Symposium Explores Dilemmas Facing Framers of Modern Constitutions, Jan. 29-31

Jan. 29, 2009

Event: A symposium titled "Constitutional Design" at The University of Texas at Austin will explore issues facing framers of contemporary constitutions including those in Iraq, Burma and California. The symposium, free and open to the public, features a keynote address by author and former ambassador Peter W. Galbraith, a leading authority on Iraq.

When: Jan. 29-31; Keynote address is Thursday, Jan. 29, at 6 p.m. View the entire symposium program.

Where: Symposium sessions will be in the Eidman Courtroom, Connally Center for Justice, at the School of Law. Maps and directions are available online. The keynote address will be given in the Lone Star Room of the Frank C. Erwin Center.

Background: The School of Law, the Lyndon B. Johnson Library & Museum and the Texas Law Review are co-sponsors of the symposium, which begins Thursday afternoon (Jan. 29) in the Law School's Eidman Courtroom with an overview of the constitutional design process in general and a look at the dilemmas facing framers of contemporary constitutions after World War II, particularly since 1989.

Participants will include scholars actively involved in designing or assessing the constitutions of Iraq, Burma, and California. In addition, the George McMillan Fleming Center for Law and Innovation in Biomedicine and Healthcare at the Law School is sponsoring a panel on "Positive Rights and Constitutional Design: Guaranteeing Medical Care." This is the first public project of the Center, which will be formally introduced this spring.

Keynote speaker Peter W. Galbraith, a distinguished former diplomat, will talk on, "The End of Iraq: How Iraq's Constitution Provides a Roadmap to Partition," on Thursday evening in the Frank C. Erwin Center. Galbraith is a senior diplomatic fellow at the Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation, where his work focuses on Iraq, the greater Middle East, and conflict resolution and post-conflict reconstruction. Since 2003, Galbraith has made more than 20 trips to Iraq, and is the architect of the partition plan that is considered the main alternative to President George W. Bush's Iraq strategy. In 1993, he was appointed the first U.S. ambassador to Croatia by President Bill Clinton. Galbraith is a regular contributor to the New York Review of Books and author of numerous books including, most recently, "Unintended Consequences: How War in Iraq Strengthened America's Enemies" (2008).

Other participants at the symposium include legal scholar and former ambassador Feisal Amin Rasoul al-Istrabadi, one of the principal drafters of the Iraqi Constitution and Iraq's ambassador and deputy permanent representative to the United Nations from 2004 to 2007; Harvard Law professor and civil rights scholar Lani Guinier; and Judges Dennis M. Davis of the High Court of South Africa-Cape Town and Antonio Benjamin, a member of the Supreme Court of Brazil and a regular visiting professor at the Law School.

For more information, contact: Laura Castro, director of media relations, School of Law, 512-825-9525 (cell); Anne Wheeler, communications director, LBJ Library & Museum, 512-721-0216.