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Anja Matwijkiw achieves highest honor in field


Professor of Ethics and Human Rights enjoys three publications with Oxford University Press over three years

Monday Jun 29, 2015


Anja Matwijkiw, Ph.D., Professor of Ethics and Human Rights at Indiana University Northwest, enjoys the prestigious honor of being published by the Oxford University Press, not once, but three times over the course of three years. This achievement is one of the highest honors that an academician can achieve in the field.

Over her career, Matwijkiw has published a total of 37 articles, book chapters and commentaries. But nothing compares to appearing in The Global Community Yearbook of International Law and Jurisprudence, “an authoritative source on global legal issues and international jurisprudence.”

All three Oxford articles were written in collaboration with her brother, Bronik Matwijkiw, philosophy lecturer at Southeast Missouri State University. The siblings, dubbed “philosophical super siblings” in an expression borrowed from colleagues, grew up in Copenhagen as the children of an internationally prominent artist (Edward Matwijkiw) and a mother who heavily advocated studies in philosophy.

“Nobody was surprised when I entertained everybody about ‘The Art of Thinking,’ ” Matwijkiw said. “Such synergies were all around us.”

The siblings both acquired the highest research degree in philosophy (Konferens) from Copenhagen University, Denmark, and, when the Ph.D. degree became the standard research degree in European Union countries, they both went on to get the Ph.D. in philosophy.

Anja and Bronik Matwijkiw secured a postdoctoral opportunity at the University of Chicago to collaborate on their first joint article, and “the rest is history,” as they say.

The latest article, ”February 14, 2014: The Precarious Diplomacy of Responsibility-Ascriptions. Values and Philosophical Aspects of Interpretation,” explores the civil unrest in Bahrain in 2011. February 14, 2014, marked the three-year anniversary of the mass demonstrations that ended in violence.

“Our task was to look at the reality of post-conflict resolution,” Matwijkiw said. “In particular, we asked questions about violations of international human rights norms and the criteria for accountability. This took us to an investigation of the very complex relationship between law, ethics, and politics. In the case of Bahrain, this necessitates an analysis of the role that religion plays.”

Matwijkiw said that whenever you mix law, ethics, politics and religion, it can quickly become controversial, of course. However, The Global Community Yearbook of International Law and Jurisprudence welcomed the project.

International law is one of the most dynamic areas or branches of law, and the Oxford yearbook is specifically geared toward the task of “facing emerging global law.” For Matwijkiw and her brother, this shows the cutting-edge research profile that The Global Community Yearbook of International Law and Jurisprudence expects from experts.

The Oxford publication is a global yearbook that encompasses the jurisprudence of U.N.-based tribunals and regional courts, court opinions, international relations, resolutions and policy-making, and expert discussions on a variety of contemporary issues ranging from terrorism to the global governance of energy and to the philosophically oriented analyses of law at the national and international levels.

Prior to the article on Bahrain, the siblings published two other articles.

In 2013, they presented their key thoughts concerning philosophy and global law in the context of the so-called Integrative Approach in their essay, “Post-Conflict Justice: Legal Doctrine, General Jurisprudence, and Stakeholder Frameworks,” which was published in Global Trends: Law, Policy & Justice: Essays in Honour of Professor Giuliana Ziccardi Capaldo.

Anja and Bronik Matwijkiw described this work as “a type of progressive legal doctrine that is designed to denationalize law-making and law-enforcement efforts so as to globalize those values or stakes that affect all nation-states, such as (the antidote to) political tyranny and structural violence.”

Their third piece of cutting-edge research published by Oxford University Press and The Global Community Yearbook on International Law and Jurisprudence in 2013 was entitled, “From the Rhetoric of States to Strategic Effectiveness in the Globalization Effort: M. Cherif Bassiouni’s Statement at the Historic High-Level Meeting of the General Assembly on the Rule of Law at the National and International Levels.”

Matwijkiw said the main idea of the 2013 publication was to evaluate the United Nation’s 2012 Rule of Law Resolution in light of a statement that M. Cherif Bassiouni – often referred to as “the father of modern international criminal law” – made as a member of the International Civil Society.

“When we started the writing process, we did not know that we were going to launch a major push for ethics in law at the national and international levels, but that is actually what happened,” Anja and Bronik Matwijkiw concluded. “With our newest Oxford publication on Bahrain, we basically came full circle in the sense that this is a continuation of the effort to promote global and moral values in law at the national and international levels.”

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