Faculty Spotlight: Michael J. Glennon

In the second Faculty Spotlight post, Michael Glennon, professor of international law, describes the origins of his interest in international relations and how it has developed at Fletcher.  Prof. Glennon currently teaches The International Legal Order, Public International Law, and Foreign Relations and National Security Law.

Michael GlennonMy interest  in international law and relations was probably sparked long ago by the Vietnam War.  I interned for three summers for a member of Congress who was a leading critic of the war, and afterwards, arguments in law school about the scope of the presidential war power convinced me that this was an area in which I wanted to work.  Most of what I’ve done professionally has related in one way or another to seeking to understand how the use of force can be subjected to the rule of law.

I’ve found, at Fletcher, the ideal place to continue that study.  In the end, this question is not purely legal — it raises interdisciplinary issues that fall within the expertise of numerous Fletcher students and faculty colleagues.  Virtually all my written work has benefited from their advice and counsel — and in the case of students, from their research assistance.  Fletcher students make for a great sounding board.  An article I’ve just completed on national security law benefited hugely from comments conveyed over pizza by a group of students.  They were thorough, insightful, worldly-wise and candid — just the reality check that every author needs before committing to print.  Recent congressional testimony turned into an article co-authored jointly with my Fletcher research assistant.

When I first arrived at Fletcher ten years ago, a colleague pointed out that no matter what an instructor talks about in class, there’s almost always a student in the room who knows more about it.  I’ve found that it’s the rare class that doesn’t produce some insight that ultimately influences my own thinking.  It’s this synergy between faculty and students, striving together to understand, that energizes Fletcher’s intellectual community.  It’s enriching to be a part of it.

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