The Institute for International law and the Humanities, in association with the McKenzie Postdoctoral Fellowship, is pleased to announce that a three-day long conference, titled  ‘Offices of the Southern Jurist-Diplomat: Taking Up a Training in Conducting Lawful Encounters’, will take place at the Melbourne Law School, from the 21st to the 23rd of August, 2019.

This conference seeks to attend to the rich tradition of diplomatic conduct concerned with the encounter of laws, both in, and of, the South, and to draw from these descriptions of this tradition, a training for conducting such diplomacy today. This will include drawing out different rules of diplomatic comportment, an attentiveness to how laws travel and get carried, particular ceremonies and protocols enabling intercultural meeting, the public work entailed in treaty-making, an acknowledgment, or a lack thereof, of the plurality of laws, the specific offices/duties of the juris-diplomat in illuminating and caring for legal relations, and the significance of ritual performance as a mode of training for, and creating, sites of lawful encounter.

The organisers see this as being a particularly valuable conversation for a time that is otherwise characterised by a loss of civility, diplomacy and an amnesia for traditions on how to meet others well. To undertake this task, this conference is bringing together an exciting group of diplomats, historians, jurists and international relations scholars.


While this conference is open to participation for staff and students at the University of Melbourne, those interested in participating are requested to write to Dr. Adil Hasan Khan (khan.a@unimelb.edu.au), as there is a limited seating capacity in the conference room.

full conference program - PDF

img: Jahangir investing a courtier with a robe of honour watched by Sir Thomas Roe, English ambassador to the court of Jahangir at Agra from 1615-18.

Day One: Wednesday, 21st August

1 30 - 2 30 pm

Lunch - Room 609


2 45 - 3 00 pm

Welcome to Country with the Wurundjeri Land Council - Room 920

Uncle Dave Wandin, Wurundjeri Elder.

3 00 - 4 30 pm

Introductions - Welcome and Describing Protocols of Encounter (Orgsanisers) - Room 920


5 00 - 6 00 pm

Cocktails pre-Memorial Lecture - Common Room


6 00 - 7 30 pm

Saba Mahmood Memorial Lecture with Assoc. Prof. Samera Esmeir - Room G08

Associate Professor Samera Esmeir, University of California, Department of Rhetoric


Day two: Thursday, 22st August

9 00 - 9 30 am

tea and coffee service with fruit and biscuits - outside Room 609


9 30 - 11 00 am

Panel Session I - Room 609


11 00 - 11 30 am

coffee and tea break - outside Room 609


11 30 am - 1 00 pm

Panel Session II - Room 609


1 00 - 2 00 pm

Lunch - Room 605


2 00 - 3 30 pm

Panel Session III - Room 609


3 30 - 4 00 pm

coffee and tea break - outside Room 609


4 00 - 5 15 pm

Keynote Address - Prof Mark McMillan

Professor Mark McMillan, Deputy Pro-Vice Chancellor, Indigenous Education and Engagement, RMIT University

6 30 pm onwards

Formal Conference Dinner - Shakahari


Day Three: Friday, 23rd August

8 45 - 9 00 am

tea and coffee service with fruit and biscuits - outside Room 609


9 00 - 10 30 am

Panel Session IV - Room 609


10 30 - 11 00 am

morning tea break - outside Room 609


11 00 am - 12 30 pm

Panel Session V - Room 609


12 30 - 1 00 pm

Lunch (boxed lunch available for collection) - Room 920


1 00 - 2 00 pm

Closing talk - Prof. Hilary Charlesworth - Room 920


2 30 - 3 30 pm

Museum (Banjilaka Aboriginal Cultural Centre)


4 15 - 5 00 pm

Pre-book Luanch Drinks - Common Room


5 00 - 6 30 pm

Book Launch and Roundtable with Professor Marett Leiboff

Professor Marett Leiboff, University of Wollongong