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Building on Strength - Part 3

International Law and Organizations

Of increasing importance in past decades are international organizations that address both political and economic disagreements that affect the world of nations. In the political arena, Columbia has had a long and distinguished history. It began with Professor Francis Lieber who, in the 1860s, helped codify the rules of war that became the bedrock for the later creation of international rules governing wars. In the 1890s, Professor John Bassett Moore, a distinguished U.S. diplomat, left the U.S. State Department to assume the first chair in international law created in the United States, the Law School's Hamilton Fish Professorship of International Law and Diplomacy. He also founded the American Journal of International Law. Faculty who have since served as editor-in-chief are Profs. Henkin, Schachter, and Lori Damrosch.


The Columbia Journal of Transnational Law is one of many Law School publications focusing on international law.

The Law School took a significant step in bolstering its public international law program with the hiring of Prof. Michael Doyle. He is the Harold Brown Professor of United States Foreign and Security Policy, a joint-appointment to the Law School and Columbia University's School of International and Public Affairs. Before coming to Columbia, Prof. Doyle taught politics and international affairs at Princeton, though before coming to Columbia he was on leave to work as UN Secretary General Kofi Annan's special advisor.

The focus of Prof. Doyle's work has been international peacekeeping missions. He has conducted scholarly assessments of missions to Cambodia, Croatia, Bosnia, and El Salvador. He has taught a course on peacemaking/peacekeeping, for which his book Peacemaking and Peacekeeping for the New Century is assigned as background reading. He has also taught a course called International Ethics and conducts a workshop on global governance with Professor José Alvarez.

Prof. Alvarez, who joined the faculty in 1999, is director of one of the Law School's newest centers, the Center on Global Legal Problems. Its objective is to examine the legal dimensions of globalization through interdisciplinary research and scholarship. The center supports conferences, joint programs with international organizations, and the Public International Law Speaker Series, which attracts outside speakers and Law School faculty to speak on timely topics. One series, titled Columbia Goes to War, focused on the U.S. war in Iraq. It featured Professor George Fletcher on "Criminal Accountability for War Crimes," Prof. Damrosch on "Democracies Turn to War," and Professor Richard Gardner on "The Legality of Pre-emptive Force." Other courses taught by faculty include Enforcing International Law, Jurisprudence of War, and Global Governance and Regulation, which covers both political and economic organizations, such as the World Trade Organization (WTO).


Albie Sachs, justice of the Constitutional Court of South Africa, speaks at Columbia Law School.