Christie Warren’s expertise in comparative and international law has taken her to more than 50 developing and post-conflict countries over the past two decades. Beginning this September, it will take her to Florence, Italy, where she will serve as the 2016-17 Fulbright-Schuman Chair at the European University Institute.
Warren is Professor of the Practice of International and Comparative Law and Founding Director of the Center for Comparative Legal Studies and Post-Conflict Peacebuilding at William & Mary Law School.
“We’re delighted that Professor Warren has been honored with this Fulbright Fellowship,” said Davison M. Douglas, dean and Arthur B. Hanson Professor of Law at William & Mary Law School. “Her work in the field of post-conflict reconstruction has contributed greatly to peacebuilding efforts around the world, and the expertise she will bring back to the classroom will be of great benefit to our students.”
The Fulbright-Schuman program, jointly sponsored by the U.S. State Department and the Directorate-General for Education and Culture of the European Commission, supports research and teaching in the fields of European Union policy and US-EU relations. Over the course of the next year, Warren will research improved US-EU collaborations during post-conflict constitutional processes, advocating a problem-solving approach to constitution building that transcends limitations in specific legal systems and better addresses root causes of conflict.
“Constitutional advisors’ lack of familiarity with other legal systems, coupled with turf battles, too often get in the way of providing sound legal advice that would more successfully benefit the countries in which we work,” Warren stated. “Rigorous comparative strategies during post-conflict constitutional processes are much more successful in addressing root causes of conflict than advice based on parochial preferences for one legal system over another. There is a great need for concrete, practical information that is useable in countries recovering from conflict, and I am interested in conducting research that results in ideas that can be applied in the field and do not solely exist in articles and books.”
The European University Institute, housed in 14 historic buildings spread over the Tuscan hillside overlooking Florence, was established 40 years ago by the six founding members of the then European Communities. Since then, it has earned a reputation as a leading international academic research institution. The Institute’s Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies, where the Fulbright-Schuman Fellowship is located, focuses on interdisciplinary, comparative and policy research.
EUI’s interdisciplinary comparative approach is a natural fit for Warren. Among her areas of expertise are comparative law, comparative constitutional systems, public international law, post-conflict justice, international human rights law, civil code systems and Islamic law. She is also a graduate of the Harvard Mediation Program.
Warren has designed, implemented, and evaluated constitutional, judicial, legal, and academic programs throughout Africa, Central and East Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean, Central and Eastern Europe, the Middle East, Russia and the Newly Independent States, the Balkans and East Timor. She was named a 1998-99 Supreme Court fellow at the Supreme Court of the United States and served as the 2010-11 senior expert in constitutional issues on the United Nations Department of Political Affairs Mediation Support Unit Standby Team.
She has also served as senior technical advisor to the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance’s Constitution Building Processes Program at the Hague and has advised on constitutional issues and processes in Haiti, Iraq, Kosovo, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Somalia, Sudan and Ukraine and served as a legal advisor to the Darfur Peace Talks. Last spring, she chaired the academic accreditation committee assessing the first law school in Saudi Arabia considered for full accreditation.
Over the course of her fellowship, Warren plans to engage with the Venice Commission, the European Court of Justice, the University of Helsinki Conflict Management Institute and the Department of Peace and Conflict Research at Uppsala University.
She expects that these relationships will benefit her students in the classroom and strengthen collaborative relationships between the Center for Comparative Legal Studies and Post-Conflict Peacebuilding and European institutions.
“This fellowship is a tremendous honor,” Warren said. “Unfortunately, there is no shortage of conflict in our world, and I am grateful to have the opportunity to delve deeply into studying root causes of conflict and ways that constitutional and legal frameworks can help solve them.”