Introductory Remarks from the Editors-in-Chief

As Editors-in-Chief of the Harvard International Law Journal, we are delighted to formally launch our tribute in honor of Professor William Alford after stepping down from his role as Vice Dean for the Graduate Program and International Legal Studies at Harvard Law School following nearly 20 years in that role.

Because of Professor Alford, HLS has expanded its international and comparative law curriculum, brought leading scholars from across the globe to teach, concluded its first exchange programs with foreign universities, facilitated over a thousand students studying or working abroad, and further advanced its stellar LL.M. and S.J.D. programs while markedly strengthening the nation’s most substantial policy of need-blind admission and need-based financial aid for graduate students in law.  Professor Alford continues to chair the nation’s oldest program concerning law in East Asia and co-founded the HLS Project on Disability (HPOD) which has provided its pro bono services in more than 40 nations.

We have invited scholars, alumni, and friends from around the world to commemorate his legacy and impact.  Our website presentation includes tributes covering Professor Alford’s work with respect to international law, comparative law, advocacy work, East Asian law studies, disability issues, as well as his teaching and leadership more broadly, touching the lives of countless students and colleagues.  We are also previewing here a collection of print tributes that will be published in our winter issue of Volume 62.

We would like to express our thanks all those involved with putting together this tribute, in particular Siqi Zhao, our external outreach chair, who coordinated the tribute submissions and editorial process.  We also thank Mitchell Wellman, who served as primary editor of the print submissions, and the following ILJ editors who helped with the online submissions: Natalie Hills, Celia Reynolds, Carolina Rocha Richart, Lukas Roth, Mason Ji and Trinidad Alonso Quiros. We also could not have done it without support of Beier Lin and Tyler Kohring for their help with website design.

Finally, we would like to the opportunity to thank Professor Alford for his wise advice and patient support as our board advisor over these many years.  It truly has been a privilege to put this tribute together.

We hope you enjoy reading this tribute and if you would like to submit your own, please reach out to


Best wishes,

Roberta Mayerle and Steven Wang

A Note from Professor William P. Alford

Thank you so much Roberta, Steven, Siqi, Mitchell, Natalie, Celia, Carolina, Lukas, Mason, Trinidad, Beier, and Tyler for all the thought, kindness and hard work that went into conceiving of and carrying out this far too generous set of tributes.  I have to admit to feeling somewhat guilty that this undertaking absorbed too much of your time, especially since I already have gained so abundantly over the years from having had many of you and your colleagues as students. Having long ago been an editor of the Harvard International Law Journal and having the privilege of being one of its faculty advisors, I could not think of a more fitting forum in which to be recognized.

I firmly believe that much of whatever any of us achieve is owing in large measure to the support of others – be that intellectual, psychological, material and/or other support. Hence, it is deeply moving to see the tributes submitted for this issue – I feel that I am the one who should be acknowledging all that  the authors of these tributes have done.  As I mentioned to Roberta, Steven and Siqi, I am treating your entries as if they were a box of the most exquisite chocolates – consuming only a few per day so that I can savor them, use them to rekindle fond memories, and begin to compose appropriate thank you notes.

I feel extraordinarily privileged to have had such wonderful mentors, colleagues, classmates and students, and to have made great friendships around the world through my academic life, my pro bono work (most notably with Special Olympics and our Harvard Law School Project on Disability), and my family. What unites all these different people from so many different places is the opportunities they’ve give me to learn from them and about them, their generosity of spirit, and their great patience in the face of my goofy efforts at humor and my, no doubt, idiosyncratic approach to organizational matters.

Thank you so much!!


Print Tributes