Today I watched the official commemoration of the Centennial of the Peace Palace, held in the presence of United Nations Secretary-General, Mr. Ban Ki-moon and HM King Willem-Alexander. I must admit that I was touched watching it, seeing the same place I left not long ago with great hopes and dreams for a bright future in international law, seeing Prof. Yves Daudet in the front row of the audience, seeing Mr. Steven van Hoogstrten sitting next to Mr. Ban Ki-Moon and HM King Willem-Alexander, hearing the same interpreters, hearing all the peace wishes in the ironic context of the events happening today. I was thinking of the time at the Academy, of the goals that I set while there, of the will to study that being in the Peace Palace grew in me, the friends I met there – especially of the Syrian ones and the time when I will return to the Peace Palace.

The event started by the speech of the Chairman of the Carnegie Foundation, Mr. Bernard Bot, who invited the audience to hope for world peace, to reflect upon how far we have reached in this purpose since 1913, how this goal of world peace came any closer and invited to ending violence by law, reminding of the belief of Andrew Carnegie, the sponsor of the Peace Palace, that if slavery can be abolished, so can war be abolished. Also, Mr. Bot presented the Peace Palace a the hopes of the world without violence, war, dictatorship, a place where the rights of minorities are observed. Also, he mentioned the Hague Academy as the place where the new generation learns international law.
The Mayor of the Hague, Mr. Jozias van Aarten, the same one who invites all the students of the Hague Academy of International Law to a reception in the Hague City Hall every year, started by saying the centenary calls for reflection, as the international situation is worrying, as the rule of law must be established, as we should be living in a world where “men, especially women” should decide their fate. Also, he mentioned the efforts of the Hague Institute for Global Justice in developing 6 principles for sustainable postwar peace, inspired from the situation in Afghanistan, Libya and Irak. Also, he described Andrew Carnegie as a man ahead his time, a man being at the same time idealist and realist, stating that “flowers come in stony places”.
The ceremony continued with a presentation of the history of the Peace Palace, a presentation I think I watched almost 10 times during my visit there. “The Peace Palace – […] and what a building it was, just as powerful and majestic as the idea of world peace”. The presentation mentioned the ironic situation that the WWI burst just a year later after the opening of the Peace Palace. What I think is more ironic is that, here we are, in the same place, 100 years later, celebrating the world peace, while in the very same day the clock ticks somewhere to start war.
Mr. Ban Ki-Moon talked of the Hague as of the legal capital of the world, the epicenter of international law and described the Peace Palace as an ideal going further than the Hague, an ideal more beautiful than the tapestries that decorate the surroundings of the Palace. Mr. Ki-Moon continued by saying that what we celebrate is the rule of law, a concept offering predictability, transparency, mutual obligations, court governance, the observance of the Millennium Development Goals, practices to fight corruption and practices which lead to the resolution of disputes. The “phenomenal collection of the Peace Palace Library” was mentioned and also the Academy.
The Secretary-General of the United Nations continued by saying that the most of all he thinks of Syria (me too!), reminding of the 100 000 casualties, the instability across the region, drawing attention to the “most serious moment” that we are facing when the spectrum of chemical warfare is raised, causing an “atrocious violation of international law”. He continued that now it is essential to establish the facts and ended by saying: “Give peace a chance. Give diplomacy a chance. Stop fighting and start talking”, emphasizing the importance of getting the parties to negotiate. Also, he underlined the political and moral role of the Security Council of the United Nations under the UN Charter, stating the Security Council must use its authority to create peace, as “people deserve solutions, not silence”.
Mr. Ki-Moon also talked about the wrongs that our world went through, from slavery to apartheid and stated our world should be a world of equality before the law. He argued that the Peace Palace should commit one to action, to due attitude to improve human condition, to draw the long term trajectory of humankind, to strive everyday, to walk together…
Next speech was held by the Prime-Minister of the Netherlands, Mr Mark Rutte, who talked about Hugo Grotius, the pioneer of the law of the sea and the law of the war and quoted from Grotius’s works in 1625: “When judicial settlement fails, war begins”, calling it prophetic. He also continued by stating that war is not a human state of mind and that the Peace Palace represents the birthplace and the engine room of world peace.
Hymn for peace followed by an youngster choir.
Finally, the first copy of the written history of the Peace Palace was offered to HM King Willem-Alexander by Mr. Bernard Bot. The latter reminded the audience that HM’s great-great-grandmother, Queen Wilhelmina, hosted the first Peace Conference in 1899, at the request of her cousin Tsar Nicholas II.

Imagine

This is the second day of the Academy. This morning I started by attending the Doctoral meeting. It is a great networking tool for the PhD students or for the attendees interested in writing such thesis. I fall under the second category.

The discussion meeting was moderated by someone at the Hague Conference on Private International Law, which will coordinate the 3 workshops, out of which the last one is held at the office of the Permanent Bureau of the Hague Conference on Private International Law.

Further, there was a presentation on the use of the Library.

I rushed through the rain to the Turkish Embassy where the Academy arranged a meeting. Besides my Turkish/Tatar background, I perform a study on Turkey regarding all it’s relations with Romania. I was amazed to find out that the Embassy in Netherlands is one of the biggest in Hague, that they have just celebrated with over 600 hundred events 400 of diplomatic relations between Turkey and Netherlands, that the President of Turkey visited the Netherlands and the Queen visited Turkey on the occasion, that I was talking right to the Chief of Protocol of the event, that Turkey opened over 30 embassies within the last two years, that the foreign policy is rather aggressive (it’s in the blood) etc.

I’m at the Peace Palace Library again in this section between the new and the old building, looking at the “so Hague” rain over the gorgeous gardens of the Peace Palace and the auditorium where the lectures are held. Behind me there are books, in front of me  there is green space, in the right side it’s tradition (the this year 100 years old Peace Palace) in my left it’s innovation (the ultra modern auditorium of the Academy).

I got through the security check, through the imposing gates of the Peace Palace and after the picture for the badges was taken everybody is mingling waiting for the opening speech of Mr. Yves Daudet, Emeritus Professor of Public International Law at University Paris I Sorbonne and also the Secretary General of the Academy.

The opening speech is given in French. Professor Daudet talked about various aspects of what he called “studious holiday”:

– the embryo of the Academy which was the Peace Conferences in Hague in 1899 and 1907, but also the ones in London, Paris and Hague in 1914,

– the decisive contribution of Tobias Asser, lawyer and Nobel Prize laureate for the activity at the Academy, who donated the necessary money to create the Academy,

– the biggest advantage of Hague as International Law center, the added value of the summer course, respectively the place where I am writing this post, the Peace Palace Library, the biggest International Law library in the world, to which the students have full access

– the Curatorium (not the aquarium, as he said) which is composed of highly regarded law professors and whose President is the Former Secretary General of the United Nations,

– the official languages of the Academy, French an English (all lectures and seminars have simultaneous translation)

– 40.000 participants from all over the world in 90 years of activity,

– night escapades are not the jurisdiction of the Academy,

– the Diploma and its exceptionally selective character,

– the 9 seminars,

– the visits to the embassies of the friendly countries who answered positively to the Academy’s initiative,

– the research networking for the doctoral thesis provided by the Academy,

– professors love contact with students, that’s their purpose,

– the incredible access to so many persons interested in the same field, for those who have an “utilitary vision of life”,

– the professors of the Academy from the United States, Greece, Russia, United Kingdom, France, Netherlands, Egypt, Luxembourg, Germany, Japan etc.

Further, someone from the AAA (Association of Attendees and Alumni of the Academy) presented the juridical, cultural, diplomatic visits and the leisure activities. These are diverse, from visits to Eurojust, the Organization for Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, the Special Court for Sierra Leone, Peace Palace tours, visits to the surroundings of Hague, such as Delft, Leiden, a cook out with traditional food and drinks from the countries of the participants, a beach party.

Today’s lectures:

Transnational Commercial Law and Conflict of Laws: Institutional Co-operation and Substantive Complementarity (Herbert KRONKE, Professor at Heidelberg University)

Conflict among Enforcement Regimes in International Economic Law (Hannah BUXBAUM, John E. Schiller Chair in Legal Ethics, Indiana University)

Efficiency in Private International Law (Toshiyuki KONO, Professor at Kyushu University)

The Legal Status of Public and Private Standards in International Economic Relations (Jan WOUTERS, Professor at the University of Leuven)

I am for the first time in Netherlands, I have arrived 24 hour ago and I have already walked for more than 10 hours and a few tens kilometers.

I didn’t get a map, I simply let myself led by the city, I found my way on the beautiful streets. Without a to do list, without deadline, without an umbrella.

Weather is great. I took off my shoes and I walked on the beach. I sat on the sand and ate mango, pineapple, cantaloupe and coconut. I took pictures of surfers and children playing on the beach.

I went past the law bookstore of Hague and wrote on my list Crawford’s Public International Law Principles.

There re bicycles everywhere. Small ones, little ones, 2 in 1, with a hank, with bags, with a basket, with a box, with a mustache. Neat and work out. Flower power or rock’n’roll. Animal print or carrying small animals and kids.

I am writing from Cocono, a beach side colorful terrace, from some tall beds with huge pillows where I’m laying and soaking up the sun, enjoying the Spanish music, the happiness of the people surrounding me, the perfectly blue sun, the memories I gathered so far, the rose wine.

There is one particular song playing right now. I think of all the things that I went through, of the thrilling evolution of the last years. Actually, the place is called Cocomo, but I liked the cocoon idea a lot more. e butterfly I am today, as I am this professional cocoon  and I shall become the rarest butterfly. I am here with a purpose, after all.

Tomorrow is the first day of the lectures. I went to the Peace Palace and I simply looked at it. I cannot see a greater honor than studying at such a high and internationally recognized level in this Mecca of International Law.

Where Dimitrie Alexandru Sturdza, the Prime Minister of Romania at the time set basis of The Hague Academy of Private International Law, attended within the last 80 years by the most important actors in International Law field. Where Demetru Negulescu was judge at the International Court of Justice for 23 years, an achievement unequaled ever since by a Romanian judge. Where Romania won the continental shelf in the Romania vs. Ukraine proceedings, according to the only unanimous decision ever rendered by the International Court of Justice. Where the lawyers, especially Bogdan Aurescu left a great impression – remark made by a International Law professor. Where I shall study for the next three week. (28.07.2013)

July 30th 2013, Amsterdam, Netherlands

Here I am on the plane taking me to “the seat of international law” via Schirpol Amsterdam.

I am reading International Law articles and planning the stay. There are strong turbulence so I continue reading. And also developing a new principle: When turbulence, continue reading International Law!

I have landed!

Here I am, one week before leaving to Hague for The Hague Academy of Private International Law, the most prestigious international law summer school, held in the Peace Palace which is the seat of the International Court of Justice.

I will post something everyday, about the lectures, the atmosphere, the people I will meet and of course of the leisure activities.

For now I refreshed my memory with the 4th year of Law school Private International Law courses and read all the materials the lecturers posted on the official website.

Also, the Academy arranged my stay at a wonderful lady originally from UK, but who has been an expat for all her life, where I shall share the room with Camille form Brazil, working for pwc.

Now luggage for one month! Hague, here I come!

13 Noiembrie 2016, Bucuresti, Romania

Excelența sa Matthijs van Bonzel, ambasador al Olandei în România este avocat și a făcut parte din grupul de lucru care a negociat Tratatul de la Maastricht.

Mi-a făcut plăcere să aud o voce străină, dar foarte avizată în același timp, vorbind despre reforma în justiție a României, despre cum România nu și-a făcut temele cu privire la implementarea noilor coduri, despre cum justiția ar trebui să fie independentă, nu încolțită de politic, despre lipsa reglementării care să ajute mediul de afaceri (mi-a plăcut exprimarea “the legislation, if any…, must encourage business”), despre ce domenii ar trebui exploatate și cum ar vedea folosirea calităților noaste ca popor în a ne mișca de la periferia Europei.

Am avut o lungă și agreabilă conversație cu Excelența Sa și am găsit un om încântat de organizațiile precum Rotary sau Lions care promovează într-ajutorarea, mai ales de business. De asemena, a fost foarte încântat de clubul Rotaract și de suflul nostru tânăr, dându-ne sfaturi despre cum noi ar trebui să înlăturăm pâcla de ignotanță ce a caracterizat mediul de afaceri multă vreme.

Am mai discutat despre tările sud americane dintre care a fost Ambasador în vreo cinci, despre perfecționismul japonez, unde de asemenea a fost ambasador, despre cum românii trebuie să se specializeze și să concureze cu cei mai buni din Europa, despre cum justiția nu ar trebui să se cramponeze la cearta pentru scaunul procurorului-general, despre proiecte educaționale comune olandezo-române, despre Erasmus, despre The Hague Academy of Private International Law, unde voi aplica săptămâna viitoare.