The IISL General Assembly, for the first time, took place in a virtual setting and completed its business in a smooth and successful way. It drew an even larger participation than usual during the meetings held physically at IACs. While everybody expected that this year’s IISL 60th Anniversary would come with a lively party at IAC in Dubai, the opportunity to have an even wider cyber-participation was appreciated.
The IISL President, Kai-Uwe Schrogl, summarized this special year for IISL in the following way:
- All statutory meetings were held virtually.
- Uninterrupted information provision and communication was ensured via Website, Newsletter, and Social Media.
- IISL Board Elections were held as always online with results officially announced and communicated to the IISL membership at the General Assembly (Setsuko Aoki and Diane Howard are elected as Vice-Presidents, P.J. Blount is elected as Executive Secretary; Dennis Burnett is elected as Treasurer; and Frans von der Dunk, Olga Stelmakh-Drescher and Mahulena Hofmann are elected as Directors).
- New members, both full and perspective, were admitted to the IISL.
- Annual IISL Awards were presented (IISL Lifetime Achievement Award was given to Stephen Doyle, USA and José Monserrat Filho, Brazil; IISL Distinguished Service Award given to Mahulena Hofmann, Germany/Czech Republic; IISL Space Law Young Achiever’s Award given to Catherine Doldirina, Georgia; IISL Certificate of Gratitude given to Melissa de Zwart, Australia; H.Ph. Diederiks-Verschoor Award given to Tejas Bharadwaj, India).
- Proceedings 2019 were finalized and will be published soon. Preparation for the Proceedings 2020 already started.
- IISL showed a very good participation with presentations at the Cyber IAC2020 IISL Colloquium on the Law of Outer Space.
- Finals of the Manfred Lachs Space Law Moot Court were held virtually with the participation of three ICJ-Judges. A new Region ‘Latin America’ was added to the Competition starting next year.
- Symposium on Maintaining the Rule of Law in Outer Space in an Age of Rapid Innovation, jointly organized by IISL, Chinese Society of Astronautics (CSA), China Institute of Space Law (CISL) and Space Law Center of China National Space Administration, was held in hybrid format.
- Eilene Galloway Symposium on Critical Issues in Space Law will be held virtually mid-December.
The lessons-learned from COVID-19 for the management of the IISL will be discussed in detail at the spring meeting 2021 of the Board of Directors.
Sad news about the passing of two important members – Prof. Lubos Perek and Amb. Prof. Aldo Cocca – were communicated. Obituaries written by Board Members Mahulena Hofmann (for Prof. Lubos Perek) and Maureen Williams (for Amb. Prof. Aldo Cocca) are available on the IISL website.
President noted with appreciation that IISL did not only continue with current activities, but managed to even set up a number of new initiatives:
- A 60th Anniversary Booklet was prepared under the lead of Stephan Hobe. We hope it to be communicated to the membership electronically before Christmas season.
- IISL Space Law Knowledge Constellation project as a 21st century cyber alternative to traditional encyclopaedias was launched at the 60th Anniversary occasion lead by Olga Stelmakh-Drescher, enabled and supported by Laetitia Z and Scarlet Wagner. The Knowledge Constellation will be based on principles of inclusivity and equality, open for participation and contribution by all IISL members.
- New Membership Welcome package was developed and soon be introduced by Elena Morozova.
- IAA/IAF/IISL Trilateral Group on Space Traffic Management was launched. The IISL lead on this project is Diane Howard.
- A new website was conceptualised, developed and now launched by Laetitia Z and Scarlet Wagner.
- Many more activities were highlighted and presented in Committees’ reports.
With this in mind, the President with full confidence acknowledged that 2019 was a very special year with big ups and downs but it definitely showed a reinvigorated energy and vigorousness of the Institute.
The President wished all IISL Members and their families good health and all the best for year to come!