International law's archipelago is composed of legal "islands". which are highly organized, and "offshore" zones, manifesting a much lower degree of legal organization. Each requires a different mode of decisionmaking, each further complicated by the stress of radical change. This General Course is concerned, first, with understanding and assessing the aggregate performance of the world constitutive process, in present and projected constructs ; second, with providing the intellectual tools that can enable those involved in making decisions to be more effective, whether they are operating in islands or offshore; and, third, with inquiring into ways the international legal system might be improved. Reisman identifies the individual as the ultimate actor in international law and explores the dilemmas of meaningful individual commitment to a world order of human dignity amidst interlocking communales and overlapping loyalties.
W. Michael Reisman is the McDougal Professor of International Law at the Yale Law School and also Honorary Professor in the City University of Hong Kong. He is a member of the Institut de droit international, of the Board of Directors of the Foreign Policy Association and of the Advisory Committee on International Law of the US Department of State. He served formerly as President of the Inter-American Human Rights Commission and Editor-in-Chief of the American Journal of International Law.