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Winners of Davis Wright Tremaine International Law Writing Competition Announced

May 18, 2018

The International Law Committee is proud to announce the winners of the 2018 Davis Wright Tremaine International Law Writing Awards. Established through the generosity of Davis Wright Tremaine LLP, the award program provides stipends for the best Lewis & Clark law student research papers written in the past year on any topic in private or public international law. Typically there is a $2,000 prize for first place and $500 prize for second place, but this year the review committee decided to split the awards evenly between two authors. Their names and the titles of their papers are as follows:

  • Ayla Ashaboglu, Potential Investment Treaty Claims in the Aftermath of Turkey’s 2016 Failed Coup

  • Ryan Settles, Human Rights as a Means of Advancing Justice in Rural Development: Conceiving and Implementing a Right of Peoples to Food Sovereignty

Ashaboglu’s paper evaluates the viability of claims by foreign investors against the Republic of Turkey based on the government’s response to a coup attempt in 2016.  In the wake of that coup, the Turkish government took control of several companies and seized assets from others, purportedly because it suspected these companies of supporting the failed coup.  Some of these companies have foreign shareholders who are protected by investment treaties. Ayla argues that the government may have overstepped in some cases, violating both Turkish law and international standards and opening the door to treaty claims.

Professor George Foster, the Chair of the International Law Committee and supervisor of Ashaboglu’s paper, was favorably impressed.  “This is a sophisticated and deeply researched paper,” he said. “It reflects the sort of analysis that is undoubtedly being undertaken at top law firms with clients invested in Turkey, and highlights Ayla’s potential to do outstanding work in the investment law field.”

Settles’ paper explores and endorses the movement for recognizing a right of peoples to food sovereignty under international law. He examines the global phenomenon of peasants and indigenous peoples being displaced to make way for capital-intensive, industrial-scale land uses such as plantation agriculture and resource extraction, and argues that existing internationally-recognized human rights provide inadequate protection. A universal right of peoples to food sovereignty, Settles contends, is a necessary step toward establishing a sustainable and equitable food system and realizing other human rights of the rural poor.  

Adjunct Professor Kathleen Maloney, who supervised Settles’ paper in her International Human Rights class, greatly enjoyed working with him.  “Ryan’s focus on rural peasant groups proved to be an excellent lens through which to analyze potential solutions for world hunger,” she said. “His identification of conflict as the main source driving hunger globally led him to propose creative ways to establish a new international human right to food sovereignty.  Ryan will be a tremendous asset to any group working on food and land rights or any law firm looking for a creative and nimble legal mind.”

Lewis & Clark is grateful to Davis Wright Tremaine for the firm’s ongoing support for this writing competition.  Particular recognition is due to attorney Ronald K. Ragen, who has actively encouraged and followed this competition for many years.

Congratulations to both winners.


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