Ken Yang
LL.M.’18; EALS, ’18-19

I was extremely fortunate to be mentored by Professor Alford during my time at the HLS Graduate Program (Class of 2018) and at East Asian Legal Studies. I can still recall our first encounter in late summer of 2017. When I introduced myself during the LL.M. orientation, as director of the Graduate Studies, Prof. Alford immediately connected my name to my profile while addressing my alma mater with its native Chinese name ‘Beida’ instead of its official English title, a detail that I truly appreciated. My research focuses on modern Chinese history and international law, and in the winter of 2017 I had asked Professor Alford for his supervision while I was at HLS. He has since acted as an important mentor. Adjusting to the academic life at HLS was not always easy, and for a period of time I had trouble navigating through this unfamiliar landscape, and coping with its challenges. Professor Alford was there for me, and his calming and reassuring presence always carried me forward. For that I will be forever grateful. 

Many of my lengthy conversations with Professor Alford took place in the meeting room at Austin 301, a room that was filled with volumes on East Asian law and memorabilia from all over Asia. I always took that meeting room as a testament to Professor Alford’s lifelong commitment to bridging legal communities on different sides of the Pacific. Both inside and outside his classroom, Professor Alford would strive to connect students of different national backgrounds to facilitate the exchange of experiences and ideas. At this time of unprecedented rupture and turbulence, the world could certainly benefit from the kindness and openness that Professor Alford has embodied.