|Dr. Amaya Amell|
“The Theory of International Law and Cultural Exchange on the Conquest of the Americas” presented at the 33rd Annual Romance Languages Conference at the University of Cincinnati addressed the evolution of the theory of international law and cultural exchange during the conquest of the Americas. I highlighted here a prominent scholar of the School of Salamanca that addressed this conflictive relationship extensively and was hailed by many as one of the primary founders of international law, Fray Francisco de Vitoria. I spoke about his (revolutionary at the time) ideas/readings and how these served to introduce the theory of an international community and how many of these theories can still be seen at work even today, for example in the United Nations and in the Constitution of the United States.
At the ALDEUU (Spanish Professionals in America) annual international conference in St. Augustine, Fla, I presented “Just War: From Saint Augustine to Francisco de Vitoria.” This paper questioned the presence of the fundamental principles of the theory of international law and just war, which have remained intact throughout its evolution. Have we not been able to learn from history’s lessons and are we still making the same mistakes with the same mentality that existed in the philosophical and political processes of antiquity and the sixteenth century? Has any further development of this theory been halted? Or are these fundamental principles so vital to the whole theory of law and war that they can never be replaced? I spoke here at length about St. Augustine's concept of just war and how many of the theories he set forth are still intact today, and in what way.