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Program in Refugee and Asylum Law

The University of Michigan Law School offers the world's most comprehensive program for the study of international and comparative refugee law. The Program is directed by James C. Hathaway, the James E. and Sarah A. Degan Professor of Law, a leading authority on international refugee law whose work is regularly cited by the most senior courts of the common law world. The Program, replicated nowhere else in the world, includes courses and workshops, refugee- and asylum-related fellowships, a biennial colloquium that sets guidelines for the evolution of refugee law, and RefLaw.org, a legal blog that provides critical analysis of issues in the field of refugee and asylum law.


Hathaway meets with refugees and NGO's in Nepal.

At the core of the Program is International Refugee Law, a 45-hour course dedicated to the international legal definition of who qualifies as a refugee (the major question litigated in courts today), as adopted by 147 countries, including the United States. Students taking this course will gain critical insight on the key question at stake in domestic asylum litigation. From there, students who wish to understand how international refugee law is implemented and who are interested in working on behalf of refugees in other countries may enroll in the Refugee Rights Workshop. The Comparative Asylum Law and Refugee Law Reform seminars immerse students in cutting-edge concerns in asylum law and practice, culminating in the Colloquium on Challenges in International Refugee Law, through which students, along with leading refugee experts, have an opportunity to create solutions to legal issues that have a lasting impact on the lives of refugees.

Graduates of the Program have gone on to make a difference in refugee and asylum law through distinguished careers with the United Nations, NGOs such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, and as refugee law academics. Many others have undertaken critical pro bono litigation on behalf of refugee rights in the United States and abroad.

For more information about the program, please contact:

Program in Refugee and Asylum Law
University of Michigan Law School
973 Legal Research
Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109
refugee@umich.edu

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