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Keynote Speakers

Ujal Singh Bhatia

Thursday, October 27


Ujal Singh Bhatia was appointed to the Appellate Body of the WTO in November 2011, where he served till March 2020. During this time, he was appointed Chairman of the Appellate Body twice (in 2017 and in 2018). Prior to his term with the Appellate Body, Mr. Bhatia served as India’s Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the WTO between 2004 and 2010. Mr. Bhatia joined the Indian Administrative Service in 1974 and served in various capacities within the state of Odisha, as well as in the central government in New Delhi. He spent two decades in Odisha in various administrative positions, which included time as District Magistrate, CMD of the Odisha Mining Corporation and MD of the Industrial Development Corporation. In Delhi, Mr. Bhatia served in the Commerce Ministry for five years (1995-2000) and briefly in the Information and Broadcasting Ministry (2004). In the Commerce Ministry, he dealt with several trade negotiations at the bilateral and regional levels. He was the Chief Negotiator of India for the India-Sri Lanka FTA (ISLFTA), as well as the South Asian FTA (SAFTA). As Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the WTO, Mr. Bhatia represented India in various negotiations under the Doha Round. He also represented India before the Appellate Body in a number of disputes. Mr. Bhatia is presently an Honorary Professor at the National Law University, Delhi. He is on the roster of panelists for dispute resolution under various FTAs, including the USMCA (Chapter 31), as well as FTAs involving the European Union, the United Kingdom and the Republic of Korea. Mr. Bhatia serves as a member of the Sustainability Advisory Board of Eisai Co. Ltd, Japan, and is an Advisor to the Council on Economic Policies, Zurich.

Natasha Affolder

Thursday, October 27


Natasha Affolder is a Professor at the Peter A. Allard School of Law, University of British Columbia. She is a leading scholar of transnational environmental law whose award-winning scholarship seeks to illuminate the unseen and under-examined dimensions of international law and its practice. Drawing on her eclectic background of domestic and international law practice and advisory work in both the public and private sectors, she currently leads a research project exploring the global diffusion of environmental and climate law ideas and templates. A member of the bar of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Professor Affolder has put her scholarly expertise to work as an advisor to indigenous communities, environment and development NGO’s, and governments. She spent several years in private practice with the firms Hill & Barlow and (what is now) DLA Piper. She held research associate positions at Harvard Business School, advancing the study and practice of large project negotiations, and served as a consultant for Oxfam International, working to integrate gender and development perspectives in the negotiations creating the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. More recently, she has served as part of an IUCN/Asian Development Bank team to support environmental law teaching in the Asia-Pacific Region. Her academic background includes a doctorate in law from Oxford University where she also completed a Bachelor of Civil Law (First Class) as a Rhodes Scholar, and a LL.B. from the University of Alberta.

Honourable Bob Rae

Friday, October 28


Bob Rae is the Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Canada to the United Nations in New York. Mr. Rae served as Premier of Ontario from 1990-1995, and interim Leader of the Liberal Party of Canada from 2011-2013. He was elected to federal and provincial parliaments 11 times between 1978 and 2013. Mr. Rae received his Honours B.A. in Modern History from the University of Toronto, an M.Phil in Politics as a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford University, and graduated from the University of Toronto Faculty of Law in 1977. He was named a Queen’s Counsel in 1984. As a lawyer in private practice, Mr. Rae led the restructuring of the Canadian Red Cross, the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, and chaired the board of the Royal Conservatory of Music. He also wrote “Lessons to be Learned” on the Air India bombing, and “Ontario a Leader in Learning” - a study of the Ontario higher education system. He was also named to the Security and Intelligence Review Committee by then Prime Minister Chrétien. Mr. Rae’s return to Parliament for the constituency of Toronto Centre in 2008 led to his appointment as Foreign Affairs spokesman for his party, and to his election as interim Leader in 2011. Between 2013 and 2020 he taught law and public policy at the University of Toronto, and was a partner and senior counsel to the law firm OKT LLP, specializing in indigenous law and constitutional issues. In 1997, Mr. Rae became a founding board member of the Forum of Federations. He went on to serve as Chairman and President of the Forum, and advised many governments and groups on issues of constitutional change, the rule of law, federalism and devolution. He remains a Senior Fellow of the Forum. Mr. Rae is also a Senior Fellow at Massey College, and the Raoul Wallenberg Centre for Human Rights. He served as the Chief Negotiator for the 9 First Nations that are members of the Matawa Tribal Council in Northern Ontario between 2013 and 2018. In October 2017, Mr. Rae was appointed as Canada’s Special Envoy to Myanmar. In this role, he engaged in diplomatic efforts to address the crisis in the country’s Rakhine State and wrote the report “Tell Them We’re Human” in 2018. In March 2020, he was named by Prime Minister Trudeau to be Canada’s Special Envoy on Humanitarian and Refugee Issues. This led to his report “A Global Pandemic Requires a Global Response”, which was made public shortly before his appointment as Ambassador to the UN. Bob Rae is a Privy Councillor, a Companion of the Order of Canada, a member of the Order of Ontario, and has numerous awards and honorary degrees from institutions in Canada and around the world. In addition to several government reports, he is the author of five books. Along with music, reading, and writing, he loves tennis, golf, and fishing. He is married to Arlene Perly Rae, writer and public advocate on issues affecting women and children. They have three daughters and five grandchildren.





EDI Accreditation - Law Society of Ontario

The following sessions are accredited for 1.5 hours each for EDI Professionalism Hours with the Law Society of Ontario:

  • Children's Rights and International Law: System Level Shifts Towards Better Protection of Children's Rights (Thursday)

  • The Role of Indigenous Communities in Canadian Foreign and Defence Policy (Friday)

Thursday and Friday sessions total 11 hours of Continuing Education.


As per the Law Society of Ontario, only Professionalism Hours must be accredited by the Law Society. Lawyers and paralegals must determine for themselves whether an activity is an eligible educational activity for CPD and qualifies for Substantive Hours. Information on continuing professional development Requirements.

Conference Theme


Solidarity and Enlightened Self-Interest in International Law:

Relic or Aspiration?

The theme of this year’s conference is Solidarity and Enlightened Self-Interest in International Law: Relic or Aspiration?

The Charter of the United Nations refers to “the principle of the sovereign equality of all its Members”, but the international order, like almost every other area of human endeavour, is defined by marked asymmetries in resources, influence, and power. Over the course of the second half of the 20th century, a broad consensus emerged that friendly relations among nations require restraint in the application of economic, institutional, and military capacity. It became widely accepted that the pursuit of common goals, notably with respect to climate change, public health, security, migration, and economic development, required an enlightened conception of self-interest on the part of the best-resourced States to account for the needs of smaller players and to avoid externalizing the consequences of global challenges.


Yet contrary to the lofty hopes of the immediate post-Cold War period, ideological dominance and assertions of State sovereignty have returned with a vengeance. Whether in the context of the global pandemic, the climate crisis, the trade war, or the (re-)establishment of geopolitical “spheres of influence”, the unapologetic pursuit of narrow self-interest has made an astonishing comeback. States with the ability to both wreak havoc on international norms and weather the resulting criticism are increasingly choosing to do so. International law and international institutions struggle to impose themselves as an effective brake on these actions or to incentivize productive cooperation. These developments may lead international lawyers to wonder whether the ideals of solidarity and enlightened self-interest in international law will give way to the (re)assertion of self-serving power and domination as primary drivers shaping the world legal order.


At its 51st Annual Conference in 2022, the Canadian Council on International Law (CCIL) invites policymakers, practitioners, academics, and students of international law to reflect critically on the significance of and the challenges posed by these developments. Without limiting the range of approaches that might be taken to addressing this theme, some questions that participants could address include:

  • How will Russia’s invasion of Ukraine affect the wider international legal order?

  • How have these developments affected international law’s role in the global response to the COVID-19 pandemic? How much have the shortcomings or successes of that global response been attributable to the predominant role of States relative to the World Health Organization, or to ability of other international legal mechanisms to corral the resources of non-state actors such as multinational pharmaceutical companies?

  • Do these developments simply mean that international law has less of a role to play in advancing common interests or addressing global challenges? Is it destined to become a dwindling set of checks on state power rather than an enabler of collective action? Are there instruments from previous epochs that international lawyers need to dust off to deal with a harsher world? Or new instruments that need to be developed?  

  • What are the roles and responsibilities of the new titans of technology and commerce in a world where State accountability is at a low ebb? In what ways is international law equipped or ill-equipped to manage this new category of non-State actor, whose broad use as platforms for human interaction places them in a position of global influence well beyond that of many States?

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