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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.


United Nations and International Security

What is the role of the United Nations in maintaining minimum public order?

Is it capable of effective action in crisis, and how should it work with other multilateral structures such as NATO and regional groups? This course looks at the crisis in Kosovo, the Dayton process in Bosnia and recent wars in Africa, as well as the work of the United Nations on weapons of mass destruction and human rights law. Discussions will include the current reform process, the competition for power between the General Assembly and Security Council and the role of the secretary-general and International Court of Justice.


International Environmental Law: Crisis and Cooperation

This course explores international environmental law, including human health.

Students will examine international regimes on managing natural resources and controlling pollution—including the international institutions designed to promote cooperation and resolve disputes—and addresses reconciling the interests of developed and developing countries. The course will also focus on international watercourses, biodiversity and genetically modified organisms; global warming and the relation between trade/investment and environment; and human rights and the environment.

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

Attorney General Barr fires up the encryption debate.

Thomas Rid cited in The Washington Post The Cybersecurity 202, 7/24

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.

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).

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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Oct 24 12:30 pm - 2:00 pm Room 417, 1740 Massachusetts Avenue NW

The Right to a Home

SAIS Diversity Council & International Law Society invites you to:

 A discussion with the author of

Illegal Among Us, Martine Kalaw,

and human rights...

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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