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WhAt we do

Building World Food Law Expertise 

The Institute is committed to developing and supporting the growth of international food law expertise.

The development of international food law expertise begins in the School of Law, with courses, directed   research, networking, and a variety of other opportunities. One key opportunity is to experience the development of global food standards. Upon graduation, select students will have served as Research Scholars and interns at FAO Headquarters in Rome or other countries, thus providing them with the necessary experience to pursue their interest in world food law.

For legal professionals, the Institute has co-presented mini-symposia like the one on large scale investments in land. A Networking Community will be launched later this year in 2018.

Together the programs and research of the World Food Law Institute:

  • Promote interdisciplinary dialogue & understanding about Food Law and Policy

  • Contribute to informed decision-making by public and private sector leaders

  • Strengthen legal expertise

  • Providing legal research for policy and practice

  • Encourage interest in Food Law among law students and young lawyers

World Food Law Symposia

The World Food Law Symposium is the Institute’s principal Spring event. The Symposium brings together experts from the legal community and from many other disciplines to develop an issue of significance to the global food community in a multidisciplinary forum. The international gathering has addressed both trending and fundamental questions of food law and policy, including biodiversity, food quality, WTO law, and cooperatives among others. The goal is to promote understanding, awareness, and the exchange of ideas among participants, who are encouraged to apply this new in their work, particularly in the development of policy.

Roundtable Series

For several years Round Tables have been a core feature of the Institute’s programs. These small, informal, off-the-record discussions permit a particular topic to be discussed by invited participants who are subject matter experts but who bring differing disciplines and perspectives on the topic to the exchange of views. Until 2017, which introduced the Geographical Indications Round Table Series, the topic changed with each Round Table. Participants are experts on the topic at hand, adding business, government, legal, policy, diplomatic and international, NGO and academic perspectives. The goal is to encourage frank exchanges, which is made easier by the absence of media and of publications about the discussions. It is likely that a new theme will be chosen for 2018-2019 Round Tables.

Annual Lectures

The World Food Law Lecture is an annual event, usually held in the Autumn, to launch the year for the World Food Law Institute. It is an occasion for developing the Institute’s role as an interdisciplinary forum for the exchange of ideas about trending topics in food law and policy.

The Lecture may explore a trending theme, as occurred when Nobel Laureate Wangari Maathai initiated the Lecture Series with her exploration of “Food and Forests” and when the FAO Director General developed “Agricultural Biological Diversity for Food Security”, a theme further explored in research by FAO experts for inclusion in a special issue of the Howard Law Journal. Other Lectures concern a specific legal development, such as the Lecture by the Zanzibar Minister of Trade Amina Ali concerning spice production and trade. Another lecture by a WTO legal adviser delved into various food and agriculture disputes at the World Trade Organization.  Future Lectures might be combined with further exploration and research, as occurred with the Agricultural Biological Diversity theme to culminate in the form of a publication.

Academic Cooperation

The Institute encourages and supports a small number of law students and young attorneys to pursue their interest in food law by offering research opportunities as Research Assistants (law students), Research Associates (recent law graduates and young attorneys), and World Food Law Scholars (recent graduates). Most support is non-financial, but includes opportunities for research, collaborations, and networking. The World Food Law Scholars have served as interns and conducted research at international organizations. These opportunities have been restricted to Howard law students and recent Howard graduates. The Institute hopes gradually to enlarge those who are eligible.

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