OU Law Professor Evelyn Aswad Named to Journal Record's 50 Making a Difference

August 2, 2019 | By Melissa Caperton, Director of Communications
Professor Evelyn Aswad

Seven OU Law Alumnae also Included on List

Media Contact: 
Melissa Caperton
(405) 325-2227

NORMAN — Evelyn Aswad, Herman G. Kaiser Chair in International Law at the OU College of Law, has been named one of the Journal Record’s 2019 Fifty Making a Difference honorees, an award recognizing women business and community leaders across the state.

Seven OU Law alumnae also were named to the list:

  • Angie Christopher (J.D., ’98)
  • Heather Coyle (J.D.,’99)
  • Patti Davis (M.L.S., ’18)
  • Kay Floyd (J.D.,’83)
  • Cara Hair (J.D.,’02)
  • Leah Rudnicki (J.D.,’01)
  • Kathy Taylor (J.D.,’81)

Recipients of the Making a Difference award will be formally recognized by the Journal Record in October.

“We were delighted to learn that Professor Aswad and these remarkable alumnae are being honored for their professional achievements and meaningful service to their communities,” said OU Law Interim Dean Katheleen Guzman. “Their accomplishments in their respective fields are to be celebrated, and we are incredibly proud of them all.”

Aswad joined the OU College of Law faculty in 2013 after serving for 14 years as an attorney in the Legal Bureau at the U.S. Department of State, most recently as the director of its Office of Human Rights and Refugees. At OU Law, she teaches courses such as International Law Foundations and International Business & Human Rights. Thanks in large part to her work in growing international law programming, OU Law was recently recognized as one of the top law schools in the nation for international law by National Jurist’s preLaw Magazine

“Professor Aswad is a universally respected authority on international law and human rights issues,” Guzman said. “She unites her extensive background in international law with her academic scholarship to provide our students with abundant opportunities to gain a greater understanding of the law and of the human condition. Her leadership has played a significant role in elevating our international law program to one of the best in the nation. She is extremely deserving of this honor.”

In her time at the OU College of Law, Aswad has developed an innovative international curriculum that combines international law and practice, current events and a focus on human rights throughout the world. She consistently uses her countless service positions within the international community as learning opportunities for her students. Whether by crafting Diplomacy Lab courses, creating programs or taking students to brief State Department officials on their research projects, Aswad exposes her students to real-world applications of international law. She has brought numerous leading voices in the field to speak at OU Law and to meet with her students in small group settings. She has helped students obtain internships at the U.S. State Department, the United Nations and with international human rights groups.

Aswad played an instrumental role in launching OU Law’s online Master of Legal Studies in International Business Law – a program that provides non-lawyers an opportunity to learn about laws, regulations and processes that impact global commerce.

Aswad founded and directs OU Law’s Center for International Business & Human Rights, the first center of its kind at a U.S. law school. In addition to preparing students to practice in this emerging field, the Center provides continuing legal education programming as well as academic think tank support on international business and human rights issues.  

In recent years, Aswad has focused her scholarship on international freedom of expression issues and content moderation by private companies. When presenting her most recent scholarship at a conference at Stanford University in early 2019, she met Facebook representatives who were running the company’s consultations on developing an independent review board to provide oversight on a variety of the company’s content decisions. Because of her expertise, coupled with the Center’s active engagement on issues involving corporate curation of online speech, Facebook selected OU Law to host a public town hall meeting to secure feedback on its upcoming Oversight Board. The Center also participated in Facebook’s global consultation process by hosting a roundtable and by submitting written comments. As a result, the Center was cited in Facebook’s summary report with appendices, and Aswad was cited in the report seven times.

Her expertise has allowed her to serve in many prestigious advisory roles, such as counseling the U.S. State Department’s Office of the Legal Adviser on human rights matters through her service on its Advisory Committee on International Law. Additionally, in 2016, she attended the White House’s launch of the U.S. government’s first-ever National Action Plan on Responsible Business Conduct because of her work on this topic in convening a multi-stakeholder consultation at the College of Law.

Throughout her career, her work has earned her numerous awards for teaching and professional service.

About the Center for International Business & Human Rights

In 2016, the OU College of Law established the first International Business & Human Rights Center at a U.S. law school. The Center has a two-fold mission: (1) to provide OU Law students with academic training, networking and practical experience in this emerging field that will equip them to be leaders in this space, as well as train the greater legal community and others in IBHR issues; and (2) to provide academic think tank support on international business and human rights issues, with a particular focus on the energy/extractive sector and information and communications technology companies. The Center seeks to achieve this mission by hosting awareness-raising eventsparticipating in legal engagement on contemporary IBHR issuesoffering cutting-edge courses and producing relevant scholarship.

About the OU College of Law

Founded in 1909, the OU College of Law is Oklahoma’s premier law school. OU Law offers small sections and class sizes that encourage a strong sense of community; accomplished faculty with international expertise; and a state-of-the-art facility equipped with the latest technology. The OU College of Law is the academic home of more than 800 students enrolled in the juris doctor program, the John B. Turner Master of Laws Program, the master of legal studies program and various dual degree programs. For more information about OU Law, visit law.ou.edu.

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