American University Washington College of Law Announces Harold Koh, Professor and Former Legal Adviser to the State Department, as Commencement Speaker

DAY-OF-EVENT CONTACT: Franki Fitterer, (202) 321-6183 (cell).


Washington, D.C., April 26, 2013 - American University Washington College of Law will welcome Harold Hongju Koh, former legal adviser to the U.S. Department of State (2009-13) and Sterling professor of international law at Yale Law School, as the Spring 2013 commencement speaker. Read full commencement details.

The law school's commencement will be held May 19, 2013, at 1 p.m at American University's Bender Arena (4400 Massachusetts Ave., NW). Koh will be presented with an honorary doctor of laws.

View a live webcast of the commencement ceremony.

"We are honored to welcome Professor Harold Koh, one of the world’s leading thinkers in the realm of the interplay between international and domestic law," said Claudio Grossman, dean, American University Washington College of Law. "His theory of the international legal process – how international law impacts, modifies and influences societies – has enhanced our understanding of the role of international law and provided valuable tools to promote and protect human rights, security, and the environment, just to mention some considerations. The actors in Professor Koh’s theory are not only states but also individuals, NGOs and international organizations, providing all of us with opportunities and responsibilities."

Harold Koh is one of the country’s leading experts in public and private international law, national security law, and human rights. He first began teaching at Yale Law School in 1985 and served as dean from 2004 until 2009, when he took leave to join the U.S. State Department. From 1993 to 2009, he was the Gerard C. & Bernice Latrobe Smith Professor of International Law at Yale Law School, and from 1998 to 2001, he served as U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor. He has received 12 honorary degrees and more than 30 awards for his human rights work, including awards from Columbia Law School and the American Bar Association for his lifetime achievements in international law. He has authored or co-authored eight books, published more than 170 articles, testified before Congress, and litigated numerous cases involving international law issues. Koh holds a B.A. degree from Harvard College and B.A. and M.A. degrees from Oxford University, where he was a Marshall Scholar. He earned his J.D. from Harvard Law School, where he was Developments Editor of the Harvard Law Review. Full bio.

In the Spring 2013 graduating class, 474 students will be earning their Juris Doctor (JD), 94 graduating with a Master of Laws (LL.M.), and 2 with a Doctor of Juridical Science (SJD).

Media RSVP:

On-site registration and check-in will be at the Bender Arena loading dock. All media should be checked in 15 minutes prior to the start of the ceremony. Parking is available at the Asbury parking lot next to the arena. Downloadable map.

To RSVP and for additional media assistance for the May 19 ceremony, contact Megan Smith, (202) 274-4276.

Day-of-event contact is Franki Fitterer, (202) 274-4279 or (202) 321-6183 (cell).


About American University Washington College of Law

In 1896, American University Washington College of Law became the first law school in the country founded by women. More than 100 years since its founding, this law school community is grounded in the values of equality, diversity, and intellectual rigor. The law school's nationally and internationally recognized programs (in clinical legal education, trial advocacy, international law, and intellectual property to name a few) and dedicated faculty provide its 1700 JD, LL.M., and SJD students with the critical skills and values to have an immediate impact as students and as graduates, in Washington, DC and around the world. For more information, visit