Institute History

The Institute for Law, Science and Global Security was established to promote teaching and research in the areas of international law and international relations.  Developments in international affairs, such as the American refusal to ratify the Statue of the International Criminal Court, the rejection of the Kyoto Agreement, or  efforts to gain particular language in a Security Council resolution on Iraq are difficult to assess in the absence of an understanding of legal rules and an appreciation of the ways in which these rules may affect behavior.

Founding of the Institute

In 2003, the Department of Government at Georgetown University created the Institute for International Law and Politics through the leadership of its co-founders, Professors Anthony C. Arend and Christopher C. Joyner.  Together, they have administered and directed the Institute, its related events and research projects, and the Government M.A. program in International Law and Global Security, housed within the Government Department.  Their vision of creating an academic institution that promotes research and scholarship at the intersection of international law and politics has proved timely in a period of world politics where an increased understanding of these topics aides scholars and policy-makers alike.  The Institute changed its name in October 2009 to Institute for Law, Science and Global Security to better reflect its interdisciplinary focus.

Institute Mission and Goals

The Institute for Law, Science and Global Security undertakes its educational mission by offering a number of courses at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. The Institute also promotes research in a variety of areas of international law and politics, including the use of military force, the environment, human rights, international trade and commerce, and the relationship between international law and domestic law.

The Institute has three primary goals. First, it supports and enhances teaching and research at Georgetown in the area of international law. Second, it seeks to inform the public policy debate about the nature, role and importance of international law in foreign and domestic politics. Third, it aims to promote a better understanding of international law within the disciplines of political science and international relations.

1. Enhancing Teaching and Research in International Law

  • To offer specialized courses in international law for both undergraduate and graduate students
  • To administer the Government M.A. Program in International Law and Global Security
  • To provide research support for faculty and graduate students
  • To support book-length projects on selected international legal issues

2. Informing the Public Policy Debate about the Nature, Role, and Importance of International Law

  • To sponsor panel discussions and conferences on important international legal issues
  • To draft periodic memorandum analyzing current policy issues from the perspective of international law
  • To conduct a Summer Institute on International Law for judges, government officials, and individuals from the private sector

3. Promoting an Understanding of International Law within Political Science and Related Disciplines

  • To educate political scientists and other social scientists about the study, function, and role of international law by bringing them to the Institute for research fellowships
  • To conduct a Summer Institute on International Law for political scientists and international relations scholars

Following the creation of the Institute, Georgetown University established a new Government M.A. Program in International Law and Global Security. The purpose of this degree is to give students the opportunity to explore international law from both a legal and political perspective. Courses will familiarize the students with the fundamentals of international law and the foreign policy process in which international law is created and applied. Students will also be exposed to international relations theory and its applicability to international law.