Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law


Louis Henkin

First Page



Here, today, I wish to speak with you about Jon Charney, his good life, and his remarkable achievements. On this occasion I am pleased to add that I knew Jon Charney "professionally" before he began on the road to eminence. I was "present at the creation," as Jon Charney took his first steps toward becoming a world authority on the international Law of the Sea, and an eminent, prominent, lawyer and scholar in international law generally.

Jonny was still a law student when he spent a summer as my research assistant, when both of us learned that there was an international Law of the Sea. We pooled our ignorance, but Jonny went on to become one of the very few scholars, practitioners, advocates, public servants on that subject in the United States--and beyond. And he did it largely from that less-than-obvious "sea-port"--Tennessee. (Perhaps, like some others, he began with a New Yorker's view of the map of the United States and of the world.) Surely, Jon Charney put the Vanderbilt Law School, and Nashville, Tennessee, at the forefront of U.S. commitment, expertise, and contribution to the growth and development of the international law and of U.S. policy on the sea.