Before becoming the official blog of the Netherlands School of Human Rights Research, the Invisible College Blog was the result of the joining of forces of two earlier weblogs:
- the 1948 Blog, started in January 2007 by Otto, Richard and Nicholas, which was preceded by the United Nations, Global Values and the Individual,
- and The Core, started in February 2006 by Nicki, Tobias and Björn.
Despite the somewhat similar backgrounds of the contributors – rather recent University graduates with an interest in things international – , both blogs probably differed somewhat in their approaches: The Core focused rather tightly on those areas of international law which directly affect individuals (i.e. human rights law, international humanitarian law and international criminal law) and mostly contained rather "lawyerly" posts, while 1948 took a much broader approach, focusing on international law, politics, economics, and philosophy and featuring somewhat more essayistic posts.
Why did we call the blog ‘Invisible College’?
By joining forces, we aimed to combine the strengths of both blogs and offer our readers a variety of insights and commentaries on new developments in the international arena. We also hoped that the blog could become more than just a site for comments and analyses: The blog’s title refers to a 1977 article by Oscar Schachter ("The Invisible College of International Lawyers", 72 Northwestern University Law Review (1977) 217-226), in which he speaks of the "professional community of international lawyers" forming an "invisible college dedicated to a common intellectual enterprise". While Schachter mostly concerns himself with international lawyers who are government officials and/or career academics, it seems that the "invisible college" he speaks of has grown substantially in the 30 years since then; it now includes undergraduate and graduate students, interns with various international organisations, University researchers, attorneys working in international practice areas, NGO lawyers and many more.
Objectives of the blog
We thus intended the blog to become not only an interesting read, but an actual community resource for this diverse group. We thus published not only commentaries on international developments, but also posts on Master and Doctoral programs, summer schools, job opportunities in the field, web resources for scientific research, etc. etc. We also hoped to engage our readers and to enable them to actively contribute to a dialogue on such questions.