Harold Hongju Koh, newly designated as Sterling Professor of International Law, is a leading expert on public and private international law, national security law, and human rights.
Koh recently returned to Yale Law School after serving as the legal adviser to the U.S. Department of State since 2009.
A native of New Haven, Koh began teaching at Yale Law School in 1985 and served from 2004 until 2009 as its 15th dean. From 1998 to 2001, he served as U.S. assistant secretary of state for democracy, human rights and labor, and previously had served on the Secretary of State’s Advisory Committee on Public International Law.
Koh has argued before the U.S. Supreme Court, the International Court of Justice, and international arbitral tribunals and he has testified before Congress more than 20 times. He has been awarded 13 honorary doctorates and three law school medals and has received more than 30 awards for his human rights work. He is recipient of the 2005 Louis B. Sohn Award from the American Bar Association International Law Section and the 2003 Wolfgang Friedmann Award from Columbia Law School for his lifetime achievements in International Law.
Koh is author or co-author of eight books, including “Transnational Litigation in United States Courts,” “Foundations of International Law and Politics” (with O. Hathaway), “Transnational Legal Problems” (with H. Steiner and D. Vagts), “Transnational Business Problems” (with D. Vagts and W. Dodge), and “The National Security Constitution,” which won the American Political Science Association’s Richard Neustatdt Award in 1991 as the best book on the American presidency. He was also the editor of “The Justice Harry A. Blackmun Oral History Project (1994-1995).” Koh has published more than 150 articles on international human rights, international business transactions, national security and foreign affairs law, international trade, international organizations, international law and political science, and procedure.
A fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Philosophical Society, Koh is an honorary fellow of Magdalen College, Oxford, a former Overseer of Harvard University, and former member of the Council of the American Law Institute. He has held fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the Century Foundation.