UB School of Law’s impact on global legal studies has a new front, as a recent visiting scholar assumes leadership of an influential international legal body based in India.
It was in 2014 that Kennedy Gastorn, a law professor at the University of Dar es Salaam School of Law in his native Tanzania, was in Buffalo for a nine-month term as a Fulbright Scholar. Hosted by the Baldy Center for Law and Social Policy, his research evaluated the effectiveness of the East African Community – a regional government treaty comprising five nations – in ensuring public safety against both internal strife and international hostilities.
Now Gastorn has been elected the sixth secretary-general of the Asian-American Legal Consultative Organization by attendees of AALCO’s annual meeting in New Delhi, India. His four-year term began Aug. 15.
The organization, established in 1956, now has 46 member states from Asia and Africa. It advises member nations on international law and serves as a forum for discussion on issues in international law, including trade law, treaties, diplomatic law and human rights law.
Gastorn says that his goal as secretary-general is to reinforce AALCO’s position as the “hub” for collective dialogue on its member states’ legal concerns. He also intends to strengthen the organization’s voice in the international law-making process, with the goal of fostering progressive and equitable economic development throughout the region.
In addition, Gastorn is looking to build a strong working relationship with the United Nations, the International Criminal Court, the International Law Commission, the World Trade Organization and regional organizations such as the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, the African Union, the Economic Cooperation Organization and the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation.
UB School of Law Professor Makau W. Mutua, who invited Gastorn to Buffalo as a Fulbright fellow, said of the scholar, “He’s regarded in Tanzania and the region as one of the most impressive academics to emerge in a long time. He has worked as a senior advisor to senior officials in Tanzania.
“His appointment to AALCO portends well for an organization that has played a historically important legal role for Asia and Africa since the age of decolonization. Equally important for the School of Law, his prominence indicates our growing visibility in international law.”