Two conferences hosted by York’s Global Strategy Lab will explore infectious disease outbreaks

Steven Hoffman
Steven Hoffman

This week, the Global Strategy Lab will be hosting two international conferences on global health law in South Africa that will shape the future of how countries will handle future infectious disease outbreaks.

The two events feature the collaborative efforts of York University Professor Steven Hoffman to bring together the top thinkers in global health law. Hoffman is the director of the Global Strategy Lab, a professor of global health, law and political science at York University. He is also is the scientific director of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research’s Institute of Population & Public Health.  

On April 8, the Global Health Law Conference, a public international law conference at the University of Cape Town, will bring together the world’s leading scholars in global health law to discuss current issues in the field. The conference will feature three panels: The first explores South Africa’s role in informing health and human rights. The second panel examines health, ethics and non-state actors, and the third panel considers global health security governance.  

The conference is being hosted by the University of Cape Town’s Faculty of Law, York University’s Global Strategy Lab, the University of Geneva’s Faculty of Law, the University of North Carolina’s Gillings School of Global Public Health, and the University of Toronto’s Dalla Lana School of Public Health. The Global Health Law Conference will be live-streamed from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. South Africa Standard Time, which is 2:30 to 10:30 a.m. Eastern Time). 

The proceedings will be livestreamed and retained on YouTube at

According to Steven Hoffman, the public Global Health Law Conference in Cape Town, showcases York University’s global reach and impact in global health law. Hoffman co-chaired the planning committee and will be delivering the opening remarks. He will also chair the last session.  

From April 9 to 11, there will be a Global Health Law Consensus Conference for public international law scholars who focus on global health. They will deliberate and develop consensus statements clarifying states’ legal obligations under two global health laws: Articles 43 and 44 of the International Health Regulations. Once achieved, the consensus would represent the most authoritative interpretation of these two global health laws. The consensus conference is a two-day event taking place in Stellenbosch, South Africa. It is being hosted by York University’s Global Strategy Lab, in partnership with Georgetown University’s O’Neill Institute and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. 

The invitation-only Global Health Law Consensus Conference was made possible in large part by York University’s convening power. Sixteen of the world’s 20 top global health law professors will be attending. The event is unique, says Hoffman, because it is applying consensus workshop methodology that is used in medicine to the field of international law in order to offer the most authoritative interpretation of what countries are legally allowed to do during pandemics. The outcome will shape the course of future infectious disease outbreaks.