As I begin my international journey home after a very brief but extremely rich visit to the Dean Rusk International Law Center at the University of Georgia School of Law in Athens, Georgia, I am tired with that rare kind of exhilarated, contented tiredness. What a truly apt way to celebrate 10 years of the community that this blog gave birth to!
The programme for this conference was packed with 18 panels, which for any other one-day academic conference would be the sign that there had been no selection process and would lead to a rush of ideas with no time to engage. But not this bunch of IntLawGrrls! Instead it was a day of very thoughtfully constructed panels, with a wonderful balance of senior scholars together with junior and emerging scholars, and topics that interwove and intersected in new and interesting ways. Each session led to original, stimulating dialogue and exchange. And everyone walked away from each and every panel they attended with new ideas and perspectives, having been enriched by the discussions.
When Diane Amann (who I think has clearly earned the title of “founding foremother”) joked that IntLawGrrls was born on the 3rd March 2007 when she “accidentally created a website” after having Googled “how to start a blog?”, she also acknowledged that it has since become a movement. How true.
When IntLawGrrls was started, the blogosphere was a much smaller, quieter space than it is today, but it was clearly the right time to create a space dedicated to giving a platform to women’s voices in that sphere. I remember reading each and every post with a hunger, an eagerness, and an excitement. I remember being so proud to count myself among the contributors when I posted my first IntLawGrrls blog post. When the blog disappeared for a short while in 2012, because it had become a burden on the few founding mothers (own that title, ladies!), I remember mourning its disappearance. And when it reappeared in a new format in 2013, I celebrated its return with a cohort of women all doing PhDs in international law at the University of Amsterdam – women from all over Europe, South America, New Zealand, Australia, China. Not just because a blog had returned, but because this important resource, platform for exchange of ideas, and megaphone for women’s voices on so many issues, was alive and well. Because it had come to represent the importance of all of our voices as international law scholars and practitioners. That sense was there for this 10th Birthday conference as well, with women flying from across the globe to be there.
Thank you to all the original IntLawGrrls, for creating a space for us all on the blogosphere, and for encouraging all of our voices to be heard. Thank you to Britney and Kate and the entire team for all your work creating a seamless, heartfelt conference. And thank you for welcoming us into your home, Diane, and into this community that has become international and inter-generational. We tip our pussyhats to you in gratitude, and we look forward to the 20th birthday conference!