Wednesday, October 28, 2015


Professor Koh Receives Award from CKA

Harold Hongju Koh, Sterling Professor of International Law, received the inaugural Public Servant Award from the Council of Korean Americans (CKA). The honor was presented at the national organization’s gala on October 23, 2015, in Washington, D.C., which featured remarks by World Bank President Jim Yong Kim and greetings from U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon.  Other honorees included entrepreneur Thai Lee and philanthropist Mike Hong.

Professor Koh is one of the country’s leading experts in public and private international law, national security law, and human rights. He first began teaching at Yale Law School in 1985 and served as its fifteenth Dean from 2004 until 2009. During his career, he has spent a decade in the United States government, and many more years doing pro bono human rights work, most prominently on behalf of Haitian and Cuban refugees.  From 2009 to 2013, he took leave as the Martin R. Flug ’55 Professor of International Law to join the State Department as Legal Adviser, service for which he received the Secretary of State's Distinguished Service Award. From 1993 to 2009, he was the Gerard C. & Bernice Latrobe Smith Professor of International Law at Yale Law School, and from 1998 to 2001, he served as U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor.

CKA designed its Public Servant Award to recognize individuals or groups who have made extraordinary contributions to American democracy, society at large, and the Korean American community; and who have consistently embodied the distinguishing marks of a true public servant: integrity, selflessness, sacrifice, and leadership.  Said Professor Koh, “As a rapidly growing group of new arrivals to this country, Korean-Americans bear a special obligation to render public service, without regard to the sector in which they work.  I am touched and honored to be recognized for public service, which I hope will inspire others to do the same.”