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Studying in an international environment

The Munich Advanced Course in international law


Students who wish to study international law together with international peers and professors for two weeks during summer should consider the Munich Advanced Course in International Law (MACIL) which is introduced to you by Professor Christian Walter and Yusra Suedi in the following blogpost.

In 2016, the Munich Advanced Course in International Law (MACIL) will take place for the 5th time. The annual summer school, which is run by the Institute of International Law of Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich, takes place in August and covers each year different topics which are grouped around an overall subject of current relevance. In 2012 the overall subject was “War and Peace in International Law”, in 2013 MACIL dealt with “Challenges in International Institutional Law” and in 2014 it targeted the question of a “New Public International Law for the Cybersphere”. Last year’s course was dedicated to “Non-state Actors in International Law”. In August 2016 the overall subject will be dedicated to “International Adjudication between Dispute Settlement and Law-Making”. Teachers in recent years included Judge Bruno Simma and Professors Christine Gray (Cambridge), Niels Blokker (Leiden), Geir Ulfstein (Oslo), Erika de Wet (Pretoria), Oren Gross (Minnesota), Jutta Brunnée (Toronto), Terry Gill (Amsterdam), Marco Sassòli (Geneva) and Olivier Corten (Brussels), as well as many other colleagues from Germany and abroad. The idea is to offer an in-depth study of a specific field of Public International Law in truly international setting. The classes are each year composed of 30-35 students, among them advanced undergraduates, PhD students and young professionals in the field of International Law or International Relations, coming from about 20 different countries. The following report by a former participant gives an impression of the teaching concept and the atmosphere of MACIL:

Last summer, I was fortunate enough to participate in the 2015 edition of the Munich Advanced Course in International Law (MACIL). MACIL offers an opportunity for students and young professionals to dedicate two weeks to intense and in-depth study of Public International Law. The summer school is run by the Institute of International Law of Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich. The summer school takes place in August and covers several general and specific aspects in International Law.

Last August, the theme of MACIL was ‘International Law Beyond the State: Towards a New Role for Individuals and other Non-State Actors’. I am a PhD student in Public in International Law and my PhD topic is an analysis of the procedural relationship between the individual and the International Court of Justice. This topic was therefore perfect for my research, which I had begun a few months prior to the summer school. When I saw the poster advertising MACIL 2015 on the walls of the Law Faculty at my university, I knew that I had to participate. I rushed to apply and find more information, and was pleasantly surprised by the schedule: the professors invited to participate were of the highest quality – very well-renowned scholars who are specialists in this particular subject-matter. I had come across a number of names during the course of my PhD readings. I was very excited to have the opportunity to meet and interact with these professors in person. The academic quality of the summer school was extremely high.

A typical morning would begin at 9am until 12.30pm, with short afternoon sessions from 2pm to 3.30pm. Readings were made available to us week prior to the beginning of the course, giving us sufficient time to prepare for each lesson. Each professor brought their unique styles of instruction to MACIL, but one thing that they all shared in common was their keenness to interact and engage in discussion with the students. Sessions were very dynamic and interactive, giving students the opportunity to exchange their views – however diverse. The preparation of the readings enriched the quality of discussions.

The students who participate at MACIL range from undergraduate students to doctoral candidates. Some have taken one or two international law classes, whereas others are quite specialized in the area. Further, the students come from all corners of the globe. Last year, we had participants from South Africa, Japan, Tanzania, Ukraine, China, Brazil, Norway and India, just to name a few. Despite our differences in backgrounds and academic specializations, we were able to quickly bond over our common passion for international law. The friendly MACIL staff, well-organized extra-curricular activities and the summer atmosphere in Munich fostered the perfect conditions to make long-lasting friendships.

Personally, I greatly benefited from MACIL 2015 in that it put me in the right direction for my PhD research. I was able to discuss with various knowledgeable professors who challenged my ideas and enhanced my thought-process. I wrote a paper at the end of the course which was assessed and graded in order to receive my certificate. This, however, is optional, and gives students the opportunity to earn 6 ECTS credits.

This summer 2016, the MACIL theme will be International Adjudication between Dispute Settlement and Law-Making. Any student with an interest in public international law should participate to learn more about this highly relevant and very stimulating theme. MACIL provides the perfect balance between quality education and summer fun. It was a unique experience that I cannot recommend enough.


Yusra Suedi is a PhD Candidate in Public International Law and a Teaching Assistant at the Global Studies Institute of the University of Geneva.

Professor Dr. Christian Walter holds the Chair of Public International Law and Public Law at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität in Munich.


Cite as: Christian Walter & Yusra Suedi, “Studying in an international environment: The Munich Advanced Course in International Law”, Völkerrechtsblog, 16 March 2016, doi: 10.17176/20171130-094712.

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