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International Law and Organizations

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International Law and Organizations
1619 Massachusetts Ave. NW
Suite 420
Washington, DC 20036
+1 (202) 663-5982


Prepare for a career addressing issues such as human rights, rule of law, corporate social responsibility, post-conflict reconstruction, environmental cooperation, law of the sea, and negotiation of international trade. With an emphasis on problem-solving and policy development, the International Law and Organizations program examines how international law affects relationships between countries.

Become an Expert

Learn the fundamentals of treaty formation, interpretation, enforcement, and consequences of treaty breach. Participate in moot court competitions with top international teams to demonstrate mastery of legal proceedings. Join the program's human rights clinic to conduct field research with a professional client organization on a challenging problem of international law.


Featured Courses

Gain the framework to analyze international issues and disputes — including economic, political, and security issues — with an emphasis on problem solving and policy development.


Corporate Sustainability, Business, and Human Rights

This course examines the complexities of transnational and cross-political business practices and strengthen students’ ability to counsel corporate clients effectively in a transnational business environment.

Students will touch on the legal dimensions of international business and human rights, starting with postwar prosecutions of business leaders in the Nuremburg trials, and continuing through contemporary human rights challenges against corporations and corporate executives based upon their alleged complicity in human rights violations. The course will focus on the increasing importance of corporate social responsibility, the creation of shared value for business, and the crucial role of the financial sector, advocacy groups and the internet in rewarding (and penalizing) businesses that do not take human rights and sustainability into account. The class will cover a few sectors that pose specific challenges in the business environment, namely: extractive industries, internet privacy, human trafficking, and health.


Global Forced Migration: Human Rights and State Sovereignty

This course explores contemporary issues in refugee and migration policy through the competing lenses of international human rights and the state's construction of national interest.

Students will gain a better understanding of the role of displaced persons in state formation; the concepts of refugee, migrant, and internally displaced person; and the evolution of rules and institutions regarding forced migration. Through historical and contemporary case studies (e.g., Syria, SE Asia), the course will examine the relative success or failure of global, regional and national attempts to address forced migration. It will also look at how refugees and migrants have been both used and perceived as security threats (e.g. Kosovo, DRC), examine the risks facing the displaced today and in the future, and consider the implications of US and other nations' immigration policies for the growing migration challenge. Students will have the opportunity to participate in an international negotiation exercise seeking solutions to forced migration in the 21st century.


International Human Rights Clinic

Participate in a practicum designed to provide you with hands-on experience in legal mechanisms for the promotion and protection of internationally guaranteed human rights.

The Human Rights Clinic is a practicum designed to provide hands-on experience in legal mechanisms for the promotion and protection of internationally guaranteed human rights. The classroom portion of the course will seek to provide you with a solid grounding in human rights principles, treaties, enforcement procedures, and caselaw. The course culminates in a significant report on a case study that will be the principal focus of the entire academic year. Projects explore ways in which domestic legal systems internalize, implement, and enforce human rights norms, making them into legally enforceable obligations. You will research more developed systems, to analyze their successes and shortcomings, and will report based on your observation of the subject country, having researched its legal system and conducted interviews with government officials, lawyers, and individuals complaining of human rights violations. There will be an organized fact-finding mission to the subject country during Winter Break, with the report ready for publication by late spring.


Jessup Moot Court

This course will provide you with valuable skills and methods of legal research, analysis, and written oral advocacy.

The Philip C. Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition is the largest and most prestigious moot court in the world. Johns Hopkins SAIS is one of the only non-law schools in the United States to field a Jessup team. The Competition is based on a fictitious legal dispute between two fictitious countries, which is presented to the International Court of Justice. Teams are responsible for preparing written memorials (briefs) for both sides and on all issues in the case, and to represent both sides in oral pleadings before three-judge panels at the regional level. Through this course, you will gain valuable skills and methods of legal research, analysis, and written oral advocacy.

Learn From the Best

Study with world-class experts who are renowned for their scholarship, influence, and networks.

Ruth Wedgwood

Edward B. Burling Professor of International Law and Diplomacy

Justin Frosini

Adjunct Professor of Constitutional Law

Nina Gardner

Adjunct Lecturer in International Law

Steven Schneebaum

Practitioner-in-Residence, Interim Director of International Law and Organizations

In the News

The Brexit car crash: Using E.H. Carr’s “What is History?” to explain the result.

Justin Frosini and Mark Gilbert wrote for London School of Economics, 6/4

Earth Day at 50: A time to engage

Daniel Magraw wrote for National Council for Social Studies, 4/22

What does international law have to say about nuclear weapons?

Steven Schneebaum wrote for SAIS Review of International Affairs, 4/17

Blame and shame.

Arthur Appleton interviewed on Australian Broadcasting Company Radio, 3/9

Queen mate!

Justin Frosini wrote in EastWest Magazine, 11/29

Agencification of EU executive governance.

Adjunct Professor of Constitutional Law Justin Frosini wrote for The Academic Research Network, 5/15

Advance Your Career

Gain the intellectual framework and analytic skills necessary to enter a variety of roles across the public, private, multilateral, and nonprofit sectors.

Recent Internships

  • Foundation for Human Rights Initiatives in Uganda
  • Human Rights Watch
  • International Criminal Court
  • Hellenic Republic Ministry of Foreign Affairs
  • South African Reserve Bank
  • UN Human Rights Committee


Recent Employers

  • American Express
  • Control Risks
  • Dataminr
  • ENI
  • Eurasia Group
  • Refugees International
  • US Department of State
  • World Bank Group


Build Your Network

Join a diverse, accomplished, influential community of scholars, practitioners, alumni, and students working across sectors in 140 countries around the world.

Students win an award for their participation in a international law moot court competition.

A team of ILAW students advance to the international rounds of the 2020 Philip C. Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition.

Johns Hopkins SAIS students at International Criminal Court

ILAW students took part in program's study trip to the Hague trip which included a visit to International Development Law Organisation (IDLO), a session on International Humanitarian Law with Dutch Red Cross, and a briefing on international justice at International Criminal Court (ICC).

Johns Hopkins SAIS students in a forest during a study trip

Students in the program's Human Rights Clinic traveled to Peru to conduct research for their final report "They Protect the Forests. Who Protects Them? The Intersection of Conservation, Development, and Human Rights of Forest Defenders."

Developing a Global Perspective on Human Rights

"My first study trip was to Sarajevo in Bosnia and Herzegovina, where I met with representatives from international organizations and media outlets to learn about the war and post-conflict reconstruction."

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Studying International Law Outside the Classroom

"Through a visit to the International Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia in The Hague, I learned about the mechanisms available for prosecuting war criminals and discussed the critiques of various sentencing decisions."

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Check back soon for upcoming events.

Beyond the Classroom

Explore current issues in human rights and the rule of law through in-depth field work, internships, and connections to the international legal community.

International Human Rights Clinic

This application course uses case studies and field work for an up-close examination of a human rights challenge. Put your analytical skills into practice and develop policy solutions tailored to the lived experience of vulnerable groups.

Center for Constitutional Studies and Democratic Development

This partnership between the University of Bologna School of Law and the school's SAIS Europe campus conducts research and training in comparative constitutional law, focusing on countries undergoing a process of democratic transition. Our conferences, workshops, and study trips address civil society development and legal reform.

International Law Society

Building awareness for the value of international legal standards and for contemporary debates on the rule of law. Connect with classmates to navigate resources in the international legal community.

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Net Impact Club

Tap into our network to build your successful impact career. Meet alumni and professionals working for the greater good in impact investing, advocacy, development, and human service.

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