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. In this role, she is responsible for identifying and establishing new partnerships for the law school, overseeing all law school international partnership and cooperative agreements, directing the WCL Abroad dual degree programs and the semester exchange programs, and developing and carrying out various tailored academic programs for international visitors. In addition, Melanija focuses on advising JD students on career opportunities in international law and otherwise serves as the focal point for the internationally related activities of students, faculty, visitors, and alumni. Melanija directs the International Visiting Scholars and English for Lawyers Program and teaches ILSP Externship Class for LLM Students. She previously also taught Visiting Scholars Seminar. For over twelve years now, she represents the WCL community in several domestic and international conferences focused on international legal education, study abroad, career and professional development, student wellness, cross-cultural communication, and diversity. She has 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 an 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 the University of Novi Sad Law School and an LL.M. in International Business and Environmental Law from American University Washington College of 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.

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.

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. 

sarah kettl

sarah kettl

International & Comparative Legal Studies Coordinator
(202) 274-4110, skettl@wcl.american.edu  

Sarah Kettl is the International and Comparative Legal Studies Coordinator. In this role, she is responsible for answering student inquiries, organizing events, managing course registration, and providing overall administrative support. Prior to joining AUWCL, Sarah served as a consultant to the Federal Communication Commission’s Healthcare Connect Fund Program.

Sarah graduated from Miami University with a Bachelor of Arts in Strategic Communication and Global & Intercultural Studies, and a minor in General Business.