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William Alford

  • Two men shaking hands

    When Nixon went to China

    February 17, 2022

    On the 50th anniversary of President Nixon's visit, China experts William Alford and Mark Wu discuss whether the president may be getting too much credit for his history-making journey.

  • Coffee cup with whipped cream and open book on a window sill.

    On the bookshelf

    November 30, 2021

    Here are some of the latest from HLS authors to add to your reading list over the holiday break.

  • Group of people sitting around an illustration of Earth.

    A kaleidoscope of views on globalization

    November 23, 2021

    At a Harvard Law School book talk and discussion on “Six Faces of Globalization: Who Wins, Who Loses and Why It Matters,” panelists discussed the authors' major narratives for and against the economic phenomenon.

  • A woman in a colorful scarf stands in front of a building on the Harvard Law School campus.

    Catherine Peshkin appointed assistant dean for Harvard Law School’s Graduate Program and International Legal Studies

    November 22, 2021

    Catherine Peshkin has been appointed assistant dean for the Harvard Law School Graduate Program and International Legal Studies.

  • A man in a blue shirt sits at a picnic table on the Harvard Law School campus.

    ‘What drew me to the Navy, was the ability to move all around the world.’

    November 2, 2021

    A 12-year Naval JAG career has taken Lt. Cmdr. Shawn Brennan LL.M. ’22 to Afghanistan, Japan and, most recently, the Pentagon.

  • Woman with short black hair with raised right hand and other hand on a bible held by a man

    Katherine Tai represents

    July 23, 2021

    In her new role as U.S. trade representative, Tai ’01 brings legal expertise, political savvy, and a deep commitment to American workers.

  • Woman with short gray hair wearing a navy blue sweater and purple shirt

    Jeanne Tai, who influenced the careers of a generation of lawyers around the globe, retires

    June 9, 2021

    Jeanne Tai, who as a senior administrator at the HLS Graduate Program and International Legal Studies has deeply influenced the careers of thousands of lawyers and legal academics around the world, will retire on June 15 after 24 years at Harvard Law School.

  • Sean Quirk and Seungyeon Lee

    ‘We’re both so thankful’ for Harvard Law School

    May 25, 2021

    Navy veteran Sean Quirk found a home for his interest in U.S.-China relations as a student at HLS — while one of its clinics supported his wife Sue's immigration process.

  • Book on Taiwan and human rights, co-edited by William Alford, wins American Society of International Law award

    May 5, 2021

    “Taiwan and International Human Rights: A Story of Transformation,” co-edited by Harvard Law School Professor William P. Alford ’77 was awarded the 2021 Certificate of Merit in a Specialized Area of International Law by the American Society of International Law In March.

  • Jung Hyun (Monica) Lee ’22

    The Chayes International Public Service Fellowship celebrates its first 20 years

    April 23, 2021

    Every summer since 2001, Chayes Fellows have worked with international organizations, governments, and NGOs around the world on issues of an international scope or relevant to countries in transition.

  • William Alford and Michael Ashley Stein

    Founders of Harvard Law School Project on Disability honored by the president of Ecuador

    March 18, 2021

    Visiting Professor Michael Ashley Stein ’88,  executive director of the Harvard Law School Project on Disability, and Professor William P. Alford ’77, who cofounded the project, known as HPOD, were awarded the National Order of Merit by the president of Ecuador on March 8, in recognition of their work on disability.

  • In

    Harvard International Law Journal honors Professor Alford

    February 4, 2021

    Scholars, alumni, and friends from around the world commemorate Alford’s legacy and impact.

  • ‘Nowhere to be found’: Harvard coalition says US must fight to free young Uighur

    January 4, 2021

    The US government must do more to demand China release a Uighur man who was jailed for 15 years after participating in a state department exchange program, a coalition of Harvard University schools and student groups has said. Ekpar Asat, a young entrepreneur from Xinjiang, disappeared in 2016 after returning from the US where he had been on the exchange program and visited his sister Rayhan, a Harvard law student. He had promised to come back to the US in a few months with their parents to watch her become Harvard’s first ever Uighur graduate...This week more than 70 student organisations from six Harvard schools signed an open letter urging the US state department to take stronger actionin advocating for an alumnus of its prestigious International Visitors Leadership Program (IVLP). Sondra Anton ‘22, director of activism at Harvard Law School’s Advocates for Human Rights, and a key organiser of the campaign, said while there was some initial pushback, support “snowballed” and came from dozens of groups, including associations for students from multiple ethnic and religious backgrounds. “It started a lot of conversations internally,” said Anton. “Are we going to be on the right side of history? Are we going to use our unique platforms to not just promote ourselves and our careers, but also others?” Professor William Alford, Director of East Asian Legal Studies at Harvard Law, said he found Asat’s case “disturbing … I think it laudable that students express themselves on matters of conscience.”

  • Mark Wu and William Alford

    Passing the baton

    August 21, 2020

    As William Alford completes his tenure, Mark Wu assumes vice deanship of the Graduate Program and International Legal Studies at HLS.

  • Professor Alford smiling in the audience before his talk

    After 18 years, Professor Alford completes his tenure as vice dean for the Graduate Program and ILS

    August 17, 2020

    After 18 years as its faculty director, Professor William P. Alford ’77 completed his tenure as vice dean for the Graduate Program and International Legal Studies at Harvard Law School on June 30.

  • Mark Wu

    A Q&A with Mark Wu on his appointment as vice dean for the Graduate Program and International Legal Studies

    August 16, 2020

    Mark Wu, the Henry L. Stimson Professor at Harvard Law School, was recently appointed the new vice dean for the Graduate Program and International Legal Studies. He replaces William Alford, who served in the role for the past 18 years. 

  • Sister Fights to Free Uighur Businessman Held in China After U.S. Trip

    May 11, 2020

    When Ekpar Asat saw his older sister for the last time one winter night in Manhattan, he promised her he would return to the United States in a few months with their parents to watch her graduate with a master’s degree from Harvard Law School — the first ethnic Uighur to do so. But three weeks after returning to China from that trip in 2016, when he was attending a prestigious State Department leadership training program, he disappeared into the shadows of a vast detention system in the country’s northwest. This winter, his sister, Rayhan Asat, heard that he had been sentenced to 15 years in prison on suspicion of inciting ethnic hatred...In early March, two months after finding out about his sentencing, she decided to speak publicly at Harvard Law School about his case and the crisis in Xinjiang. “I know from trying to help Rayhan Asat over the past four years that she is a person of real courage and integrity,” said William P. Alford, the vice dean and law professor who hosted the talk. “The case of her brother, arrested right after returning from the U.S. and largely shrouded by Chinese authorities, is tragic.” Ms. Asat said she was aware her family might suffer reprisals as a result of her speaking out. That has happened to other Uighurs abroad. But she said her brother’s ordeal had made her realize that no matter what she and her family do to conform as model citizens, the Chinese government sees Uighurs “forever as outsiders.”

  • Illustration of two rows of three people in suits, one person in the middle of the second row with a bowtie

    Faculty Books in Brief: Winter 2020

    January 7, 2020

    From conformity and the power of social influences to felony and the guilty mind in Medieval England

  • On the Bookshelf: HLS Library Book Talks, Spring 2018 2

    On the Bookshelf: HLS Authors

    December 11, 2019

    This fall, the Harvard Law School Library hosted a series of book talks by Harvard Law School authors on topics ranging from forgiveness in law, transparency in health and fidelity in constitutional practice.

  • Bob Beamon

    Sports, Law and Life: Olympic long jump record holder Bob Beamon visits HLS

    October 4, 2019

    In 1968, Bob Beamon leapt into the Olympic history books with a long jump that shattered the existing record by nearly two feet. Beamon brought the historic moment to life for a crowd gathered at Harvard Law School in September, where he joined a panel to discuss his work as a Special Olympics global ambassador.

  • Education of an Idealist

    September 25, 2019

    Ambassador Samantha Power ’99 expressed both skepticism and hope for the current state of international affairs during a panel discussion of her new memoir "The Education of an Idealist."

  • Three students

    Welcoming new students

    August 23, 2019

    On August 19, Harvard Law School’s Graduate Program officially welcomed the LL.M. Class of 2020 to campus, along with eight new S.J.D. candidates and 10 international students from six of the law school’s exchange partner schools.

  • Melissa Joy Reilly, Michelle Kwan, Bill Alford

    Celebrating Special Olympics

    April 10, 2019

    To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Special Olympics, HLS presented an inspiring conversation with Olympic medalist Michelle Kwan and Special Olympics medalist Melissa Joy Reilly.

  • Alford receives the Li Buyun Law Prize 2

    Alford receives the Li Buyun Law Prize

    March 5, 2019

    William P. Alford ’77, the Jerome A. and Joan L. Cohen Professor of East Asian Legal Studies at Harvard Law School, has received the Li Buyun Law Prize from the Shanghai Institute of Finance and Law, a leading Chinese academic society.

  • Mr. Xi, release these two Canadian citizens

    January 22, 2019

    Dear President Xi Jinping, We, the undersigned scholars, former diplomats and others with an interest in understanding China and building bridges, are deeply concerned about the recent detentions of Canadian citizens Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor. We request that you immediately release Mr. Kovrig and Mr. Spavor so that they may be reunited with their families. Many of us know Michael Kovrig through his work as a diplomat in Beijing and as the senior expert for Northeast Asia at the International Crisis Group, an organization whose mission is to “build a more peaceful world.” In both roles, Mr. Kovrig regularly and openly met with Chinese officials, researchers and scholars to better understand China’s positions on a range of important international issues. Michael Spavor has devoted his time to the task of building relationships between North Korea and China, Canada, the United States and elsewhere. ... ACADEMIC COMMUNITY Ako, Tomoko. Associate Professor, Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, The University of Tokyo; Alford, William P. Vice Dean, Graduate Program and International Legal Studies, and Director, East Asian Legal Studies Program, Harvard Law School; Almén, Oscar. Research Fellow, Department of Government, Uppsala University ...

  • In

    In “Learning from the Past to Appreciate the Present,” Alford draws from Confucius and contemporary China

    December 19, 2018

    Professor William Alford ’77 delivered a chair lecture on the occasion of his appointment as the inaugural Jerome A. and Joan L. Cohen Professor of East Asian Legal Studies at Harvard Law School.

  • Courts under political pressure

    A View from Europe: Courts under political pressure

    October 18, 2018

    Dieter Grimm LL.M. ’65, a noted scholar, academic and public intellectual, and former justice of the Federal Constitutional Court of Germany, returned to Harvard Law School on September 18 to speak on “Courts under Political Pressure.”

  • Alford receives the Li Buyun Law Prize 3

    HPOD marks the 50th Anniversary of the Special Olympics

    September 14, 2018

    On Sept. 17, the Harvard Law School Project on Disability (HPOD) will commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Special Olympics with Timothy Shriver, Special Olympics International Board Chairman.

  • Harvard Law School Welcomes the Class of 2021! 1

    Harvard Law School welcomes the Class of 2021!

    September 5, 2018

    For more than two centuries, thousands of students have been shaped by -- and have shaped -- a great tradition of rigorous legal reasoning and analysis at Harvard Law School. The Class of 2021 joined that long tradition last week as they gathered in Cambridge with their fellow classmates for J.D. Orientation.

  • Early Arrivals

    Early Arrivals

    August 24, 2018

    On Tuesday, Aug. 21, Harvard Law School’s Graduate Program officially welcomed the LL.M. Class of 2019 -- 188 students from 65 countries who will spend the upcoming academic year pursuing a Master of Laws degree -- along with six students set to begin their studies for the Doctor of Juridical Science (S.J.D.) degree.

  • Harvard’s S.J.D. community shares work in progress

    Harvard’s S.J.D. community shares work in progress

    July 19, 2018

    Members of Harvard Law School’s S.J.D. community gathered on campus for the 2018 S.J.D. Association Workshop, “Between Law and Justice: Ethics, Politics, and the State,” on May 17. The Doctor of Juridical Science (S.J.D.) is Harvard Law School’s most advanced law degree, designed principally for aspiring legal academics who wish to pursue sustained independent study, research, and writing.

  • Class Marshals hold HLS banner at Commencement

    Camera-ready: Harvard Law School Commencement 2018

    May 25, 2018

    On Thursday, May 25, the Harvard Law School Class of 2018 received their diplomas at a ceremony on Holmes Field, and celebrated their graduation with family, friends, and picture-perfect New England weather.

  • Strong, independent judiciaries critical to Africa’s development – Maraga

    March 26, 2018

    According to Justice Maraga, strong judiciaries acting as the custodian of constitutionalism were critical to Africa’s quest for sustainable development. In a keynote address he delivered at the 9th Annual African Development Conference at the Harvard Law School in Cambridge, Massachusetts, the head of Kenya’s Judiciary said bad laws were impeding development in Africa...During his stay in Harvard, Justice Maraga presented Harvard Law School’s Vice Dean, Prof William Alford, a copy of the 2016-2017 State the Judiciary and the Administration of Justice Report, which enumerates some of the achievements in the justice sector in Kenya as well as challenges faced. The backlog of cases is a key challenge identified in the report which at the time of its release in December last year stood at 533,350 cases.

  • HALB China Trek offers students perspectives on global leadership 1

    HALB China Trek offers students perspectives on global leadership

    September 21, 2017

    On Aug. 28, a student delegation from the Harvard Association of Law and Business (HALB) embarked on a week-long trip through Shanghai, Hangzhou, and Beijing, China, on the first-ever HALB China Trek, organized to expose students to the unique lessons from the rapid development of China's global economy.

  • Seeking Greater Global Power, China Looks to Robots and Microchips

    August 15, 2017

    In Chinese schools, students learn that the United States became a great nation partly by stealing technology from Britain. In the halls of government, officials speak of the need to inspire innovation by protecting inventions. In boardrooms, executives strategize about using infringement laws to fell foreign rivals. China is often portrayed as a land of fake gadgets and pirated software, where intellectual property like patents, trademarks and copyrights are routinely ignored. The reality is more complex...“There is an unmistakable national policy to boost the position of Chinese companies in cutting-edge areas,” said William P. Alford, a Harvard law professor and an expert on Chinese intellectual property laws.

  • Two advisory committees named

    August 15, 2017

    Harvard’s presidential search committee, comprising the 12 members of the University’s Corporation other than the president along with three members of the Board of Overseers, today announced the membership of the faculty and staff advisory committees for the search. The composition of a third advisory committee, consisting of students from across the University, will be announced later in the summer. The members of the faculty advisory committee are as follows...William Alford, Henry L. Stimson Professor of Law, vice dean for the Graduate Program and International Legal Studies, director of the East Asian Legal Studies program, and chair of the Harvard Law School Project on Disability (Harvard Law School).

  • Mark Wu, Ruth Okediji and panelists

    HLS hosts conference on law and development

    August 10, 2017

    Legal scholars from across the globe gathered at HLS in July for a two-day conference on law and development, the latest iteration of a series of conferences held periodically by a loose consortium of schools including Harvard Law School, the University of Geneva, Renmin University of China, and the University of Sydney, Australia.

  • Klemen Jaklic LL.M. '00 S.J.D. 11

    Klemen Jaklič elected Judge of the Constitutional Court of Slovenia

    May 11, 2017

    Klemen Jaklič LL.M. ’00 S.J.D. ’11 has been elected judge of the Constitutional Court of Slovenia by the Slovenian parliament after being nominated by the president of Slovenia earlier this spring. His nine-year term officially started on March 27.

  • Connecting beyond the classroom

    April 21, 2017

    More than 60 Harvard Law students and 27 HLS faculty members took over the typically quiet tables of the library reading room for the first “Notes and Comment” event.

  • Former Secretary of Navy Ray Mabus discusses law school and leadership

    March 21, 2017

    Former U.S. Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus ’75 returned to the Harvard Law School campus on Feb. 8 for a question-and-answer session moderated by HLS Professor William Alford ’77, vice dean for the Graduate Program and International Legal Studies.

  • Merrick Garland

    A Mensch on the Bench

    May 10, 2016

    A judicial temperament involves many qualities. For Merrick Garland, patience is one of them.

  • Cravath fellows travel globally to experience international and comparative law

    April 15, 2016

    Thirteen Harvard Law School students were selected as the 2016 Cravath International Fellows. The fellows traveled to 12 countries for winter term clinical placements or independent research with an international, transnational, or comparative law focus. Below, four of those students are highlighted.

  • Uniting in Diversity

    April 8, 2016

    President of the European Court of Justice Koen Lenaerts LL.M. ’78 keeps a photo engraving of Austin Hall in his home office in Leuven, Belgium. The image reminds him of the course he took from then HLS Professor Stephen Breyer ’64 (a 2L named John G. Roberts was also in the class), his LL.M. thesis with Duncan Kennedy, and hours spent perusing newspapers from around the world at Out of Town News in the Square. HLS is also now the alma mater of one of his six daughters.

  • Garland maintains deep ties to Harvard

    March 18, 2016

    At intensely competitive Harvard Law School, Merrick Garland was known for explaining complex topics to classmates. Later, as a member of Harvard’s Board of Overseers, he led an initiative to improve the quality of life in the college’s residential houses...“It was evident he was enormously intelligent, but he is also a very decent person, a very generous, kind, thoughtful person,” said Bill Alford, a Harvard Law School professor who attended the school with Garland. Both graduated in 1977.Garland still calls Alford when he wants to know about students who have applied to clerk for him, Alford said. Garland takes time to ask about students’ personalities, in addition to their analytical skills, he said....Charles Ogletree, a Harvard Law School professor, also knew Garland in law school. He recalled the two sharing meals in the dining hall and at each other’s homes and discussing Supreme Court decisions — but never the idea that Garland might one day sit on that bench. Ogletree said Garland likes to fish and draw, and although he loves his family, was never afraid to work tirelessly. “Even though people hate nominees by President Obama, I think that Merrick Garland is the kind of person who has all the qualifications one needs,” Ogletree said.

  • Merrick Garland

    President Obama nominates Merrick Garland ’77 to the U.S. Supreme Court

    March 16, 2016

    Merrick Garland ’77—President Obama’s pick for the Supreme Court—has been very much involved in the life of Harvard Law School since receiving his degree from HLS nearly four decades ago. Dean Martha Minow described as “an outstanding, meticulous, and thoughtful judge with a superb career of public service.”

  • Harvard Law School: 2015 in review

    December 17, 2015

    Supreme Court justices, performance art, student protests and a vice president. A look back at 2015, highlights of the people who visited, events that took place and everyday life at Harvard Law School.

  • Honored ‘ambassadors for Harvard Law School’ reflect on long friendship

    October 22, 2015

    The Harvard Law School Association presented its highest award this past spring to William P. Alford ’77 and Charles J. Ogletree ’78 —two of Harvard Law School's most distinguished professors, mentors to generations of jurists, advisers to senators, presidents and world leaders, and celebrated doers of good works—and longtime friends.