Charlotte Ku

Professor and Associate Dean for Global Programs

Charlotte Ku

"Where is international law when you need it is often what I am asked. My answer is that international law surely has a long way to go to solve many of the world’s problems, but it also has come a long way to make solutions possible."

Get to Know Charlotte Ku

What drew you to the law?
Growing up in British ruled Hong Kong, I wondered how different cultures and political systems could ever work or even co-exist together. This drew me to international law and an interest in international politics and cooperation.

What do you enjoy most about teaching?
I enjoy re-discovering concepts and structures with students as they question assumptions and applications. There is no received wisdom in the classroom. We learn together. It is rare that I do not learn something from the students. Of course, I hope that they learn from me as well.

What do you hope students gain from your courses?
An appreciation for the complexity of the world and the array of systems that try to maintain order and to facilitate productive global engagement.

What did you do prior to entering academia?
I was a legislative staffer in the U.S. Senate, worked for a community foundation, and served as a senior executive of an academic association. What unified these career choices was an interest in how public policy is shaped, implemented, and touches people’s lives.

What are you passionate about outside of the law?
I enjoy gardening, embroidery, and cooking for family and friends.

What are your research interests?
I am interested in how law operates as a social phenomenon not necessarily dependent on formal structures or institutions. I am particularly interested in understanding the structures and processes that facilitate the development and implementation of international law.

Expertise

  • International law and the U.S. legal and political system
  • International organizations

Courses

  • International Law
  • Transnational Law
  • International Organizations

Academic Experience

  • Professor of Law and Associate Dean
    Texas A&M University School of Law (Beginning Oct. 2015)
  • Professor of Law
    University of Illinois College of Law (2010-2015)
  • Assistant Dean
    University of Illinois College of Law (​2007-2015)
  • Acting Director
    Lauterpacht Centre for International Law
    University of Cambridge (2006-2007)
  • Executive Vice President and Executive Director
    American Society of International Law (1994-2006)
  • Visiting Professor
    SAIS Nanjing Center
    Johns Hopkins University (1988-1989)
  • Assistant Professor of Government and Foreign Affairs
    University of Virginia (1984-1988)

Education

  • Ph.D., Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University
  • M.A.L.D., Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University
  • M.A., Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University
  • B.A., School of International Service, American University

Awards / Honors

American Society of International Law Certificate of Merit for Democratic Accountability and the Use of Force in International Law, 2004.

Other Professional Activities

  • Past Chair, Board of Directors, Academic Council on the United Nations System
  • Past Secretary, Conference of Administrative Officers, American Council of Learned Societies
  • Past Member, Membership Review Committee, Association of American Law Schools
  • Member, Selection Committee, ASIL-ACUNS Summer Workshop on International Organizations (1991 to 2006)
    • Co-Director, Summer Workshop on International Organizations (Wilfrid Laurier University, July 2006)
    • Co-Director, Summer Workshop on International Organizations (University of Namibia, August 2001)
Memberships
  • American Society of International Law
  • Council on Foreign Relations
  • Institute for International and Strategic Studies
  • International Studies Association
  • Academic Council on the United Nations System