Wednesday, August 10, 2011


The United Nations International Law Fellowship Programme (ILFP) organized a 45 minutes presentation of the Audiovisual Library of International Law (AVL) for the participants of their six-week course in the Peace Palace. Representatives of The Hague Academy of International Law, the Dutch Carnegie Foundation and members of the Peace Palace Library Staff also were in the audience. The ancient reading room of the Peace Palace Library provided a perfect setting for this journey into international law. It is appropriate to say a few words about this “Audiovisual Library”.

In 1965 The General Assembly established the United Nations Programme of Assistance in the teaching, study, dissemination and wider appreciation of international law. A better knowledge and understanding of international law might contribute to international peace, justice, security and the rule of law. The Codification Division of the Office of Legal Affairs of the UN is responsible for the implementation of the Programme. The International Law Fellowship Programme (ILFP) and the AVL are among the activities of the programme.

The AVL was established (2008) as an innovative instrument for the promotion of the knowledge of international law. It also reflects the historic as well as modern development of international law within the United Nations and its importance for the contribution to a better and safer world.

The three components of the AVL , Historic Archives, Lecture Series and Research Library, are essential for the education of international lawyers, for deepening the knowledge of legal practitioners and specialists, and to provide an immense multidimensional source of information for researches in the field of international law. The availability of historic audiovisual material, excellent treatises of topics by leading experts, combined with the collection of the library section is quite unique. The AVL is freely accessible on the Internet.

After three years the success is evident. Innumerable people from all over the globe accessed the AVL, stressing the importance of the knowledge of international law for society.

In 1913 Andrew Carnegie donated one million dollar to build the Peace Palace with the explicit condition that it should have a library. He wanted a “temple of peace”, where lawyers could study international law, would come to a better understanding of the world and so would contribute to a peaceful society. The Peace Palace Library is now one of the largest international law libraries in the world, focusing, just as AVL, on building a multidimensional collection of paper and digital elements, accessible on the internet. The PPL Research Guides are new tools to facilitate research in specific fields of international law offering search possibilities through the PPL catalogue and the Internet.

The United Nations Audiovisual Library of International law and the Peace Palace Library share the same idea “to further peace through international law”

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