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University of Virginia’s Center for Oceans Law and Policy Co-Sponsors Rhodes Academy in Greece and 30th Annual International Maritime Conference in Ireland

August 9, 2006 — The University of Virginia’s Center for Oceans Law and Policy co-sponsored two major international programs during July. Held respectively in Greece and Ireland, the programs addressed a broad sweep of key issues in maritime law, marine sciences, ocean policy and emerging technologies.

Both the Rhodes Academy and the 30th Annual Virginia Law of the Sea Conference featured distinguished speakers and lecturers and provided educational forums for participants to explore a range of contemporary issues in marine scientific research, new technology and oceans law.

“We are pleased that the Rhodes Academy, which has now trained more than 380 oceans law experts from literally every continent, has become the preeminent international training center in the world in oceans law," said John Norton Moore, director of the Oceans Law and Policy Center. "At the same time, we are also pleased that the Annual Oceans Law Conference of the Center has become the top international conference on oceans law matters, with participation by the world’s leading oceans law experts.”

For the Rhodes Academy in Rhodes, Greece, U.Va.'s Center was joined by four international agencies — the Aegean Institute of the Law of the Sea and Maritime Law (Rhodes, Greece), the Law of the Sea Institute of Iceland (Reykjavik, Iceland), the Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law (Heidelberg, Germany) and the Netherlands Institute for the Law of the Sea (Utrecht, The Netherlands).

The three-week program is designed to foster a better understanding of the modern law of the sea. Through education on the principles of contemporary oceans law and policy, the program seeks to promote adherence to the rule of law in the world's oceans. Founded in 1995, the academy held its inaugural session in the summer of 1996 and operates on an annual basis.

This year, for the first time, the academy awarded an Onassis Distinguished Scholar Award to global leaders who have contributed to the rule of law in the world’s oceans. Funding for the awards was provided by the Alexander S. Onassis Public Benefit Foundation.

Ambassador Andreas Jacovides and Professor Emmanuel Roucounas, scholars well known for their contributions to the development and teaching of oceans law, were joint recipients of one of the awards. Ambassador Jocovides received his award from Yannis G. Valinakis, Greece’s deputy foreign minister. Roucounas received his award from Aristotelis Pavlidis, Greece’s minister of the Aegean.

U.Va. President John T. Casteen III participated in the Onassis Distinguished Scholar Award ceremony, which was particularly fitting given Casteen's scholarly work in the historical cultural exchange between the United States and Greece.

The Academy provided an intensive, three-week course of study, with lectures by leading jurists, practitioners and law faculty from around the world. The lecturers were drawn from an international cross-section of world-renowned scholars and judges in the field of ocean law and policy. “The enthusiasm of the students at Rhodes, the diversity of their backgrounds as oceans law experts and the hospitality of our Greek hosts made teaching at Rhodes a sheer pleasure," said Moore, who is a former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Law of the Sea negotiations.

Also serving as a lecturer was Myron H. Nordquist, associate director of the Oceans Law and Policy Center and editor-in-chief of the U.Va. School of Law’s “Commentary on the 1982 Law of the Sea Convention.”

Other distinguished lecturers were Jean-Pierre Cot, judge for the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea; Barbara Moore, director of the National Undersea Research Program in the U.S. Department of Commerce; and J. Ashley Roach, legal advisor for the U.S. Department of State.

Meantime, the Annual Virginia Conference, held July 12-14, is the leading international conference on the law of the sea and ocean policy. Each conference builds international understanding on the role of law in ocean governance. This year’s conference marked the 10th anniversary of Ireland’s ratification of the Law of the Sea Convention.

The three host institutes – U.Va.’s Center for Oceans and Policy, the Marine Institute in Ireland and the Law of the Sea Institute of Iceland – designed a program that concerns a range of globally relevant issues, including the ecosystem approach in fisheries management, ocean exploration, the role of science in international decision-making and ocean policy, international transfer of marine technology, European maritime policy, marine biological diversity and genetic resources and strategic developments in the Law of the Sea.

The conference featured speakers and moderator leaders from the scientific and legal fields, including participants from the International Tribunal on the Law of the Sea, United Nations, World Bank, U.S. Department of State, European Commission, International Seabed Authority, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission.

Founded in 1976 at U.Va.’s School of Law, the Center for Oceans Law and Policy is a nonprofit institution supported by a permanent endowment from the Henry L. and Grace Doherty Charitable Foundation, Inc. The center supports research, education and discussion on legal and public policy issues relating to the oceans. It promotes interdisciplinary interaction at all levels – international, national, regional and state – through a regular program of conferences, publications and lectures. The center is the only branch of U.Va. to be certified as a United Nations NGO.

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For more information about U.Va.’s Center for Oceans Law and Policy, the Annual Conference or the Rhodes Academy, please contact Donna Ganoe, executive administrator for the Center, at (434) 924-7441 or ddg@virginia.edu.

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