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Issue 2

CAIL Lifetime Achievement Award Acceptance Speech by Judge Charles N. Brower

May 19, 2021

Chair of the Board of Trustees Harriet Miers; President T. L. Cubbage; Ambassador Jordan; other Trustees and Officers of the Center; and all of the magnificent Staff of the Center, not a single one of whom has ever disappointed me in the three decades and more that I have been active in this organization:

I choose to express the gratitude and humility with which I receive and accept this award in the elegant terms in which George Washington wrote to “The Hebrew Congregations in the Cities of Philadelphia, New York, Charleston, and Richmond” when replying to their letter of December 19, 1790, congratulating him on his election as President:

". . . [T]he repeated proofs which my follow-citizens have given of their attachment to me, and approbation of my doings, from the purest source of temporal felicity.

The affectionate expressions of your address again excite my gratitude and receive my warmest acknowledgements.

And as my exertions have hitherto been amply rewarded by the approbation of my follow-citizens, I shall endeavor to deserve a continuance of it by my future conduct."1George Washington, “To the Hebrew Congregations of Philadelphia, New York, Charleston, and Richmond,” Dec. 13, 1790, available at https://founders.archives.gov/documents/Washington/05-07-02-0036.1 

I would like to recite a few words that always have guided me to this moment and that I believe also must resonate with all of you.

The March 15, 1832, issue of Springfield, Illinois’s “Sangamo Journal” carried a notice by a barely 23-year-old Abraham Lincoln announcing his candidacy for the State Legislature, in which he wrote the following:

"Every man is said to have his peculiar ambition.  Whether it be true or not, I can say for one that I have no other so great as that of being truly esteemed of my fellow men, by rendering myself worth of their esteem."2Abraham Lincoln, First Political Announcement, Sangamo J., March 9, 1832, available at http://www.abrahamlincolnonline.org/lincoln/speeches/1832.htm.2 

The final word I leave with you is this.  On Valentine’s Day in 2011, I attended the noon service in the Anglican Cathedral in Christchurch, New Zealand.  When walking around inside the cathedral following the service, I spotted on an engraved plaque this verse from the Bible, the Book of Micah, Chapter 6, Verse 8, which summarizes why all of us in the law do what we do:

"And what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love mercy, and walk humbly with your God?"3Micah 12:19.3 

Amen and thank you again.


1George Washington, “To the Hebrew Congregations of Philadelphia, New York, Charleston, and Richmond,” Dec. 13, 1790, available at https://founders.archives.gov/documents/Washington/05-07-02-0036.
2Abraham Lincoln, First Political Announcement, Sangamo J., March 9, 1832, available at http://www.abrahamlincolnonline.org/lincoln/speeches/1832.htm.
3Micah 12:19.
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About the Contributor
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The Honorable Charles N Brower has been a Judge of the Iran-United States Claims Tribunal in The Hague since 1983 and has served as Judge Ad Hoc of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights. He has been Acting Legal Adviser for the US Department of State, Deputy Special Counsellor to the President of the US, and a member of the US Secretary of State’s Advisory Committee on Public International Law, of the Register of Experts of the United Nations Compensation Commission and the Panels of Arbitrators and Conciliators of the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes. He is a past President of the ASIL and Chair of the Advisory Board of the ITA. He is a former partner and Special Counsel at White & Case LLP in both New York City and Washington, D.C., where he handled litigation in federal and state courts throughout the U.S., including jury trials, bench trials, and appeals, in a wide range of civil, administrative, and criminal proceedings, while specializing during the last 30 years in the handling of disputes involving States or State entities before international courts, tribunals and commissions. He is also a member of 20 Essex Street Chambers in London. In 2009 Judge Brower was awarded the American Society of International Law’s Manley O. Hudson Medal for “pre-eminent scholarship and achievement in international law ... without regard to nationality,” and in 2010 received the Stefan A. Riesenfeld Award of the University of California Berkeley School of Law (Boalt Hall) in recognition of “outstanding achievements and contributions in the field of international law.” He is a past President of the American Society of International Law (1996-1998), and a past Chairman of the Institute for Transnational Arbitration (1994-2000), which bestowed on him its “Pat Murphy Award” in 2013. In 2015, he became the fourth recipient of the Global Arbitration Review’s Lifetime Achievement Award.