The origins of this project can be found in a Ford Foundation funded project of the American Society of International Law (ASIL). Our intent in that project, administered by Charlotte Ku, the Society's Executive Director, was to try to influence the outcomes of world conferences through a series of issue papers and related media effects. Rebecca Cook, one of the contributors to this volume, also authored one of the Issue Papers on World Conferences. As a follow-up to that undertaking, I organized a panel at the 1997 Annual Meeting of the American Society of International Law, with Dr. Ku's enthusiastic support. Rebecca Cook, Thomas Yongo and Masumi Ono all delivered short papers on the panel, which focused on the implementation of decisions taken at UN-sponsored world conferences. Subsequent to that, I used world conferences as the focus for the student papers in my class on International Law and Organization in James Madison College of Michigan State University. For the class, Debbi Schaubman kindly agreed to put together a web page to assist my students in conducting their primary source research. (It has been vastly expanded and complemented by a chronology for this volume.) It quickly became obvious to me that we had the core of an important contribution to the study of international law and organization that also had implications for an important international public policy question. Should conferences like this be convened in the twenty-first century?
I approached Manfred Boemeke, Head of the United Nations Uni-