January 25, 2018

An Evolving Frontier in Foreign Affairs: The Intersection of International Business & Human Rights

Evelyn Mary Aswad
Professor of International Law, University of Oklahoma

Evelyn Mary Aswad is the Herman G. Kaiser Chair in International Law at the University of Oklahoma’s College of Law.  She is also the Director of its Center for International Business & Human Rights.  Professor Aswad serves on the Advisory Committee on International Law to the U.S. Department of State’s Office of the Legal Adviser, providing advice on a wide range of international human rights matters.   She also serves on a subcommittee of the Department’s Advisory Committee on International Economic Policy (ACIEP).  From 2013-2017, Professor Aswad served as the U.S. substitute member on the Council of Europe’s Commission for Democracy through Law (better known as the “Venice Commission”), which issues opinions on a variety of international human rights, constitutional justice and rule of law matters. 

Since joining OU in 2013, Professor Aswad was named outstanding faculty member by College of Law students in 2014, received the university-wide David L. Boren Award for Outstanding Global Engagement in 2016, and was named the Global Citizen in Law and Politics by the World Experiences Foundation in 2017.  She has shared her research findings in venues ranging from Stanford Law School to international conferences in Switzerland and Costa Rica.

Prior to joining the College of Law, Professor Aswad served for about 14 years as an attorney in the Legal Bureau at the U.S. Department of State, most recently as the head of the Office of Human Rights and Refugees.  She advised senior officials on a wide range of international human rights law matters, including the assessment of foreign laws and practices with respect to human rights obligations, issues at the intersection of international business and human rights, U.S. ratification of human rights treaties, human rights litigation in U.S. courts, issues involving mass atrocities and accountability, and matters arising in multilateral fora, such as U.S. participation at the United Nation’s (UN) Human Rights Council.  She served as legal adviser for U.S. delegations in a variety of multilateral fora, including the UN Commission on the Status of Women, the Third Committee of the UN General Assembly, the UN Human Rights Council, the Organization of American States, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe’s Annual Human Dimension Implementation meeting, and a delegation presenting the U.S. Periodic Report to the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination as well as a delegation presenting the first U.S. Universal Periodic Review report to the UN. 

She has taught international human rights law and multilateral negotiations to U.S. diplomats at the State Department’s Foreign Service Institute.  In addition, she has taught international courses as an adjunct professor at Georgetown’s School of Foreign Service as well as its Law Center.  Prior to joining the State Department, she worked as a corporate attorney at the Washington, D.C. law firm of Arnold & Porter and clerked for the Honorable Arthur J. Gajarsa at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Washington, D.C.  She graduated summa cum laude from Georgetown’s School of Foreign Service and magna cum laude from Georgetown’s Law Center.