New partnership among law school, University of Toronto to be launched at Canada-U.S. Law Institute conference

A nonprofit organization is being formed so the Great Lakes region can benefit from better bi-national collaboration on important economic and environmental issues.

Case Western Reserve University School of Law’s Canada-United States Law Institute (CUSLI) has partnered with University of Toronto School of Public Policy and Governance’s Mowat Centre to form the Council of the Great Lakes Region (CGLR), which will be publicly launched at the 2013 CUSLI conference Thursday, April 11, and Friday, April 12, at the Cleveland Museum of Art Atrium.

Conference panel topics include economic transformation and bi-national cooperation; water governance in the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence region; regional infrastructure for 21st century challenges, and shared energy resources and strategies.

There’s great value in a regional organization with a unified voice, according to CUSLI Managing Director David Kocan, also a visiting assistant professor at Case Western Reserve University School of Law.

”We need an entity to identify that voice, resonate it and help all of us come together to advance it,” Kocan said. “With the help of the Mowat Centre, we’re proud to be launching this new organization.”

CGLR is on the agenda Friday morning, and speakers will include Bob Taft, former Ohio governor; James Blanchard, former Michigan governor; David Miller, former Toronto mayor and U.S. Rep. Marcy Kaptur, whose district spans many of Ohio’s communities near the Lake Erie shore.

The CGLR will work to highlight and enhance the missions of existing regional organizations and support their projects, as needed. It will particularly assist partner organizations needing regional collaboration.

CGLR will be led by an independent board of directors and a small staff, with guidance from a larger advisory board. Working groups will take on specific projects. In 2013, CGLR identified several initiatives that require a regional approach. Early initiatives being considered are an economic-impact analysis of Great Lakes water levels on shipping, tourism, energy and related sectors; improving cross-border tourism and starting a cross-border Small Business Partnership Project.