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Washington Semester Program - International Law and Organizations

Students at the United Nations Office in Geneva

The Washington Semester in International Law and Organizations focuses upon the expanding role of law in governing relations among nations while an interdependent world turns to multinational organizations in the making of global policy.

This program will provide a broad overview of the ever-changing world of international law. Together, we will look at current international law crises and discuss possible solutions to those challenges. Throughout the semester, we will spend time learning about international institutions, such as the United Nations (UN), the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund (IMF), multinational entities, such as the European Union, and regional organizations, including the Organization of American States (OAS) and the African Union. We will discuss and examine other important topics in international law, including human rights law (e.g. human trafficking), terrorism, the use of force, international environmental law, and international criminal law. Finally, we will seek to understand how international law works in practice, while recognizing its limits and complexity.

International Law and Organizations students are also encouraged to take our travel elective course, “Global Human Rights”. This three-credit class will travel to Geneva, the Hague, and Brussels in mid-March and will enable you to meet with practitioners with international organizations, non-governmental organizations, and the European Union to learn about current human rights issues. For more information visit the travel electives page.

Student Reaction

"The International Law and Organizations Program was an excellent choice! I highly recommend this program to all students who enjoy learning about international law by actually visiting the organizations studied in class."
Kofi Mensah, University of Vermont

Past Speakers Include... 

  • Amb. Thomas R. Pickering
  • Pedro Nunez Mosquera, Cuban Ambassador to the U.N.
  • Justice Teresa Doherty, Special Court for Sierra Leone
  • John Conyers, Jr., Congressman
  • Gregory Stanton, President, Genocide Watch

Past Internship Sites

  • Brookings Institution
  • Embassy of Egypt
  • Greenpeace USA
  • Global AIDS Alliance
  • United States Institute of Peace

Past Seminar Topics

  • Failure of International Law: Genocide
  • Piracy Off the Coast of Somalia
  • Human Rights of Women and Children
  • Human Trafficking
  • Terrorism and Military Commissions