My Distinguished Friends and Colleagues,
I would like to first of all take this opportunity to express my sincere appreciation to your trust and confidence in electing me as the new President of the Asian Society of International Law. Additionally, my special thanks extends to the Executive Council Members who kindly agree to serve as Vice-Presidents – Professor Dr. Mary GEORGE, Professor AGO Shin-Ichi, Professor Borhan Uddin KHAN, and Professor Jayavadh BUNNAG – as well as Treasurers – Senior Partner KUNIYA Shiro and Professor R. K. P. SHANKARDASS, and Secretary-General – Professor Simon CHESTERMAN. It is truly a real privilege and pleasure to be able to work with many great minds of international lawyers from our region. I would like to also thank my immediate predecessor Professor V. S. MANI, Professor R. K. P. SHANKARDASS, and their teams for the success of the Fourth Biennial Conference in New Delhi.
Launched in 2007, the Asian Society of International Law (AsianSIL) was a product following years of planning and preparations with an ultimate goal to promote international law in Asia. From then, the AsianSIL has progressed a long way to become Asia’s leading international law society, with great assistance from the Secretariat team based at the National University of Singapore. Many AsianSIL activities, including the flagship Biennial Conferences, have attracted and been involved by a number of scholars and practitioners, both seniors and new entrants. In the past, there have been active participations by a number of prominent figures including Judges of the International Court of Justice and International Criminal Court, Members of the International Law Commission, Senior Partners from law firms, and Members from our sister international and national Societies.
The AsianSIL strives to achieve and maintain our commitment to the promotion of international law in Asia. Our objectives clearly reflect this commitment:
- To serve as a center of activities among international lawyers in Asia for study and research in the discipline of international law;
- To foster and promote Asian perspectives of international law in research and education;
- To provide a forum, especially for younger international lawyers in Asia, for intellectual interaction in the field of research and practice in international law;
- To increase public awareness of the importance of international law in Asia; and
- To cooperate with other sister institutions in other parts of the world – international, regional, and national societies working in the field of international law.
A number of activities have been carried out to fulfill these objectives. Our flagship activities – the Biennial Conferences under the guidance of the Research and Planning Committee (RPC) – have been successfully hosted in Singapore, Tokyo, Beijing, and New Delhi respectively. Our Fifth Biennial Conference will be in Bangkok in 2015. In addition, the AsianSIL also organizes regional seminars, sub-regional workshops and meetings, as well as serving as a center to collect databases and to disseminate information relating to research, academic activities, and state practice in the field of international law in Asia.
The Asian Journal of International Law (AsianJIL) is also our prime focus. Similar to many well-established international law journals, the AsianJIL regularly publishes peer-reviewed scholarly articles and book reviews on various topics of international law, many of which offer Asian perspectives on various issues. With cooperation from the Cambridge University Press (CUP), we take pride to ensure that the AsianSIL is a universally recognized international law journal of great quality.
The success of the AsianSIL does not solely come from the Executive Members, but rather largely from all our Members. The AsianSIL has been fortunate to receive a high degree of interests and memberships from many individuals, national groups, and institutions. However, the expansion of the AsianSIL is fundamentally important in order for the AsianSIL activities to reach a wider range of audiences and further cement our commitment to promote international law in Asia in the best that we can. To do this, I would like to encourage all of us to reach out to our contacts, advertise the work of the AsianSIL, and encourage them to join our Society. It is through this expansion that we can ensure our goal is even further achieved in a new height.
I would like to finally thank our former Presidents and Executive Council Members of the AsianSIL for their effortless contributions to our Society. I will continue to seek your wise counsel on ways and means to move AsianSIL forward based on your insightful experience. I am confident that the new team will also strive to ensure that our Society will together progress to achieve our common future goals.
On behalf of the AsianSIL, I look forward to welcoming you to join our activities, including our flagship Biennial Conference in Bangkok in 2015.
Professor Dr. Surakiart Sathirathai
President of Asian Society of International Law
Chairman of Asian Peace and Reconciliation Council (APRC)