Atapattu Is GLSI Associate Director

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AtapattuBy Dennis Chaptman, UW-Madison University Communications

Legal scholar and attorney Sumudu Atapattu has been named Associate Director of the Global Legal Studies Initiative (GLSI), a joint program of the University of Wisconsin Law School and UW-Madison Division of International Studies.

Professor Heinz Klug, Director of the GLSI, comments, “The Law School and the GLSI are truly excited to have Sumudu Atapattu join us. Ms. Atapattu is an extremely accomplished legal academic and human rights lawyer from Sri Lanka. While we had many highly qualified applicants, no one could compete with the combination of international and academic experience Ms. Atapattu brings to the position. Not only does she have extensive research and administrative experience, but she has already proven to be an excellent teacher who will help strengthen the international law curricula.”

Klug adds, “I am particularly delighted that we have the opportunity through Sumudu’s appointment to amplify the Global Legal Studies Initiative, which will now be engaged both in the expansion of campus-wide research into global and comparative legal issues and in the management and further development of our Study Abroad program. I feel confident that our faculty and students will benefit greatly from working closely with Ms. Atapattu.”

Sumudu Anopama Atapattu holds an LL.M. in Public International Law and a Ph.D. in International Environmental Law from the University of Cambridge, U.K., and is an Attorney-at-Law of the Supreme Court of Sri Lanka. She teaches Selected Problems in Environmental Law: International Environmental Law as a lecturer at the University of Wisconsin Law School, and previously was a visiting scholar at the Law School’s Institute for Legal Studies.

Atapattu is the author and editor of several publications on issues relating to Public International Law, Human Rights Law and International Environmental Law. Her book Emerging Principles of International Environmental Law will be published in Fall 2006 by Transnational Publishers, New York. Other publications include “Sustainable Development, Myth or Reality? A Survey of Sustainable Development under International Law and Sri Lankan Law,” 14 Georgetown International Environmental Law Review 265 (2001); “The Right to a Healthy Life or the Right to Die Polluted? The Emergence of a Right to a Healthy Environment under International Law,” 16 Tulane Environmental Law Journal 65 (2002); “The Public Health Impact of Global Environmental Problems and the Role of International Law,” American Journal of Law and Medicine (2004); “Sustainable Development and Terrorism: International Linkages and a Case Study of Sri Lanka,” 30 William & Mary Environmental Law and Policy Review (2006); as well as several book chapters.

Atapattu has received numerous awards and scholarships for academic excellence, including a Cambridge Commonwealth Trust scholarship and a Benefactor Studentship awarded by St. John’s College, Cambridge. In 2000 she was awarded a Senior Fulbright Scholarship and carried out research on “Environmental Rights and Human Rights” at the New York University Law School and the George Washington University Law School as a visiting scholar.

From August 1995 to January 2002, Atapattu was an Associate Professor at the Faculty of Law, University of Colombo, Sri Lanka, where she taught Environmental Law and Public International Law and was instrumental in introducing a course on environmental law to the law school curriculum. She also taught International Organizations for the LL.M. Degree and the Public International Law component of the M.A. in International Relations course, both at the University of Colombo, Sri Lanka.

Atapattu has also worked as a Senior Consultant to the Law & Society Trust, a human rights non-governmental organization in Colombo, Sri Lanka. She was the editor of Sri Lanka: State of Human Rights 2002, and the consultant editor of Sri Lanka: State of Human Rights 2003, an annual publication on the human rights situation in Sri Lanka. In 2003 she was appointed the Lead Counsel for Human Rights and Poverty Eradication of the Center for International Sustainable Development Law based in Montreal, Canada.

Atapattu has worked on several projects as an independent consultant, and in 2001 she served on a panel of experts on liability and compensation issues for the World Health Organization’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control. She served as consultant editor of Infrastructure Development in Sri Lanka: Regulation, Policy and Finance (Euromoney Publications, Jersey: 1997), and is a member of the Advisory Board of the McGill International Journal of Sustainable Development Law and Policy.

For more information on the Global Legal Studies Initiative, see .