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The idea of an organization to serve the needs of students interested in international law arose shortly after the first Jessup Competition. In 1962, students from a number of campuses founded the Association of Student International Law Societies (ASILS). The Association evolved over the years and, in 1987, reconstituted itself as the International Law Students Association (ILSA). In response to its rapid expansion and development, ILSA incorporated in May 1994.

ILSA’s mission is to promote awareness, study, and understanding of international law and related issues; to encourage communication and cooperation among law students and lawyers internationally; to promote social responsibility in the field of law; to increase opportunities to learn about other cultures and legal systems worldwide; and to publicize career opportunities in international law.

The organization’s activities include academic conferences, publications, the global coordination of student organizations, and the administration of the Philip C. Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition.

ILSA also serves as an umbrella and support organization for student chapters devoted to the study and promotion of international law. ILSA chapters exist as independent entities and as members of the larger Association. ILSA’s structure grants autonomy to its chapters to meet their unique needs locally while making available to them an international network of academic and organizational resources. Individual membership in ILSA is also available to anyone (students, attorneys, non-lawyers) with an interest in international law and international legal education.