Our Team

Padideh Ala'i

Padideh Ala'i

Director, International and Comparative Legal Studies
Faculty Director, International Legal Studies Program (ILSP)
Director, Hubert Humphrey Fellowship Program
Director, Trade, Investment and Development Program

Padideh Ala’i is a Professor of Law at American University Washington College of Law (WCL). She specializes in international economic law, law of the World Trade Organization (WTO), and comparative legal traditions. She teaches international trade law and comparative law. Professor Alai’s scholarship has concentrated on the history of free trade, transparency obligations of the WTO and their implications on internal domestic transparency, universalizing the administrative state through the multilateral trading system, as well as good governance and evolution of international anti-corruption norms.

In August 2017, Professor Ala’i was appointed Director of International and Comparative Legal Studies and Faculty Director of the International Legal Studies Program (ILSP). In her new role, she promotes, represents, and coordinates the law school’s renowned international programs that have been consistently ranked among some of the most prestigious programs in the United States. Professor Ala’i is also the Director of the Humbert Humphrey Fellowship Program at WCL, a Fulbright program sponsored by the U.S. Department of State. The Program brings accomplished mid-career professionals from developing countries to the U.S for 10 months of non-degree study and professional development in the general field of law and human rights. In addition, since 2014, she has led the interdisciplinary Trade, Investment and Development Program (TID) that provides resources to students interested in linkage between trade and other disciplines such as intellectual property, environment, investment, labor and human rights.

Professor Ala’i received her J.D. from Harvard Law School in 1988.

Melanija Radnovic

Melanija Radnovic

Director, WCL Abroad and International Programs

Melanija Radnovic is the Director of WCL Abroad and International Programs and in this role she is responsible to identify and establish new partnerships for the law school, oversee all law school partnership and cooperative agreements, direct the international JD dual degree program and the semester exchange program, and to develop and carry out various tailored academic programs for international visitors. In addition, Melanija is focusing on providing global opportunities for JD students, and otherwise serves as the focal point for the internationally related activities of students, faculty, visitors and alumni. Melanija is director of the International Visiting Scholars and English for Lawyers Program, and is an adjunct professor who teaches ILSP Externship Class for LLM Students. She previously also taught Visiting Scholars Seminar. For over twelve years now,  she has represented WCL community in number of domestic and international conferences focused on international legal education, study abroad, career and professional development, student wellness, cross cultural communication and diversity, and collaborated with the US Department of State Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs on initiatives aimed to improve educational programs offered to international mid-career professionals  and professionals with disabilities. Melanija has worked as a municipal court associate judge; as independent attorney practiced in the areas of business, labor, family and property law; and cooperated with the CIEL and several other NGOs in the DC area on a number of legal research projects related to international environmental law issues, and issues of foreign investment and trade in developing countries. Melanija has a JD from University of Novi Sad Law School and an LL.M. from American University Washington College of Law with two specializations in International Business and Environmental Law.

Rachel Gordon

Rachel Gordon

Assistant Director, WCL Abroad

Rachel manages education abroad initiatives for JD students, primarily focusing on international dual degree, semester exchange, and summer abroad programs. She serves as the on-site administrator for the law school’s Summer Law Program in London, Brussels, and Geneva. In her role as a member of the Office of Global Opportunities (renamed WCL Abroad in 2017) since 2012, Rachel previously managed the International Visiting Scholars and Washington Seminar Programs for international visitors. Rachel developed the Global Legal Skills Initiative to help JD students navigate law school with the goal of practicing law in a global and/or international setting.

Along with her administrative duties, Rachel teaches legal research and writing to non-common law trained LL.M. students. She serves on the Board of Governors of the Washington Foreign Law Society where she was the Co-Chair of Programs during the 2016-17 term. In 2017, Rachel was selected as one of fifteen American higher education professionals to participate in the Fulbright International Education Administrators Seminar in Germany. Rachel has a JD from American University Washington College of Law, a BS from Cornell University, and a graduate certificate in TESOL from American University. Rachel is a member of the State Bar of Maryland.

Tra Pham

Tra Pham, PHD

Associate Director
International Legal Studies Program (ILSP)
International Academic Programs
(202) 274-4405, tpham@wcl.american.edu

Tra Pham is the Associate Director for the International Legal Studies Program (ILSP), which administers five in-residence LL.M. programs: LL.M. in International Legal Studies, LL.M. in International Business and Trade Law, LL.M. in International Arbitration and Business Law, LL.M. in Gender, International and Comparative Law, and LL.M. in International Human Rights and Humanitarian Law. In her role, Tra Pham provides strategic planning, enrollment management, and oversight of the scholarship budgets for these programs. She organizes and directs the day-to-day operations of these programs. She also provides academic advising, bar exam advising, and student support to LL.M. students.

Tra Pham also acts as the Associate Director for the Trade, Investment and Development program (TID), and oversees its academic activities and initiatives for customized/ executive training in the areas of trade and investment.  

Prior to her career in international legal education, Tra Pham practiced law in her home country, Vietnam. Her areas of expertise are international investment law and arbitration, international business law, and international trade law. She earned her law degree from Hanoi Law University (Vietnam), her LL.M.s from Heidelberg University (Germany) and AUWCL, and her Ph.D. from Leuven University (Belgium). She is admitted to practice law in the State of New York.

Bjorn Arp

bjorn arp

Assistant Director, International Program Curriculum Development
(202) 274-4346, arp@wcl.american.edu

Dr. Björn Arp is Assistant Director for International Program Curriculum Development. In this role, he helps developing new academic programs in various fields of international law. He also supports the Anti-Corruption Law Program, the Program in International Communications Regulation and Policy, and the Spanish for Lawyers Program.

Dr. Arp is also a Fellow and Adjunct Faculty at AUWCL's Center for International Commercial Arbitration. He is a renowned expert in international law, with particular expertise in Latin America. He is part of the List of Experts of the Independent Consultation and Investigation Mechanism of the Inter-American Development Bank, and of the FINRA (Financial Institutions National Regulatory Agency) list of arbitrators in the United States. Dr. Arp is an attorney admitted in the State of New York, and he is also admitted before the United States Court for International Trade.

Björn Arp has a Law Degree from the University of Alicante in Spain, a Doctorate in International Law from the University of Alcalá in Madrid, and a LL.M. in International Legal Studies from AUWCL. He is a member of the American Society of International Law and the Inter-American Federation of Lawyers.

Carri Connor

Carri Connor

Communications & Alumni Engagement Coordinator
(202) 274-4113, cconnor@wcl.american.edu

Carri Connor is the ICLS Communications & Alumni Engagement Coordinator for AUWCL. She is responsible for the communications and social media management for the International & Comparative Law Studies program, as well as domestic and international alumni engagement. Before joining AUWCL, Carri was the Programs Director for TASC, a DC-based nonprofit organization focused on U.S.-Turkey relations. Carri also has experience in the public sector; she interned for two years at the Maryland Office of the Secretary of State’s International Division in Annapolis, MD.

Carri is an alum of the University of Maryland, College Park and holds a Bachelor of Arts in Government & Politics, and minors in International Development & Conflict Management and History. Carri is also a member of several professional organizations, including Young Professionals in International Affairs (YPIA), and Protocol & Diplomacy International - Protocol Officers Association (PDI-POA). Carri is a Maryland native and currently lives in Bethesda, MD.

Paola Bedos

Paola Bedós

International Programs Coordinator
(202) 274-4317, bedos@wcl.american.edu

Paola Bedós is an International Programs Coordinator at American University Washington College of Law. In this capacity, she provides support to multiple WCL programs: International Visiting Scholars Program, the US –Brazil Program, Anti- Corruption Law, Hospitality and Tourism Law and the Program on International Communication, Regulation & Policy. She serves as the J-1 Visa Coordinator for all WCL programs that bring people to the law school on J-visas and coordinate short-term visits of foreign officials and students. Since she joined the WCL community in 2015, Paola has helped organize a number of successful events, while working part time with the Office of Grants and Programs, Humphrey Fellowship Programs, Trail Advocacy and the US – Brazil Program. Paola graduated from the University of Maryland School of Communication with honors. She was born in Lima, Perú, and is fluent in Spanish.

Emma Segalla

Emma Segalla  

International and Comparative Legal Studies Coordinator

Emma Segalla is the International and Comparative Legal Studies Coordinator at American University Washington College of Law. She serves as a general resource for all LL.M. Program students, provides support to the daily functions of the International Suite, and coordinates both the English for Lawyers Summer Program and the Spanish for Lawyers Program. She received her BA in Economics and Latin American and Caribbean Studies from Rollins College and her M.Ed. in Education Policy and Leadership from American University. Emma enjoyed working on campus as the Graduate Assistant in AU Abroad for the 2017-2018 academic year and as the Graduate Admissions Assistant at AUWCL from May 2018 through July 2019.  Before beginning her master’s program, she served in Peace Corps Nicaragua as an Entrepreneurship Educator and Small Business Advisor.

Deyaa Alrwishdi Photo

Deyaa alrwishdi

Director, The Syrian Initiative to Combat Sexual and Gender-Based Violence
(202) 274-4540, deyaa@wcl.american.edu  

Deyaa Alrwishdi is the Director of the Syrian Initiative to Combat Sexual and Gender-Based Violence at American University Washington College of Law. He has a decade of project management and legal development experience. Prior to the Syrian conflict, Mr. Alrwishdi served as the legal deputy at the Syrian Construction and Establishment Institute, where he provided leadership and direction for staff and ensured compliance with the institution’s policies. Following the Syrian uprising, Mr. Alrwishdi worked at the national and international levels to defend victims of human rights violations in Syria, including directly defending activists arrested at protests and documenting atrocities across Syria.  Mr. Alrwishdi is a leading voice in Syrian civil society. He founded the Free Syrian Lawyers Association and the Center for Rule of Law and Good Governance with the goal of amplifying the voices of Syrian civil society and working towards the transition to justice in post-conflict situations. Mr. Alrwishdi’s civil society and human rights accomplishments have been recognized on several occasions. He received the U.S. Department of State Leader for Democracy Fellowship, the Rubin International Human Rights Award from Stanford Law School,  the Alumni Fund Scholarship from WCL. He holds an LL.B. from Damascus University and an LL.M. from American University Washington College of Law. 

Rose Khouri Photo

Rose Khouri

Program Coordinator, The Syrian Initiative to Combat Sexual and Gender-Based Violence
(202) 274-4383, khouri@wcl.american.edu 

Rose Khouri is the Coordinator for the Syria Initiative to Combat Sexual and Gender-Based Violence at American University Washington College of Law (WCL). She lived in Lebanon for over six years, where she worked on several development and humanitarian projects with domestic non-profit organizations. From 2016 to 2018, Ms. Khouri worked as a communication officer at Tahaddi Association, a Lebanese NGO based in Beirut. Ms. Khouri is a native English speaker and is fluent in Arabic and French. She has a B.A. and an M.A. in Middle Eastern Studies from University of California, Santa Barbara and American University of Beirut, respectively.