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Robert Volterra

Robert Volterra is one of the world’s top public international law practitioners.  He is qualified as a barrister in Canada and as a solicitor-advocate in England and Wales.  He advises and represents governments, international organisations and private clients on a wide range of contentious and non-contentious public international law and international dispute resolution issues, including international humanitarian law, the laws of war, international criminal law, boundaries and territorial integrity, UNCLOS, international investment agreements and BITs, the Energy Charter Treaty, ICSID, NAFTA, trans-boundary resources and pipelines, joint-development zones and straddling resource regimes, diplomatic and consular law, attribution, privileges and immunities, State responsibility, treaty interpretation and drafting, international arbitration and litigation, international organisations, human rights, resource concessions, Statehood and sanctions.

He regularly acts as co-agent, counsel and advocate before the International Court of Justice and ad hoc international arbitration tribunals, including under the Permanent Court of Arbitration, ICSID, ICC, SCC, LCIA, UNCITRAL, WTO and UNCLOS rules. He regularly sits as an arbitrator in ICSID, UNCITRAL, ICC, SCC and LCIA arbitrations. He is on the UK Attorney General’s A-list for public international law practitioners.

Robert’s practice focuses on the resolution of complex disputes and evolving issues in the field of public international law.  He is also a Visiting Professor of International Law at University College (UCL), University of London and  Visiting Senior Lecturer at King’s College, University of London, where he has taught the international law of boundary disputes for several decades.

The Uninterrupted Imperative of Boundaries and Title to Territory in the Age of the ‘Metaverse’

The paradigm of international relations is interactions between certain entities that have title to territory under international law.  Technological developments, such as the so-called ‘Metaverse’, and transnational philosophies emerging in the popular cultures of a number of societies have provoked questions about the continuing relevance of title to territory and thus boundaries to international law and international relations.  However, on closer examination, neither these nor other developments actually challenge the relevance of title to territory as the basis of international relations.  Indeed, recent events around the world have confirmed the continuing importance of territory and boundaries.

Dan Blumberg

Prof Blumberg is the Vice-President for Regional and Industrial Development and Chair of the Israel Space Agency. Prior to these positions, Blumberg completed five years as Vice President and Dean for Research and Development at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. Before that he fulfilled several positions including Deputy Vice President, Chairperson of the Department of Geography and Environmental Development at BGU, and the founder of the Green Campus initiative at BGU which gained the University an international ranking of #18.

Prof Blumberg earned a Ph.D. from Arizona State University (1993) where he studied and worked in the Planetary Geology Group and focused on aeolian processes and microwave radar remote sensing to study arid zone environments and planetary geology.  Blumberg was a Co-I on the SRL (Spaceborne Radar Laboratory) mission, SRTM (Spaceborne Radar Topography) mission and other space missions. Blumberg has been working for the past 20 years on analysis of multi-parameter remote sensing data including radar, hyperspectral, multi-spectral and GPR data. He has also published numerous papers in the areas of target and anomaly detection.  Blumberg combined field studies with the use of remote sensing data.  Blumberg led the development and successful launch on February 15, 2017 of a Nanosatellite, BGUsat. 

Blumberg has been a key leader in the development of the cyber eco-system in Beer-Sheva which brought 39 multi-national companies and 70 startups to the advanced technologies park in Beer-Sheva.

Borders; a view from space of the impact of geopolitics on the environment

Political borders are manmade features that separate national and cultural entities one from another.  These political borders often have an impact on the environment due to differences in land use practices and regulations that create a manifestation that can be observed from space.  In this talk we will show several examples of such manifestations and what created them.


Irasema Coronado

Irasema Coronado is the director and professor of the School of Transborder Studies at Arizona State University.  She received her bachelor’s degree in political science and a certificate of Latin American Studies from the University of South Florida. She has an M.A. in Latin American Studies and a Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of Arizona. Her area of specialization is comparative politics, her research focuses on human rights on the U.S.-Mexico Border.  She is co-author of the book titled “Fronteras No Mas: Toward Social Justice at the U.S.-Mexico Border”  and co-editor of numerous articles. She was the recipient of a Fulbright to Germany in 2002, and a Border Fulbright in 2004 at the Universidad Autonoma de Ciudad Juarez.

Previously, she was a professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP), where she held the Kruszewski Family Endowed Professorship.

Irasema Coronado is past president of the Association for Borderland Studies 2005-2006. She served as a member of the Environmental Protection Agency Good Neighbor Environmental Board from 1999-2002 and co-chair of the Coalition Against Violence Toward Women and Children on the Border. She was also part of the National Advisory Committee for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency from 2003-2006 and the National Advisory Council for  Policy and Technology from 2016- 2019. 

President Barack Obama appointed her to serve on the Joint Public Advisory Committee of the Commission for Environmental Cooperation in North America in 2010. 

From 2013-2016 Coronado was executive director of the Commission for Environmental Cooperation (CEC) Secretariat in Montreal, Quebec in Canada. The CEC is a tri-national organization through which Canada, Mexico and the United States collaborate on the protection, conservation and enhancement of North America’s environment. Part of Coronado’s job was to help the three governments fulfill their obligations under the North American Agreement on Environmental Cooperation (NAAEC), a parallel accord to the North American Free Trade Agreement.

Irasema Coronado served as the executive director of the Commission for Environmental Cooperation of North America 2012-2016.  The Commission for Environmental Cooperation facilitates collaboration and public participation to foster conservation, protection and enhancement of the North American environment for the benefit of present and future generations, in the context of increasing economic, trade, and social links among Canada, Mexico, and the United States

Her present research include the impact of the deportation process on families and children, environmental cooperation, and U.S.-Mexico border politics. 



“Environmental and Social Justice Dimensions of Climate Change Across Borders”

The effects of climate change have led many people living in vulnerable conditions to move from at-risk and disaster affected areas and to cross borders in the process of relocation.  This, however, can likely put them in even more at-risk circumstances.  Leaders need to address these potentially dangerous situations, on both local and global to local scales, and find equitable solutions to the threats posed by climate change.  Border regions are facing the effects of climate change from droughts, floods, and wildfires while simultaneously dealing with refugees and asylum seekers looking for shelter and protection.  Borders can either be centers of collaboration, accountability, responsiveness, and empowerment or danger, confusion, and abuse of power when addressing the needs of displaced people due to climate change. By choosing to address their own environmental and health challenges, border communities can help advance environmental, social and climate justice goals, from the local to the global stage.  


Anne-Laure Amilhat

Anne-Laure Amilhat Szary is a French geographer specializing in political geography and the question of borders. In particular she has developed the concepts of “moving border”. She is a member of the Institut Universitaire de France and director of the Pacte social science laboratory in Grenoble.

Anne-Laure Amilhat Szary studied at the École Normale Supérieure in Fontenay-Saint-Cloud and in 1994 obtained the aggregation of geography. In 1999 she defended her thesis The region, neoliberal territorial paradox? under the direction of Claude Bataillon. The same year she became a lecturer in geography at Joseph Fourier University, then in 2012 professor at Grenoble-Alpes University.

In 2010, she was selected by an international jury for the exceptional quality of her research to be a member of the Institut universitaire de France.

Anne-Laure Amilhat Szary’s thesis is devoted to issues of development and territorial governance in post-Pinochet Chile. This work analyzes the territorial reforms carried out under the dictatorship and the possibilities of a “territorial recovery” by democracy in the early 1990s4’5. Through her publications on the mining economy and on the ways in which the peripheries are integrated into globalization, she opens up more theoretical avenues on territorial governance and paradiploma.


Border Poïesis:  geopolitical imaginaries and ideological challenges (revealed by border art).

This talk will explore the making-of borders, based on a tri-faceted definition which understands international limits as sets of interactions between representations, practises and institutions. Our analysis is based on a Lefebvrian reading of border dynamics that knows this kind of spaces as the product of processes of coding, decoding and over-coding. They thus appear as places where power relations are « subsumed by relations of production » of all kind, economical of course, but also artistical.

In this context, border art and border literature may appear as a pointer to social imaginaries, both about political divides and on the spot of those geopolitical lines. Born as an emancipatory tool and often conceived of as instrument of infra-politics, border art has developed over the years in a quite ambiguous set of productions. The talk will draw the chronology of this genre to underline its capacity to challenge dominating representations of borders as well as its tendency to espouse the dominating imaginaries of geopolitical divides, and notably through the aesthetic attraction toward the figure of the line. This will help us build a critical discussion on the notion of de/re-bordering, and to understand the ideological use that has been made of it over the last 30 years of border studies, opening up for a prospective reflection on the future of our research.

Stan Brunn

Stan Brunn is emeritus Professor of Geography at the University of Kentucky at Lexington. He joined the University of Kentucky department in 1980 as chair and served in that capacity from 1980-88.  He was appointed by the governor as State Geographer from 1988-1989. He was elected University of Kentucky Distinguished Professor I the College of Arts and Sciences in 1989-1990. He has been active in the Association of American geographers, including editor of both The Professional Geographer and the Annals, AAG

His teaching and research interest include political, social and urban geography, the geographies of information and communication, time-space geographies and innovative cartographies. Brunn’s  research includes a number of authored, edited and co-edited books and numerous articles which have appeared in geography and interdisciplinary journals. His most recent books are about Wal-Mart, E-Commerce, 9-11, the sixth edition of Cities of the World, an Atlas of the 2008 Elections, an Atlas of Central Eurasia and  a three volume edited work on Engineering Earth: The Impacts of Megaengineering Projects, which was based on an international and interdisciplinary conference he co-organized in 2008, The Changing World Religion Map (2016: 5 volumes, 208 chapters, 3800 pages) and Mapping Across Academia (2017 with Martin Dodge) on the increased use of maps by scholars in the humanities and social and physical sciences. 


Reading State Images Through Popular Culture: Celebrating a Visual Territorial History through a Plate Collection

A state’s raison d’être is closely related to images of its past and its place in a wider region or global context.  Familiar images to insiders include its flag, heritage monuments, holiday celebrations and postage stamps.  Accompany official products and representations are those constructed and produce by the private sector.  These would include patriotic clothing such as hats, shirts and dresses and jewelry and souvenirs for national and tourist populations.  What is important in these image constructions is how the state is visibly presented, specifically, colors used, boundaries presented (especially if contentious), and depictions of places and personalities in a state’s history.  The private sector often plays a crucial role in state representation and production.  Another popular example of such image construction are plates for collectors.  A careful reading of these products can and will reveal how the state is presented for local and international viewers.  The presentation draws on a reading of map plates from a dozen different countries and a private map plate collection.  An insightful reading reveals a mosaic of images related to territory and international boundaries, the portrayal of national cultures and its place in a larger geopolitical context.