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About us Faculty of Law Organization Departments Transboundary Legal Studies Areas of Expertise International Law

Mission and values

International law for sustainable societies

In line with the University Strategic Plan 2015-2020 of the University of Groningen as well as the research and teaching strategies and ambitions of the Faculty of Law we define our mission as follows:

  • To contribute to building sustainable societies through the teaching of and research in international law;
  • To assist our students to become active, independent, and responsible citizens who think critically, are able to use international law to help solve the scientific and societal challenges of today, and become the innovative leaders of tomorrow.

These two goals intersect in our effort to engage in small-scale interactive teaching. We aim to establish strong links between students and academic staff, build bridges between teaching and research in international law, and create connections between the classroom and the role of international law in addressing relevant societal issues in national and international contexts.

We share the vision that effective law is required to provide a stable environment for creating sustainable societies. Societies can be defined at all levels, from the local to an all-encompassing global society of human beings. The legal frameworks operating at these levels do not exist in isolation, but are in constant interaction with each other. Local problems such as inequality and poverty are linked to the global level through international economic law and human rights, while global challenges such as climate change cannot be solved without effective implementation of international agreements into legal action at the local level. International law in the 21st century can no longer solely be regarded as a set of rules and procedures that allows for peaceful coexistence between states. It increasingly evolves into an invaluable element in the complex fabric of law that makes our societies and connects individuals, peoples, businesses, governmental and non-governmental organisations, cities, regions and states. Building sustainable societies needs international law to ensure peace and security, individual and collective rights, protection of the natural environment and resources of our planet, inclusive prosperity, and partnerships between the various stakeholders. The United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development aptly expresses the wide range of challenges we are committed to work on.

Our teaching is focused on assisting our students to explore and understand international law as it exists and to develop ideas for its further development. Acquiring knowledge of the principles, rules, and procedures of international law forms the first step in students’ active engagement with international law in the wide range of challenges that confront our societies. By contributing to the creation of academic excellence we aim to provide broad employability prospects in a diversity of career paths.

Our core values in teaching and research

  • Academic Freedom : Research and education take place in a climate of freedom of opinion and expression.
  • Integrity : Honesty, openness and transparency of staff and students are the foundation of our interaction in research and teaching. Integrity and academic freedom go hand in hand.
  • Diversity and Inclusiveness : We cherish the diversity of students and staff in international law at the University of Groningen as an opportunity to bring together a variety of perspectives and opinions, to create understanding, and to bridge differences. Our academic community is built on active participation by all and based on respect and inclusion.
  • Innovation and openness : We continuously strive to improve all aspects of our research and teaching. The dynamic character of international law requires exposure to different views and approaches, receptiveness to new ideas, exploration of unfamiliar fields, and enthusiasm in initiating contacts and building new relationships. All our lecturers maintain an open-door policy. Innovation and creativity based on scientific rigor is what we aim for.
Last modified:27 March 2019 08.39 a.m.