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Balakrishnan Rajagopal elected as a Counsellor to the American Society of International Law

Balakrishnan Rajagopal, associate professor of law and development at MIT, has been elected as a counsellor to the American Society of International Law (ASIL). In this role, he will advise the advancement of international law scholarship and education in the United States and around the globe.

A consultant, commentator, scholar, and activist, Rajagopal has broad experience in the law and politics of the global south. “Raj’s expertise in navigating the relationship and tension between development, planning implementation, displacement and the law has been a great benefit to MIT students seeking to promote change while protecting marginalized communities,” said Eran Ben-Joseph, Head of the Department of Urban Studies and Planning (DUSP)  “We are confident that his experience and research at DUSP will advance the practice of international law to create more just outcomes for all.”

Rajagopal is the founder of the Displacement Research and Action Network (DRAN), an initiative of the Program on Human Rights and Justice at MIT, which focuses on the economic, scientific, and technological aspects of human rights. In his scholarly work and activities, he focuses on the relationship between law, place, justice, and development. Rajagopal has published widely in international economic law, law and development, human rights law, global governance, international criminal law and peacebuilding. 

In addition to serving as the Head of the International Development Group at the Department of Urban Studies and Planning, Rajagopal is a faculty associate at Harvard Law School’s Program on Negotiation, a board member of the Asia Advisory Board of Human Rights Watch, and a Fellow at the Institute for Advanced Studies in Israel and in South Africa (forthcoming).

Rajagopal said he hopes to contribute to further strengthening of the role of international law, especially as it affects the Global South and its relations with the rest of the world. “International law has never been more relevant to the future of cities and human settlements, from regulating finance flows, trade, climate change, refugees, water, housing and other human rights while offering a thin blue line against wars and global conflict,” he said Rajagopal. “Our DUSP and SA+P are pioneers in recognizing this and this empowers the study and practice of planning at SA+P.”

Founded in 1907, ASIL is the foremost society of international law scholars and practitioners in the world. A volunteer-led organization, it fosters dialogue, collaborations, conferences with the aim to promote the establishment and maintenance of international relations rooted in a belief in law and justice. ASIL’s members range from senior scholars and practitioners to new students, hailing from more than 100 nations.

Rajagopal’s election as a Counsellor follows his leadership roles as a member of the governing bodies of the ASIL—the Executive Council and Executive Committee—comprised of senior members who have made significant contributions to the study and development of international law.