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Yale Law School Professor Harold Koh Visits STL

The Peking University School of Transnational Law (STL) community appeared captivated ​on Saturday afternoon, March 14, when a standing-room only crowd of over two hundred students and faculty packed the Moot Court room to hear Professor Harold Koh’s talk, U.S. Engagement Through the Respect for the Rule of Law and Use of “Smart Power.”  Professor Koh, one of the world’s leading scholars of public international law, is the Sterling Professor of International Law at Yale Law School. He previously served as Legal Advisor to the United States Department of State, as Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, and as Dean of the Yale Law School.

Professor Koh engaged the audience with insider stories about the Obama administration’s commitment to international engagement based on respect for the rule of law, as well as then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s commitment to the use of “smart power” – a term encompassing defense, diplomacy, development, human rights, and other elements that fall outside of military “hard power.” Professor Koh also talked about the importance of equipping China’s next generation of lawyers with an understanding of transnational law practice.  He said that STL graduates are uniquely prepared for the challenges of the global legal services marketplace because of STL’s innovative dual degree J.D./J.M. program of study.

Of note, Professor Koh has two important connections with STL.  One is Associate ​Professor Mark Feldman, who served as Chief of the NAFTA Arbitration Section of the State Department’s Office of Legal Advisor while Professor Koh was Legal Advisor.  The other is Vice Dean Stephen Yandle, with whom Professor Koh worked for many years while Dean Yandle was Associate Dean of the Yale Law School.