Dr. Nicolas Mateesco Matte of Romania Recipient of 2010 Edward Warner Award


MONTRÉAL, 28 September 2010 – The 39th Edward Warner Award, the highest honour in the world of civil aviation, was conferred by the Council of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) today on Dr. Nicolas Mateesco Matte, in recognition of his eminent contribution to the development, promotion and understanding of air and space law around the world.

The Award was presented by Roberto Kobeh González, President of the ICAO Council, on the opening day of the Organization’s triennial Assembly in Montréal. In his remarks, Mr. Kobeh emphasized Dr. Matte’s role as a driving force behind the development and prestige of the McGill University Institute of Air and Space Law.

“During his entire professorship, Dr. Matte contributed tirelessly to the growth and financial stability of the McGill Institute, laying the groundwork for what has become a centre of civil law excellence of worldwide reputation,” said Mr. Kobeh.

Dr. Matte’s long association with the Institute began in 1961 when he was appointed visiting professor. In 1975, he became its Director and founded the Annals of Air and Space Law, the Institute’s flagship publication.

In the preface to the first issue of the Annals, Dr. Matte outlined the mission of the publication as promoting the value of the confrontations of ideas about existing air and space legislation, suggestions on how to reconcile emerging law with new techniques and useful information about structural and doctrinal developments.

Mr. Kobeh remarked that “The sharing of information and views, sometimes provocative, remains to this day the most effective way to move forward in addressing the legal challenges that confront civil aviation and indeed our global society in this still early part of the 21st century.”

“At 97, Dr. Matte continues to work, travel and dispense his knowledge and experience with generosity and conviction. Just as he was teacher, advisor and mentor to all those who walked the halls of universities and institutions where he taught, he continues to play these roles in the tenth decade of his life to his many colleagues and former students,” Mr. Kobeh added.

Born in Romania in 1913, Dr. Matte obtained his first doctorate of law from the University of Bucharest in 1939. After World War II, he moved to Paris where he obtained a doctorate of international law from the Université de Paris. He moved to Canada in 1950, at a time when his writings in the field of air law had already made him a well known proponent of a new international legal order.

The prestigious national and international awards received by Dr. Matte include the Order of Canada, Chevalier de l’Ordre du Québec, Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and Chevalier de la Légion d’honneur of France. Dr. Matte took silk as a Queen’s Counsel in 1971.

In 1978, Dr. Matte received an award from the International Institute of Space Law of the International Astronautical Federation for his leadership and distinguished contribution to the law of outer space.

“This again shows how much a man of vision is Dr. Matte and how contemporary his ideas remain. One day soon, the world will need to create a legal and regulatory framework for commercial flights in sub-orbital space and no doubt that the writings of Dr. Matte will prove once again of immense benefit to deliberations in a forum like ICAO,” Mr. Kobeh concluded.

The Edward Warner Award is bestowed, in the form of a gold medal, on an individual or institution, in recognition of outstanding contributions to the safe and orderly development of civil air transport. Edward Warner (United States) was the first President of the Council of ICAO.

A specialized agency of the United Nations, ICAO was created in 1944 to promote the safe and orderly development of international civil aviation throughout the world. It sets standards and regulations necessary for aviation safety, security, efficiency and regularity, as well as for aviation environmental protection. The Organization serves as the forum for cooperation in all fields of civil aviation among its 190 Contracting States.


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