Hiroko Yamamoto 
J.D.’18, Harvard Law School

Even before I met Professor Alford, fellow students had told me many wonderful things about him: how he was an incredible teacher who took interest in students’ intellectual curiosity and who worked to harness that curiosity into learning. What Professor Alford’s many impressive accomplishments may not necessarily capture – but something I am certain his former students will resoundingly echo – is what a great educator he is. This holds true in his classes and seminars, which I had the privilege of participating in and thoroughly enjoyed, but also in his advisory role to various International Legal Studies initiatives. 

Through my involvement in the Harvard International Law Journal and Harvard International Law Students Association, I had the privilege of witnessing this first hand. Professor Alford fostered our passion for international law and encouraged our growth by guiding us through both the conceptual and practical aspects of these activities. For example, Professor Alford advised us on significant international legal developments and helped situate the emerging legal issues in the broader historical context. I recall sitting together with him and my fellow students in Austin Hall and discussing various issues in international and comparative law.  We relished the chance to discuss these topics with him. And I remember how we bombarded him with questions, but how he had thought-provoking answers to each one that exposed us to the various nuances and the interesting questions still to be explored. When we had proposals for workshops or symposiums hosting international legal luminaries on campus, he welcomed our proposals and offered institutional support and counsel that was critical to the success of those programs.  

Despite the myriad responsibilities he had, Professor Alford was always willing to sit down with us to share his insights and engage with our questions. Professor Alford’s invaluable teaching, advice, and support were imperative in shaping my international legal studies at HLS and have had a permanent, positive impact in my growth in the field.  Thank you very much, Professor Alford, for all that you have done and all that you do.