Sunday, December 21, 2008

End of Semester Happenings

The last few weeks have been eventful - with lots of great work accomplished, holiday travel, and the end of a very good semester. There was so much going on, I got behind on my posting. Here's a catch up on the news.

Video Conferencing with Ukraine
Professor Kelley organized another live video conference connecting Ukrainian law professors with our professors, through the U.S. Embassy in Kyiv. The topic of discussion was The Recognition of States under International Law, and the conference began with an exchange of ideas between Professor Liliana Tymchenko, an international law specialist in Ukraine and our own Professors Ewelukwa and Foster. Other Ukrainian professors joined in the discussion, and Ukrainian law students asked questions for discussion.

Many of our alumni have had the opportunity to take an international law or human rights course from Professors Ewelukwa or Foster. We were all so proud of their performance during this video conference. Each was extremely knowledgeable, articulate, and thoughtful in their comments as they discussed the complexities of this difficult topic and wove in issues of human rights and political pressure. It was fascinating. At the conclusion of the conference, the idea of the three professors co-writing an article capturing the dialogue was discussed - a great way to continue and to publicize this innovative exchange of ideas!

The conference technology went off without a hitch thanks to our Library and Information Systems Director, Professor Randy Thompson and Information Technology Specialist Chris Abel. At times it was hard to believe that we were talking with people a half a world away.

Final Exams and Projects
December 19 was the last day of the Fall 2008 semester - everyone agrees that the semester went by very, very fast. We have an excellent LL.M. class this year, and they all performed exceptionally well. They had final exams in Food Law & Policy and Finance & Credit, and Regulation of Livestock Sales, a written essay in Issues in International Agriculture, and bibliography assignment in Advanced Research in Agricultural Law.

After classes ended, Professor Kelley fit in a trip to Ukraine where he met with State Department officials at the U.S. embassy and professors at law schools in Kyiv and Ukraine. After he returned, I headed north for Minnesota - a road trip with my sister and most of our menagerie of pets. We stopped in Kansas City to pick up my niece and then headed for the farm in Minnesota. I have never missed a Christmas on the farm - and although the icy roads and blizzard conditions almost made this year an exception, we arrived safely just last night. It was ten below zero this morning when I got up. I think I forgot how cold Minnesota winters can be! Fortunately, the forecast is for a little warmer temperatures for Christmas when Christopher flies up to join us for the holiday.

I wish all of you the happiest of holidays! More reports after the new year!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Anne Hazlett - New Director of Agriculture

One of our alumni, Anne Hazlett was recently named Director of the Indiana State Department of Agriculture. For the past two years, Anne served as minority counsel for Republican Sen. Saxby Chambliss of Georgia on the Senate Agriculture Committee. Prior to that appointment, Anne served as a former chief of staff to Lt. Gov. Becky Skillman who oversees the agriculture department.

Anne is a graduate of Kansas State University, has her law degree from Indiana University, and she earned her LL.M. in Agricultural Law with us.

Congratulations, Anne - we know you will do a great job in your new position!

We are beginning to collect information from all our alumni so we can prepare our alumni newsletter soon after the holidays. We already have lots of exciting news to report! Please send your announcements to me at - we love hearing from you!

Monday, December 8, 2008

Professor Hamilton Suggested as Secretary of Agriculture

This in from a December 5, 2008 Press Release from Drake University about our friend and visiting professor:
Neil Hamilton, the Dwight D. Opperman chair of law and director of the Agricultural Law Center at Drake University, has been suggested as a "sustainable choice for the next U.S. Secretary of Agriculture."
Hamilton is among six top picks for the cabinet position recommended by nearly 90 notable figures in the world of sustainable agriculture and food who signed a letter sent to the Obama transition team earlier this week. The letter is posted on the New York Times Web site.

The letter was mentioned yesterday in the New York Times Blog on Dining Out, which noted that "The hope is that the new secretary will be less aligned with industrial agribusiness and commodity farming than secretaries past. And if he or she embraces the connection between food health and the environment, well, that's all the better."

"I'm honored to be considered, although I'm not looking for a job. In fact, I have one of the best jobs in the world," Hamilton said. "I've had no official inquiries from the transition team, but I certainly would welcome the opportunity to serve the Obama administration in any way that I could."

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Chuck Culver Visits LL.M. Class

We were delighted to have alumnus, Chuck Culver visit the Agricultural Finance & Credit class this week. Chuck serves as Director of Development for the Division of Agriculture at the University of Arkansas and has a distinguished record of service to agriculture and agricultural law throughout his career. He worked for Senator Dale Bumpers in Washington, D.C. for a number of years, and Chuck's assistance was key to the creation of the National Center for Agricultural Law. Chuck was a member of the very first LL.M. class, and as an alumnus, he has always provided critical support to the Program.

Chuck delivered an excellent lecture discussing the historical phases of federal support to and regulation of agriculture. He concluded his remarks with commentary on the future of agricultural policy with a fascinating look at the changes in Congressional Committee chairs and the significance of likely agricultural appointees to the USDA. Chuck's long record of political and policy work in Washington, D.C. along with the network of political contacts he has made over the years, provide him with valuable insight into the current political process. The LL.M. candidates, several of whom would like the opportunity to work in Washington, were a captivated audience.

Monday, December 1, 2008

School of Law Hosts Distinguished Panel of Ukrainian Judges

From Saturday, November 15 to Saturday, November 22, thanks to the efforts of Professor Christopher Kelley, the School of Law and the Young Lawyers Section of the Arkansas Bar Association had the opportunity to host five Ukrainian judges. The Judges’ visit included activities in both Little Rock and Fayetteville and was sponsored in cooperation with Freedom House and the Open World Program of the Library of Congress.

In addition to Professor Kelley’s leadership in organizing the visit, several of our LL.M. alumni and candidates were involved in this historic visit, and everyone in the School of Law community had the opportunity to share in this extraordinary opportunity.

The Little Rock activities for the Judges began with a tour of William Jefferson Clinton Presidential Library and dinner with the Justices of the Arkansas Supreme Court and other distinguished members of the Arkansas and Federal Judiciary. The Judges also had the opportunity to meet Arkansas Governor Beebe and to tour the Arkansas State Capitol Complex, including the State Capitol Building and the Justice Building.

In Fayetteville, the Judges participated in a live digital video conference on The Judiciary’s Role in Resolving the Tension Between Individual Civil Liberties and National Security. Through this live conference, Kyiv Law Professors, Law Students, Attorneys, and Judges were able to speak directly with the visiting Judges and our distinguished panel of experts, including the Honorable Jimm Hendren, United States District Judge for the Western District of Arkansas, Kitty Gay, Clerk to the Honorable Jimm Hendren, and Professor Don Judges, E.J. Ball Professor of Law. This event was hosted by the U.S. Embassy in Ukraine.

LL.M. candidate, Courtney Henry, Judge-Elect, Arkansas Court of Appeals led a spirited discussion of judicial independence and integrity in the context of the judicial election process, and many University of Arkansas professors prepared special presentations for our guests.

LL.M. Alumnus and adjunct professor Vince Chadick and his wife Terri were among those in the Fayetteville community that welcomed the Judges into their homes as home-stay hosts. And, LL.M. candidate Ulyana Korzhevych from Ukraine deserves a “special service” award for her assistance in making the visit a great success.