Neil Baumgart Lecture Address by Mr. Julian Aguon
The 2019 Pacific Circle Consortium Conference Memorial Lecture in memory of Emeritus Professor Neil Baumgart will be made by Mr. Julian Aguon.
Julian Aguon is a human rights lawyer breaking new ground at the intersection of international indigenous rights and environmental law. A native son of Guam, Julian founded his own law firm at the age of 28 to advocate for the myriad peoples of the Pacific region. His firm, Blue Ocean Law, works across multiple jurisdictions and develops innovative legal strategies to advance the self-determination struggles of native and non-self-governing peoples. Barred in Guam, Palau, and the Marshall Islands, Julian has provided counsel for governments, regional bodies, and civil society organizations. His projects have included working with the Marshall Islands to seek redress for the harms of nuclear testing, fighting to protect the land rights of the indigenous peoples of the Northern Mariana Islands, and providing lawmakers from small island states with legal and regulatory tools to better protect their natural resources.
Currently, Julian is working with the Pacific Network on Globalisation to ensure protection of indigenous rights as the emergent deep sea mining industry lays claims throughout Melanesia – in Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Tonga, and Vanuatu. In Guam, Julian serves as legal counsel to the Legislature and was appointed Special Assistant Attorney General to defend the decolonization process, specifically the right of the native inhabitants of Guam to freely choose their political status. Julian was named a “human rights hero” by the Petra Foundation for his work advancing the rights of his own and other Pacific peoples. Julian also lectures at the University of Guam and the William S. Richardson School of Law, where he teaches International Law and Pacific Island Legal Systems. He has published numerous books and law articles on a range of international law and human rights issues. Julian’s most recent article, published in the Harvard Environmental Law Review, identifies the potential social and environmental impacts of deep sea mining and advocates for a comprehensive and rights-protective regulatory regime.