Globalization and Comparative Family Law: A Discussion of Pluralism, Universality, and Markets

Article excerpt

FOREWORD

January 2003

Welcome to this special symposium Issue on Globalization and Comparative Family Law: A Discussion of Pluralism, Universality and Markets, which is being published as one section in a double Issue of the Albany Law Review. In this Issue, a stellar group of contributors (1) offer a rich combination of theoretical, practical, and above all illuminating and challenging insights about the international gender equality project. They explore the relationship and structural interaction of domestic and international legal norms and policies, with culture, religion, markets, and families. The papers in this Issue are based on the revised and extended presentations at the first Robert H. Jackson International and Comparative Law Program symposium at Albany Law School.

The International and Comparative Law Program of Albany Law School is named for Robert H. Jackson, Chief Prosecutor for the United States

at the Nuremberg War Crimes Trials. Albany Law School is deeply honored to count Justice Jackson (Class of 1912) as one if its alumni. His contribution at Nuremberg was instrumental in shaping the law of individual responsibility for war crimes and for crimes against humanity. Justice Jackson's legacy continues into the 21st century as a direct influence on the creation of the International Criminal Court.

This symposium was organized to honor Professor Katheryn D. Katz who has been a powerful and effective advocate for the advancement of the rights of women, children, and families throughout her three-decade career in education and in the profession of law. She became one of the first women to join the Albany Law School faculty in 1975. In 1995, she was the recipient of the Law School's prestigious Kate Stoneman Award, honoring those in the legal profession "actively seeking change and expanding opportunities for women." Indeed, early in her career, she built a reputation as a lawyer who worked for reform, particularly in the areas of social services, housing, education, and family law. She continues an active professional commitment to the examination of women's issues and to actively research and write authoritatively on the changing boundaries of family law. Some of her most recent work on the clonal child, grandparents visitation rights, and commentaries on recent cases pushing the boundaries of traditional heterosexual families into the arena of single mothers, roommates, unmarried heterosexual couples, and gay and lesbian couples, among others, are at the cutting edge of family law.

The symposium was also organized to coincide with the visit to Albany Law School of another remarkable woman--Justice Yvonne Mokgoro of the South African Constitutional Court. She joined us as the 2003 Kate Stoneman Professor of Law and Democracy. Justice Mokgoro, the only African woman sitting on South Africa's highest court, was educated in apartheid South Africa. Justice Mokgoro inspired Albany Law School faculty and students with her insightful lectures on the emerging constitutional jurisprudence in South Africa and the practical challenges of realizing a democratic future there. Her lifetime commitment to the cause of equality for the most disenfranchised and her humility won the admiration of all that met her. Justice Mokgoro's luncheon address, which is published in this Issue, (2) was one of many highlights of the conference. John J. Hayes, who co-founded the all-black high school (3) in apartheid South Africa which Justice Mokgoro attended and where John taught, attended the conference upon hearing that Justice Mokgoro would be giving the luncheon address. His surprise attendance to see his once young South African student deliver the luncheon address was an emotional reunion--a moment that brought into sharp focus the struggle of two people, a black woman and a white man, to overcome the barriers of a racist, sexist, and segregated society--some of the very themes around which the symposium was organized. …