Alimni(ae) Awards

Dr. Ranjana Kaul on the Forbes Indian Legal Powerlist 2022


Dr. Ranjana Kaul was included in the Forbes Indian Legal Powerlist 2022.

Dr. Ranjana Kaul is Partner, Dua Associates, a leading law firm in New Delhi, India, with specialization in the international space law treaty regime. Dr Kaul advises on aspects of the treaties within the Indian policy, regulatory, procedural and institutional ecosystems, government as well as commercial space start- ups. companies , FDI, commercial contracts, IPR and transfer of technology contracts, commercial arbitration and litigation. She has been extensively published internationally and nationally related on the utilization of outer space.

Dr. Kaul is on the National Advisory Committee, Indian Space Association; Member, Board of Directors, International Institute of Space Law (IISL) , Paris; and is Secretary-General, Spaceport SARABHAI (S2), India’s first independent think tank dedicated to ‘outer space’. Dr. Kaul holds LLM from the Institute of Air & Space Law, Faculty of Law, McGill University, Canada; Bachelor’s in Law from the University of Delhi and a doctorate from the University of Pune, India.

Her time at the IASL

Everything about Montreal was unplanned, as was my decision to relocate to the city for three years because my husband Dr Sanat Kaul got posted as Representative of India at ICAO. I took a break from legal practice in New Delhi, with absolutely no idea what I might do for the next three years.

At chance meeting with the Honorable Joseph R Nuss, then Justice of the Quebec Court of Appeal, he encouraged me to study international air and space law (noticing that clearly I had no idea when he asked me about it) but also fixed a meeting with Professor Paul S Dempsey for the following day. I spent the better part of that meeting resisting signing up for LLM (on ground that I already had a Ph.d and did not need any more degrees) . Finally, as agreed, I joined the Certificate course, and ended up getting Sanat to also enroll with me!

That is how I found myself being taught the amazing new laws by the most the inspiring professors – Dr Michael Milde, Paul Dempsey, Ram S Jakhu, Don Bunker. In the end, after the certificate course ended, I expanded to also completing LLM. It is Professor Jakhu who mentored me and guided me along this ‘space’ journey. He emphasized that I must also focus on the Indian perspectives. In due course, I became a member of the International Institute of Space Law (IISL) Paris.

As it happened, encouraged by Professor Jakhu, my first engagement when I returned to India was the presentation on ‘National Space Legislation – A Blueprint for India’ at the Regional Space Conference on Bringing Benefits of Space to the Asia-Pacific Region, in June 2005 at Bangalore, jointly held by IISL-ISRO. I did not know that the presentation had opened a door for me.

In July 2005 when I joined as Partner, Dua Associates law offices, New Delhi, Mr C.R. Dua, the managing partner, gave me carte blanche to continue my interest in ‘ space’ matters. I tried to create awareness recognizing that just as Ram said, it is an important subject for India - writing, as invited speaker at restricted audience events and guest lecturer at law schools. A few years ago, I established a space law advisory at Dua Associates to guide our space startup companies and it is heartening that the India’s space start-up entrepreneurs are welcomed worldwide. Many more Indian students are now studying at IASL. Through it all, Professor Jakhu continues to mentor and guide me, always an email or call away. Without Montreal, encouragement by Justice Joseph R (who I never met again) and my first visit to meet Professor Paul Dempsey, none of this would have been possible. The years at the IASL brought an unanticipated seminal shift in my professional trajectory. It is not possible to find words to properly express exactly what the Institute continues to mean for me.


Ermanno Napolitano recipient of the Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship

The Institute of Air and Space Law is extremely proud to announce that IASL alumni and DCL candidate Mr. Ermanno Napolitano is the one of the recipients of the Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship, Canada’s most prestigious doctoral scholarship.

The Vanier Scholarship is named after the first francophone Governor General of Canada, Major-General Georges P. Vanier, and selectively awarded to highly qualified doctoral students. With funding originating in part from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC), the Vanier Scholarship is part of the Government of Canada’s ongoing initiative to identify and fund the research of the brightest doctoral students.

"Due to his kinetic nature, ambition to seek new opportunities and challenges, and ability to inspire other colleagues in his cohort, Mr. Napolitano is clearly an exceptional individual as well as a most promising young professional who manifestly deserves this prestigious recognition," IASL Director Professor Brian F. Havel said.

To be eligible, worthy candidates must first be nominated by a Canadian institution of higher education. Various indicators of excellence are factored into the evaluation process. As well as academic brilliance, the candidate’s research interests and originality, community involvement, and demonstration of leadership are also considered in awarding this extremely competitive scholarship. The scholarship is valued at $50,000 per year for three years.

Vanier Scholar Mr. Ermanno Napolitano (right) pictured here with his wife Lily-Cannelle Mathieu, and Mr. David Kuan-Wei Chen.
Vanier Scholar Mr. Ermanno Napolitano (right) pictured here with his wife Lily-Cannelle Mathieu, and Mr. David Kuan-Wei Chen.

“I am very humbled to be a Vanier Scholarship recipient”, Mr. Napolitano said. “I found tremendous support at the Faculty of Law and I would especially like to thank Mr. David Kuan-wei Chen, whose kindness and hard work is inspirational, Professor Ram Jakhu, Professor Richard Janda, the McGill Graduate Office, particularly Ms. Bourgeois and Professor Bjorklund, the Graphos Fellowship Writing Support team and my colleague Catherine”.

 Mr. Napolitano is in his second year as a doctoral candidate and his thesis is tentatively entitled Geoengineering: Establishing the Legal Conditions for its Legitimate Deployment. The thesis is conducted under the supervision of Professor Richard Janda, and aims to deepen the legal understanding of geoengineering, the deliberate large-scale manipulation of the Earth’s atmosphere in order to reduce global warming, and of the potential consequences of its deployment.

For his doctoral studies, Mr. Napolitano has already been awarded the prestigious Erin J. C. Arsenault Fellowship and the Graduate Research Enhancement and Travel (GREAT) Award. Further demonstrating the unique talents and excellence of this promising scholar, he was also offered a doctoral scholarship from the Fonds de recherche du Québec – Société et culture (FRQSC).

Originally from Sicily, Italy, Mr. Napolitano, who has been involved in volunteering activities since his teenage years, has a strong passion for social justice and environmental protection and in how law and policy can trigger social change and environmental awareness. He also has developed a particular interest for legal education as his recent article “Interdisciplinary Team Teaching in Space Legal Education” published in the Journal of Space Law testifies.

At our Institute, Mr. Napolitano wrote his master’s thesis under the supervision of Professor Dr. Ram Jakhu. The thesis focused on the legal challenges of the future of suborbital human space travel and the application of the two distinct regimes of air and space law to suborbital vehicles. The thesis considered legal issues that need to be addressed to facilitate the emergence and safe operation of the suborbital aerospace industry.

While a graduate student at the Institute of Air and Space Law, Mr. Napolitano was the only law student in Canada chosen and sponsored by the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) under its Student Participation Initiative to attend the 68th International Astronautical Congress (IAC) in Adelaide, Australia. Having participated as a subject-matter expert at various international high-level fora, including the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs, in 2019 he was a member of the select panel of rising professionals who addressed the 12th Annual McGill Conference on International Aviation Liability, Insurance & Finance. The IASL has been proud to support Mr. Napolitano and our many outstanding students in their endeavours and to give them the opportunity to demonstrate their professional and academic potential as the future leaders of the air and space law community.

“As a Vanier Scholarship recipient,” Mr. Napolitano said, “I will do my best to use the immense opportunities that have been offered to me to learn and grow, and to give back to society”.

Well done, Ermanno! You make us all very proud of your achievements.

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