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18 May 2023

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St Hugh’s welcomes alumna and barrister, Amal Clooney, back to College

On Monday 15 May 2023, we were delighted to welcome back to College alumna, Amal Clooney who, together with her colleague and friend, Philippa Webb gave a lecture to students, alumni, Law Faculty and College staff about their work in Human Rights Law and Public International Law. The day also comprised a ‘conversazione’ between Philippa and Kate O’Regan, Director of the Bonavero Institute for Human Rights.

Amal is a barrister at Doughty Street Chambers who specialises in international law and human rights. Amal is also an Adjunct Professor at Columbia Law School where she co-teaches International Law and Human Rights and in 2016, she co-founded the Clooney Foundation for Justice to advance justice through accountability for human rights abuses around the world.

Philippa Webb is Professor of Public International Law at King’s College London and a Visiting Fellow at Exeter College. In 2022, she was an Academic Visitor at the Oxford Law Faculty. Philippa is also a barrister at Twenty Essex and a board member of the Clooney Foundation for Justice.

The speakers, who recently published ‘The Right to a Fair Trial in International Law’ revealed that they have a second book on another fundamental right coming out in January: ‘Freedom of Speech in International Law’. Amal has co-edited the book with Lord Neuberger, the former President of the UK Supreme Court and Philippa has co-authored two chapters.

It was the first time Amal had returned to College since her graduation. Reflecting on how she came to study at St Hugh’s during the event, Amal said, ‘Before applying I had never visited Oxford nor thought that it was a good idea to do so, but somehow St Hugh’s took a chance on me and it really opened my eyes; it opened my mind; and it has opened so many doors.

‘I have always been so grateful to St Hugh’s for giving me my shot and my legal compass; and now that I’m here I wanted to say so personally; and I hope that I can always make you proud.’

After the event, St Hugh’s Principal, Lady Elish Angiolini said, ‘It was very special to be able to welcome Amal back to St Hugh’s, we are enormously proud of her achievements. I would like to thank both Amal and Philippa for taking the time to give such an enlightening lecture and answering questions from our law students.’

Please click below to watch the lecture:

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