraine from 2006-2009.

2022 ILS Annual Conference

Sponsored by the ABA International Law Section (ILS)

Tuesday-Friday, April 26-29

Capital Hilton
1001 16th St. NW
Washington, DC 20036

Taylor, now vice president, Russia and Europe for the U.S. Institute of Peace and former chargé d’affaires at the U.S. embassy in Kyiv, Ukraine, will appear with Vladyslav Rashkovan, a member of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) executive board and an alternate executive director who represents 16 European countries, including Ukraine. They will discuss current events in Ukraine, their impressions of the war and the impact of Russian sanctions at 11 a.m. on Thursday.

The meeting marks the first in-person ILS Annual Conference since 2019. With the nation entering a post-COVID-19 period and the U.S. returning as a more visible member of the international legal community, the Annual Conference has a theme of “re-emergence.” Panels will address cutting-edge issues and emerging conditions globally affecting cross-border work, and deals and risks presented in the current environment, litigation, technology, trade, national security and other areas.

On Wednesday, the Rev. Robin Griffith-Jones, the Reverend and Valiant Master of the Temple at the Temple Church in England, will discuss civility in an era marked by disrespectful rhetoric in politics and business. Griffith-Jones, whose church is considered “the mother-church of the Common Law,” will engage with ABA President-elect Deborah Enix-Ross, at a lunch program from 12:45 to 2:15 p.m. EDT. Enix-Ross, a senior adviser to Debevoise & Plimpton’s International Disputes Resolution Group, is in line to become ABA president in August.

Other highlights include (all times are EDT):

  • “No Room at the Inn: Revisiting Refugee Rights v. National Responsibilities” — With people leaving their homes because of violence, persecution or disaster, host nations are grappling with an unprecedented global refugee crisis which was aggravated by COVID-19. This program will address the most pressing challenges that clog the ability of persons on the move to seek asylum, including a perceived tendency for world leaders to enact domestic laws and implement policies to deter individuals from lawfully seeking asylum.
    Wednesday, 2:30–4 p.m.
  • “Game Change: The Regulation of Social Media” —  The growth of social media has been rapid. In the past 10 years, for instance, active Facebook users have grown from 372 million to 2 billion, and active WhatsApp users have grown from 10 million to more than 2 billion. This expansion has spawned new and controversial issues surrounding intermediary liability, free speech, privacy and data protection, surveillance, and societal and political disturbances. Laws are trailing change, including barriers posed by Section 230 of the Communications Act of 1934.
    Wednesday, 2:30-4 p.m.
  • “Targeting the Oligarchs: New Tax Transparency Initiatives, Sanctions, Seizures and Freezes” — Today, there is automatic exchange of information, including financial, transactional and ultimate beneficial ownership reporting. These initiatives have resulted primarily because of governmental needs for revenue and the recognition that information can curb international tax evasion scandals. Now, with the horrific events in Ukraine, governments are taking an even more proactive approach, not only seeking to sanction bad actors, but also seeking to freeze and seize assets, particularly in traditional western seats of power.
    Thursday, 9-10:30 a.m.
  • “You Are Not Coming to the Office: Vaccination Mandates, Testing, Masking Requirements, Travel Restrictions and Their Impact on the Labor Force” —  As the world adapts to the consequences of COVID-19, governments and the private sector are seeking a delicate balance between health and safety measures and individual rights, with a varying degree of severity and success. Some governments have imposed vaccine mandates and required passports for most public activities, while others have adopted a laissez-faire attitude. This program explores these issues with experts in employment, immigration and litigation.
    Friday, 9-10:30 a.m.
  • “Saving Our Democracy for America and the World” —  Many believe former President Donald Trump instituted a deliberate campaign to undermine confidence in the legitimacy of the 2020 presidential election, in essence an attempt to undermine U.S. democracy. Speakers include Mark Aronchik, who was successful as lead counsel in litigation meeting challenges brought by Rudy Giuliani; U.S. Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md., a House impeachment manager of the former president; Suzanne Spaulding, a former top official at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security; and Kim Campbell, former prime minister of Canada.
    Friday, 2:30-4 p.m.

Also, James R. Silkenat and Homer Moyer, both major contributors to the ABA Publishing book, “Building the Rule of Law: Firsthand Accounts from a Thirty-Year Global Campaign,” will participate in a book signing on Wednesday during networking breaks at 10:30 a.m. and 4 p.m

The entire program, including more than four dozen programs and other events, can be found online here. All sessions are open to the media, but reporters are required to register in advance by 5 p.m. EDT, Friday, April 22, by contacting Bill Choyke at [email protected]. All attendees must provide proof of vaccination or proof of a negative COVID test within 72 hours of the start of the meeting. Once you have requested registration, confirmation and further COVID-related instructions will be sent to you by email.

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