Founded in March 2003, the center’s initiatives flow naturally from Columbia Law School’s exceptionally rich curriculum relating to global law issues. Its activities, in turn, affect that curriculum. As part of its regular curriculum, the Law School offers what is perhaps the largest number of courses and seminars of any U.S. law school, focusing on the challenges emerging from transnational movement of goods, capital, people, or ideas.
The backbone of our international and comparative law curriculum consists of seminars and courses dealing with global constitutionalism, the degradation of the global commons, transitional justice in the wake of mass atrocity, international crime and terrorism, the regulation of the multinational enterprise and transnational capital, immigration, and human rights. The center engages in ongoing review of the Law School's extensive curriculum and identifies collaborators for teaching and research from communities outside the Law School, including the worlds of practice and public policy. It invites distinguished individuals from academe as well as those engaged in international public policy, whether in private practice or other settings, to the Law School for speaking events, roundtables and other fora, usually in venues that are open to the wider Columbia University community and the general public. The Law School's associations with preeminent law faculties or institutes in Amsterdam, Buenos Aires, Leiden, London, Jerusalem, Johannesburg, and Paris provide the center with ready access to relevant legal expertise and diverse points of view from throughout the world. Global legal issues also feature prominently in many of Columbia's 14 student-edited journals (including six journals that focus on international, foreign, or arbitral law), as well as in the efforts of other Columbia Law School programs, including centers on Chinese, European, Japanese, and Korean law, and some of the center's programs are undertaken in collaboration with student-edited journals or these other programs.
The center addresses globalization's legal dimensions through diverse interdisciplinary research and scholarship. The Center supports (1) long-term research projects, such as collaborative research with professional disciplines other than law, including economics and philosophy, and other professional schools including the schools of business, journalism, public health, and international and public affairs; (2) periodic conferences and other speaking events; (3) associations and public policy-oriented projects with other Columbia University centers and programs, including the Earth Institute, the Initiative for Policy Dialogue, and the Institute for Human Rights,; and (4) joint programs with international organizations such as the United Nations.
Although the center is relatively new to the Law School, it has undertaken a variety of activities since its founding, including a public speaker series and academic conferences. The Center on Global Governance, together with Columbia Law School, is an Academic Partner of the American Society of International Law.