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!

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