Teaching International Human Rights Law


As an undergraduate at the University of Toronto, Ryan Liss was still exploring what career path he wanted to pursue. But after settling on a major in Ethics, Society, and Law followed by humanitarian work addressing child rights in the Philippines, Liss’s vision for his future suddenly became clear.

“I saw the need for legal advocacy work to make sure that the most vulnerable had someone on their side,” said Liss of his time abroad. “That experience crystalized things for me.”

After graduating with his LL.M, Liss was awarded the prestigious Trudeau Scholarship to pursue his JSD at Yale Law School. He also served a six-month stint as a Robina Fellow working at the International Tribunals in The Hague.

Liss said coming to Yale challenged his perception of international law and confirmed his desire to find a way to work in academia, teaching international human rights law, while still being connected to social justice and public advocacy work.

“My ideal goal is to teach international law and still be engaged with international criminal tribunals,” Liss said. Having the opportunity to be a part of the Trudeau community is something he says brings immeasurable value to his education. “It’s a great opportunity to engage with other scholars and mentors who are bridging this gap between community service and academia,” said Liss.

With his sights set on teaching, Liss also hopes to one day have the same impact on future students as his professors have had on him.

“I look forward to having the opportunity to carry over that mentorship component to teaching,” said Liss, who plans to reside in Canada. “That’s where I want to be, and particularly after having been awarded the Trudeau Scholarship, it’s an opportunity to keep giving back to Canada.”