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Institutes & Centers > The Institute for International and Immigration Law > Conferences and Lectures

Conferences and Lectures

The Institute is committed to bringing recognized scholars and practioners to the Law School to discuss policy and legal issues of importance in the international and immigration areas. Each year the Institute sponsors conferences in one of the Institute’s two areas. The initial conference was held in February of 2003, and focused on developments on the continent of Africa and the creation of the African Union, a continental governance structure that will bring, it is hoped, more political and economic stability to Africa. It was the first such conference in North America, and it was among the first conferences on the African Union anywhere in the world. Major scholars in African legal issues and international law gave papers, which are now available as a symposium in volume 13 of Transnational Law and Contemporary Problems of University of Iowa Law School. The speaker at the conference was the Honorable Thandabantu Nhlapo, the Deputy Chief of Mission of the Embassy to the United States of the Republic of South Africa.

Recent lectures and conferences sponsored by the Institute include:

  • An Evening with Rice University President, David Leebron. President Leebron is the former dean of the Columbia University School of Law and the first lawyer to hold the post of President in Rice’s history. He is also a recognized scholar in various subjects in international law. President Leebron spoke on the appropriateness of using international and foreign law sources in U.S. litigation, particularly at the Supreme Court level. In response to criticisms of the use of such sources, including those of Associate Justice Antonin Scalia, President Leebron expressed a position similar to that of Associate Justice Stephen Breyer, that international and foreign law sources can serve as a valuable resource in judicial decision-making.
  • The Human Aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. The law school, along with the Earl Carl Institute, and IIIL sponsored the first major conference on the issues flowing from the devastation wrought by Hurricane Katrina. Issues ranging from the response, Houston’s preparation for the evacuees arriving shortly after the flooding, media coverage, international legal obligations to internally displaced persons, the effects on education, and the New Orleans poverty that was made painfully apparent by the disaster were all part of a day of legal and policy discussion and debate. Scholars from across the country presented papers which were published in the Thurgood Marshall Law Review. Special assistance was provided by the Brookings Institute in Washington D.C.
  • Career Preparation for Students interested in International and Immigration law. This year’s conference was sponsored and produced by the International and Immigration Law Society, the Institute’s student organization. Former faculty member and former president of the International Criminal Tribunal Judge Gabrielle McDonald was the guest speaker. Judge McDonald is also a member of the Institute’s Board of Advisors.
  • Lecture by Hua Jinzou, Consul General for the Peoples Republic of China in Houston. Consul General Hua spoke on a variety of subjects regarding U.S. and Chinese relations, including the status of Taiwan as part of China, North Korea, and international trade between the United States and China, among others. March 2006. Part of the Institute’s Consulate Outreach program.
  • Immigration Law for Non-Immigration Practitioners The idea behind this annual conference is that more and more practitioners are encountering immigration questions and problems in fields as wide ranging as corporate practice to family law. The conference was designed to provide those practitioners with a practical legal understanding of the law in the various issues and the tools to effectively represent their clients.
  • Biotechnology & the Law Conference.  The Institute this conference which included  discussions on intellectual property issues that affect biotechnology, compulsory licensing and access to pharmaceuticals worldwide.  Participants included Charles Smith, Professor of Law, North Carolina Central University School of Law and Kimberly Cogdell, Visiting Assistant Professor, North Carolina Central University School of Law.  Presented in association with the Biotechnology and Pharmaceutical Law Institute (BPLI) of the North Carolina Central University School of Law.
  • A talk by The Honorable Kenneth Liao Director General Taipei Economic and Cultural Office-Houston.  Director General Liao, who represents the interests of Taiwan in Houston, spoke to the Thurgood Marshall community on the subjects of trade, U.S. Taiwan relations, and Taiwan and Peoples Republic of China relations.
  • Caribbean Roundtable Discussion.  The Institute was please to host the visits of several members of the Houston area’s Caribbean honorary consulate community.  In attendance were Hon. M. Beverly Ford-(outgoing honorary consul representing Jamaica), Hon. Louis Browne (Barbados), Hon. Andrew Adams-Jamaica Foundation of Houston, Hon. Terry Reis (Guyana), Hon. Hugh D. McCain (Belize), and Hon. Omari Fullerton (incoming consul representing Jamaica).  Part of the Institute’s Consulate Outreach program.
  • A Lecture Riang Yer Zuor.  Mr. Zuor, a 2007 graduate of the law school was a prolific writer on the conflict in his native southern Sudan during his time at Thurgood Marshall.  He spoke on his books and on the future of The Sudan in light of the crises in Darfur and Southern Sudan before going to the Sudan to deliver needed supplies Mr. Zuor’s organization collected in the United States and Canada.
  • A Conversation with His Excellency Carlos Magallon-Gonzalez Consul General to Houston, for the United Mexican States.  At a time of tension over immigration and trade between the United States, Consul General Magallon spoke on U.S.-Mexico relations, trade, immigration and foreign policy.  Part of the Institute’s Consulate Outreach program.

  • Immigration Reform: Debunking the Myths
    Immigration Symposium conducted in collaboration with the Earl Carl Institute for Legal and social Policy. Some of the topics addressed included: Legal and Ethical Considerations of Immigration fact or myth, African American and Hispanic Relations fact or myth, and Immigration and Labor fact or myth.


























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