The annual Jean-Gabriel Castel Lecture was created in 2004 to honour Professor Jean-Gabriel Castel, an internationally acknowledged jurist and now emeritus Distinguished Research Professor in international law at Osgoode Hall Law School of York University, Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, and Officer of the Order of Canada.
For a decade, Professor Castel had taught international law to Glendon’s undergraduate students in the International Studies Program. This public lecture series was launched in order to honour his contribution to this department, and to give the students in the Department of International Studies, as well as other social sciences disciplines, the opportunity to hear an eminent jurist and/or a well-known personality in public life discuss issues in law that demand public debate.
The first speaker in the series was Jean-Gabriel Castel himself, who spoke in February 2005 on the topic “The Legality and Legitimacy of Unilateral Armed Intervention in an Age of Terror, Neo-Imperialism and Massive Violations of Human Rights. Is International Law Evolving in the Right Direction?”
He was followed in February 2006 by Professor George Alexandrowicz, a highly respected specialist in international law at Queen’s University, who spoke on “Developments in Global Governance.”
Next was a Glendon graduate, Colonel Kim Carter, former Chief Military Judge of the Canadian Forces and now Ombudsman for British Columbia. She spoke in November 2006 on the topic “From Kosovo to Kandahar and Beyond: A Canadian Perspective on International Humanitarian Law at the Beginning of the 21st Century.”
In March 2008, Professor Sharon Williams of Osgoode Hall Law School, author of many scholarly publications, who had been a Judge ad litem at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia in The Hague from 2001-2003, spoke on the topic: “The Establishment and Future of the International Criminal Court.”
After four lectures in English, the 2010 speaker was Professor Armand de Mestral from McGill University in Montreal who gave a bilingual presentation on « La navigation dans les eaux arctiques du Canada: Y-a-t il un problème? ».
The 2011 conference on March 8 was the sixth in the annual Jean-Gabriel Castel Lecture series. The keynote speaker was Philippe Dufresne, director and senior counsel of the Canadian Human Rights Commission, The title of his bilingual talk was “From a Medical Model to the Model of Rights: The Impact of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in Canadian Law”.