Extensive International Law Curriculum Expands with Courses in Indigenous Rights, UN Negotiations and Intl Law and War

Extensive International Law Curriculum Expands with Courses in Indigenous Rights, UN Negotiations and Intl Law and War

By Michelle Valencia

Extensive International Law Curriculum Expands with Courses in Indigenous Rights, UN Negotiations and Intl Law and War

By Michelle Valencia
Miami Law’s extensive catalog of 65+ courses in international, foreign, and comparative law helps prepare students for a global world.

Miami Law’s Global and International Law Program offers a vast array of courses for both the J.D. and LL.M. student. With over 65 courses in international law offered annually, several new courses were added this semester, including United Nations Negotiations, International Law and War, and Indigenous Women’s Rights.

United Nations Negotiations Course Has Hands-On Component

U.N. Negotiations, taught by Professor Jessica Owley, faculty director for the Environmental Law Program, delves into the issues of law and policy involved in the international regulation of climate change mitigation and adaptation. Students in the class will travel to Egypt for the annual climate change conference, COP27 in November, where they will see how an international treaty is negotiated. Students will submit policy briefs on the issues debated. 

“The 14 students in the class are learning firsthand about treaty-making and negotiation processes,” said Owley. “Students will meet with experts, policymakers, etc. They will write policy briefs about the various topics being debated and substantively learn about climate change law.” 

Indigenous Women’s Rights Course Connects with Scholars

The course on Indigenous Women’s Rights is taught by Tamar Ezer, acting director of the Human Rights Clinic and faculty director of the Human Rights Program, and R. Denisse Cordova Montes, acting associate director of the clinic. The course is rooted in human rights law and critically examines existing international and regional human rights protections, identifying gaps and opportunities for expansion.

“We are excited to teach this course, which builds on our advocacy with the Human Rights Clinic and explores an evolving area of international human rights law, including concepts such as collective rights and the Rights of Nature,” said Ezer.

As part of the course, Indigenous advocates and scholars' materials will complement international and regional human rights documents, such as the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and the American Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. 

“The course also presents the opportunity to connect with Indigenous scholars around the world as well as the broader community of Native American and Global Indigenous scholars across UM, and to highlight critical issues faced by Indigenous communities,” said Cordova Montes.

International Law & War Course Covers all Facets

The International Law & War class, taught by Senior Lecturer Ileana Porras, explores the role of law in war in the context of globalization. Topics include the concept of lawfare, the use of economic sanctions, asymmetric conflicts, belligerent occupation, responsibility to protect (humanitarian intervention), and the role of international law and institutions in the post-conflict. 

“The idea for this course was born in the spring of 2022 as the Russian invasion of Ukraine was unfolding,” said Porras. “I was teaching the introductory 3-credit International Law course.  When the topic of the war and its legal implications kept coming up, it became clear that students would welcome an advanced international law course about war. That was what prompted me to design this new course on International Law and War.”

According to Porras, most law courses that focus on war address only one of the three dimensions of the international law of war: (1) The rules governing the use of force in international law; (2) those regulating the conduct of hostilities, also known as international humanitarian law; or (3) the law relevant to the post-conflict. 

“My approach is to introduce students to all three dimensions in a single course in order to explore the many ways in which modern law and modern war intersect,” she said.

Other new international courses this semester include Globalization & Arbitration, taught by Jonathan Hamilton, distinguished faculty chair of the International Arbitration Institute, and International Business and National Security Law, led by Professor Kathleen Claussen. In spring 2022 new courses in international law included The Cloud is Beneath the Sea: Submarine Cables and International Law, International Anti-Money Laundering: Law, Polity and Compliance, Roman Law: Jurists, Corporations, and Empire from Antiquity to Today, International Anti-Money Laundering: Law, Polity and Compliance, and Law and Society, with a focus on Latin America, taught by Professor Pablo Rueda Saiz.

 Read more about studying International Law at Miami Law