Griffin Ferry (’16) Wins International Humanitarian Law Writing Competition

December 14, 2015

Griffin Ferry, who is on track to receive his J.D. from the Law School next May, has been named the winner of the 2015 International Humanitarian Law (IHL) Student Writing Competition. The competition is sponsored by the Center for Human Rights and Humanitarian Law at American University Washington College of Law, the American Society of International Law’s Lieber Society, and the IHL program of the American Red Cross. The theme of the 2015 competition was “The Intersection of International Humanitarian Law and Gender”; law students from across the country submitted papers that focused on ways in which IHL intersects with gender issues, such as the role of women as combatants, the gendered use of sexual violence during times of armed conflict, and the impact of gender stereotyping on international humanitarian law.

Ferry’s winning paper, “Oppression Through ‘Protection’: A Survey of Femininity in Foundational International Humanitarian Law Texts,” was selected by a panel of distinguished academics and practitioners who specialize in the field. Ferry described his goal in writing the paper as “to unearth and analyze the patriarchal roots of IHL and its essentialized depictions of women with a gendered examination of the Summa Theologica, the Lieber Code, the Hague Conventions, and the Geneva Conventions. These foundational IHL texts present recurring themes that marginalize, sexualize, and infantilize women under the guise of protection. These IHL codifications are forums in which the objectification and marginalization of women in conflict is surreptitiously endorsed and legitimized. Understanding the history and forms of female oppression is a critical first step towards ensuring the future of IHL does not perpetuate the shortcomings of the past.”

“I’m very honored to have won this prize and am thankful for the encouragement and guidance of Professor Fionnuala Ní Aoláin and Professor Jennie Green,” Ferry said. “My coursework and clinic work sparked my interest in this field, and our class discussions were instrumental in helping me write my paper.”

“Griffin Ferry is an outstanding international law student,” said Professor Ní Aoláin. “This prize demonstrates the quality and originality of his research and writing, as well as the strength of the international law program at the University of Minnesota Law School.”


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