Conference marking 70 years of Institute activity - report

The Hellenic Institute of International and Foreign Law, in celebration of 70 years of service, recently organized an International Conference on the subject: “Law and Multiculturalism: Contemporary Challenges”, under the auspices of the Hellenic Ministry of Justice. The Conference took place on 26-27 November 2009. The venue of the Conference was the neoclassical Megaron Mela in the city center of Athens. Worldwide renowned experts in the selected fields of discussion spoke at the Conference, which was well-attended by members of the Greek legal and academic community.

The workings of the Conference opened with an address by the Secretary General of the Ministry of Justice, G. Dimitrainas, on behalf of the Minister of Justice, followed by a greeting from the Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Institute and President of the Greek Council of State, P. Pikrammenos. The Director of the Institute, Sp. Vrellis, after conveying the greetings of the former Director, K.D. Kerameus, delivered his opening speech on “Law and Culture”.

The reports by the speakers were divided into five sessions:

The first session (chaired by F. Pocar) focused on the “Organization of a Multicultural Society”, with remarkable examples and abundant information from the United States of America (S. Symeonides), the European Union (Chr. Kohler) and the Hague Conference on Private International Law (H. van Loon).

In the second session (chaired by A. Bucher) the topic of “Family Life in a Multicultural Society” was examined, with informative speeches focusing on relations between parents and children (A. Borras), adoption (P. Lagarde) and matters of succession (M.-Cl. Najm).

“Transactions in a Multicultural Society” was the theme of the third session (chaired by M. Bodgan), with interesting analyses on multiculturalism vis-à-vis contemporary transactions (A. Grammaticaki-Alexiou), international investment disputes (A. Giardina), and the conduct of multinational companies in the Third World (Tr. Hartley).

The fourth session (chaired by K. Siehr) addressed the question “Culture above Law or Law above Culture?”, with elaborate approaches ranging from problems of freedom of art (F. Ost) and criminal law issues (M. Tadaki) to intangible cultural heritage practices (C. Duvelle).

The fifth session (chaired by V. Skouris) concentrated on “The Role of Law: Possibilities and Limits”, with stimulating presentations on selected multicultural problems in the conflict of laws (K. Kreuzer), public international law (A. Yokaris), and transnational law (H. Kronke).

Finally, the discussion of the Conference was summarized in the closing speech on “Globalization and Multiculturalism: The Law of the Open Society” by J. Basedow.

The presentations made at the Conference will be published in the Revue hellénique de droit international (issue 2009.2).

The associates and staff of the Hellenic Institute of International and Foreign Law would like to warmly thank the Speakers and Guests of the Conference for celebrating with them the Institute's 70th birthday!

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