2023–2024 Bhagwati Fellows Focus on International Trade Law

The annual fellowships, supported by the government of India, are named in honor of University Professor Jagdish Bhagwati, the economist and trade theorist, and support LL.M. students.

Achyuth Anil ’24 LL.M. and Ketty Getachew ’24 LL.M.

Achyuth Anil ’24 LL.M. and Ketty Getachew ’24 LL.M. spent their Bhagwati Fellowship year exploring new aspects of their specialty in international trade. Sponsored by the Indian government since 2010, the Jagdish Bhagwati Fellowship honors University Professor Jagdish Bhagwati, the influential trade theorist, and is open to all LL.M. students interested in international trade, trade law, public interest, and human rights. 

Read more about the 2023–2024 fellows below.
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Achyuth Anil ’24 LL.M.

For Achyuth Anil ’24 LL.M., trade law is the area of legal studies that makes sense of the world. 

“It’s structured and logical,” he says. “It underpins everything that goes on in the world, so you can attribute a reason to how and why things are the way they are.” What’s more, he says, trade is an ever-changing field. “That keeps it interesting and relevant as well.”

For his studies at Columbia Law, Anil was awarded a Jagdish Bhagwati Fellowship, achieving a goal he had set as an undergraduate at India’s National Law University, Jodhpur. “Those who do trade law know what the Bhagwati Fellowship is,” he says. “Since I was an undergrad, this is something I wanted to do.”

The first lawyer in his family, Anil is looking toward future work in government service or academia, although he is currently studying for the New York bar exam. Whichever route he takes, he says, trade law will continue to be a challenging field.

“Trade law morphs and adapts and changes based on the situation, geopolitical as well as other ways, and evolves. You have to always be on your toes to keep up with that. There’s always going to be a little bit of uncertainty. But to be very honest, I think it’s the most rewarding thing. Otherwise, I wouldn’t be doing it because you don’t know what’s going to be coming your way tomorrow.”

After obtaining his first degree in law in India, Anil worked for EY, a consulting firm, focusing on infrastructure project finance and public-private partnerships, then moved to the Centre for Trade and Investment Law, the organization advising the Indian government on trade and investment matters, where he was a researcher and negotiator. 

During his year at Columbia Law, Anil worked as a research assistant for Michael Gerrard, Andrew Sabin Professor of Professional Practice, and Stratos Pahis, visiting assistant professor of law, and interned at the Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment. In his coursework, he deepened his expertise in trade law but also studied energy regulation and environmental and social governance issues in business. “I wanted to deepen my knowledge in trade and investment law, but I also wanted to study how other areas of the law intersect with trade law and the impact they have on trade,” he says. 

It added up to a packed year in New York. “I don’t know where the time went,” he says, “but I think I utilized every second of it.”

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Ketty Getachew ’24 LL.M.

For Ketty Getachew ’24 LL.M., a Bhagwati Fellowship enabled her to achieve her goal of studying in New York, “the center of capital markets and international law.”

“The reason why I wanted to come to New York City and Columbia was the academic recognition, the renowned professors, and its location,” she says. “The financial aspect [of the fellowship] should not be underestimated because coming to the U.S. is a huge financial challenge. The Bhagwati Fellowship allowed me to come to New York City in the first place.”

Getachew earned her law degree and doctorate at Goethe University Frankfurt. A year abroad studying at the University of Leicester coincided with the 2016 Brexit vote in the United Kingdom, leading to her dissertation topic on the post-Brexit trade agreement with regard to subsidies and competition. So for her LL.M. studies, she wanted to explore a different perspective. 

“One of my main motivations to come here was to view international trade law through the lens of a U.S. law professor. And luckily, that’s exactly what I got.” In her international trade law class with Visiting Assistant Professor of Law Stratos Pahis, Getachew appreciated the focus on case studies as well as the interaction between professor and students. “That was the experience I was looking for,” she says. 

As an LL.M. student, Getachew participated in a United Nations externship, working as a legal adviser to Liechtenstein’s U.N. mission. She also worked on the Columbia Journal of European Law, conducted a research project about the potential U.N. treaty on crimes against humanity with Lecturer in Law Richard Dicker, founding director of Human Rights Watch’s International Justice Program, and took a research practicum on the International Court of Justice with Sarah H. Cleveland, Louis Henkin Professor of Human and Constitutional Rights. (Cleveland is currently on leave to serve as a judge on the court.) 

Now, after publishing her dissertation, Getachew will clerk at the Higher Regional Court Frankfurt and work at a law firm on antitrust and trade. 

Inspired by Professor Bhagwati’s belief that international trade can and should support human rights and protect the environment, Getachew structured her year at Columbia Law “to include trade law and international accountability both, and to hopefully shape how I view both fields in the future,” she says. “International trade can have a great impact on people and people’s lives, but it can also be a contributor to inequalities on a regional and global scale. This is why I find it important to integrate those social aspects into my studies and my future practice.” 

Her commitment to supporting human rights through trade also stems from her upbringing in an Ethiopian family in Germany. “Growing up, I experienced inequality and discrimination while at the same time having an immense amount of privilege to pursue higher education,” she says. “That's one reason why I'm drawn to understanding inequalities and harms against a group of people within everything I do.”