[PAST EVENT] Climate and Conflict: A Symposium at William & Mary Law School

March 25, 2024
9am - 4pm
Law School, Room 119
613 S Henry St
Williamsburg, VA 23185Map this location
Access & Features
  • Open to the public
speakers at symposium

The Center for Comparative Legal Studies & Post-Conflict Peacebuilding, the Reves Center for International Studies and the National Center for State Courts present Climate and Conflict: A One-Day Symposium at William & Mary Law School.

The symposium will be held from 9am-4pm in person at the Law School in Room 119 or via live streaming. The event is free and open to the public, but registration is required to view the live stream.

Speakers will explore the urgency of the interrelationships between climate and conflict and potential avenues (legal, political, scientific, diplomatic) to address this growing threat. Researchers estimate that climate change has impacted between 3% and 20% of armed conflicts over the past century in a number of ways, including: countries that are most vulnerable to climate change are most likely to be engaged in conflict; climate change can directly lead to conflict, as when water tables, herding paths and agricultural resources disappear; physical insecurity resulting from conflict can render people unable to deal with the results of climate change; and, the natural environment frequently suffers as a result of conflict.

Confirmed speakers include:

  • Alissa Johannsen Rubin is Senior International Correspondent for the New York Times, covering climate and conflict issues in the Middle East. She is former Bureau Chief in Baghdad, Kabul and Paris and the recipient of a number of significant awards for her reporting, including the John Chancellor Award for Excellence in Journalism for her coverage of fifteen years of war in Afghanistan and Iraq; the James K. Batten Medal for public service journalism coverage; the Michael Kelly Award, given by the Atlantic Council for articles on the ongoing plight of Afghan women after fifteen years of United States involvement in the country, and the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for International Reporting. Rubin will deliver the 2024 George Tayloe Ross Address on International Peace at the symposium.
  • Johnson Ndi Nkem is Climate and Security Advisor for the United Nations Mission in South Sudan. He has served as an expert on climate and security issues throughout Africa, including in Uganda, Ethiopia, Senegal, Kenya and Cameroon.
  • Tomokazu Serizawa is Programme Specialist on Climate and Security Risks at the United Nations Development Programme Bangkok Regional Hub. In this capacity, he plays g a leading role implementing UNDP’s programming on climate, peace and security for Asia and the Pacific Region.
  • Kelly Matheson leads the global litigation component of Our Children’s Trust, a non-profit public interest law firm that provides strategic, campaign-based legal services to youth from diverse backgrounds to secure their legal rights to a safe climate. Our Children’s Trust has launched youth-led climate lawsuits and legal actions in all 50 states over the past decade, including Held v. Montana, in which 16 young people filed a successful constitutional climate lawsuit asserting that by supporting a fossil fuel-driven energy system that contributes to the climate crisis, the state of Montana is violating their constitutional rights to a clean and healthful environment.
  • Chiara Gabriele is Legal Coordinator at TRIAL International, a Geneva-based NGO fighting impunity for international crimes, where she acts as the focal point for environmental crimes, including international criminal cases addressing environmental violations perpetrated by State and non-State actors. She works with local human rights defenders and national lawyers to bring international cases to trial in various jurisdictions, including through the principle of universal jurisdiction.
  • Sarah Labowitz is a policy expert and documentary film producer. In April 2023, she joined the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace as a nonresident scholar in their Sustainability, Climate, and Geopolitics Program. She’s tackled issues ranging from labor rights in the global supply chain, to racial wealth disparities in disaster recovery, to human rights and national security in the aftermath of the Arab Spring, to voting rights in Texas. 
  • James Kaste (co-moderator) is Professor of Geology at William & Mary. His research focuses on chemical and physical processes operating near the earth’s surface, with the goal of understanding how they are affected or disrupted by human activity.
  • Christie S. Warren (co-moderator) is Professor of the Practice of International and Comparative Law at William & Mary Law School. She teaches courses in the field of International and Comparative Law, and her field work focuses on conflict resolution and post-conflict reconstruction.

Sponsored by: Center for Comparative Legal Studies & Post-Conflict Peacebuilding and the Reves Center for International Studies


[[international, Reves Center]]