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The Role of Learned Societies in the Development of International and European Law in Switzerland (Andreas R. Ziegler)

The understanding of international law is, to a large extent, depending on its dissemination through experts. It is traditionally done in law schools and courses in international relations and diplomacy. Increasingly, domestic politics and law are impregnated by this subject. As a result, a large group of individuals can be interested in international law. The existence of learned societies plays traditionally an important role, although, in Switzerland, their role remains somewhat minor despite of the long tradition of the Swiss Society of International Law (SSDI, established in 1914) and the Swiss Branch of the International Law Association (ILA, established in 1929). While they should not have a monopoly for the promotion of the understanding of international law, new strategies to make them achieve their goals may be wanted. Besides publishing journals of yearbooks and the organization of events, communicating with larger groups of the population, through accessible means of communication (like social media), seems necessary. These problems are not new as this short history of the institutional developments in Switzerland - but most likely applicable to other regions - demonstrates.