A Word from our President
In the mid-2000s, at a time of multiplication of forums for exchanges on international law – research centres, institutes, groups or networks, for example – the SQDI’s executive was questioning itself as to how it could evolve in order to maintain its relevancy. For the team at the time, of which I was already a part of, the SQDI, created in 1982, had to reorient the way it organized its activities. It was no longer enough to organize events dedicated to outreach and exchanges, considering the new groups already offered this; the SQDI had to become a space reuniting these centres, institutes and networks. It had to seek to de-compartmentalize them and to have professors, researchers, practitioners, and students travel from one space to another. Already very inclusive and unifying, the SQDI henceforth had to act as a binding force, capable of creating associations where frontiers were met. Indeed, even if we were bombarded with offers for activities in international law, few of them actually allowed for exchanges beyond our networks.
With the organization of the first summit on international legal teaching and research in Quebec during the fall of 2007, the SQDI definitely presented itself as a gathering space. Indeed, almost all international law professors answered its call. The event was repeated five years later with equal success. Since then, the SQDI has multiplied meeting opportunities. The Maximilien-Bibaud and Katia-Boustany conferences offer experts an opportunity to leave his or her “natural environment” in order to address a new audience, allowing for encounters and exchanges between researchers, students, and practitioners of numerous fields. The Bulletin, a monthly electronic publication, shares the activities and news of numerous groups, institutes, and research centres in Quebec and elsewhere.
In parallel to these activities, the Quebec Journal of International Law (RQDI), the scientific body of the SQDI, carved itself a leading position within the international law journals. Trilingual, funded by the SSHRC, and for which the editorial quality is ensured not only by a reading committee constituted of eminent specialists from all over the world, but also by an editorial team constituted of brilliant and motivated young students from numerous universities, the journal took a decisive turn by deciding to publish its volumes online with open access. The number of downloads has steadily increased, exceeding 40,000 per month. Due to its editorial quality ensured by a double peer-review process, its enviable text processing time, and the visibility of the articles published, Quebec authors and from beyond proudly entrust their manuscripts to the RQDI.
I also must underline the creation of the SQDI Student Circle. This body, entirely directed by students, boasts an enviable dynamism. Be it through its biennial conference or its lectures and workshops, the Circle’s activities offer students the possibility of exchanging with students of all Faculties and demonstrate the very real – and comforting – existence of a future generation of international law jurists in Quebec.
The SQDI thus has the wind in its sails! My predecessor, Professor Olivier Delas, is no stranger to this effervescent evolution. The team he has reunited isn’t either. It is now a case of ensuring the longevity of what has been put in place, while trying to innovate in certain respects, relatively to social, geopolitical and economic transformations.
Faced with the rise of extremism and populism, a consequence of the instability and unpredictability characterizing our era, before the inequalities still very present, because what happens abroad affects and preoccupies us, an association such as the SQDI perhaps cannot only be content with serving its members; the whole community needs a driving force, engaged internationalists, actors within society, aware of different types of issues, mobilized, mobilizable, and in tune with their field as well as their local community, and even the global one. To this extent, many of our members are already very active, but the SQDI can surely play a role in mobilizing them further. This is what characterizes a part of the team’s work in the years to come.