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Introduction to Symposium

T. Alexander Aleinikoff, Ian M. Kysel, & Monette Zard

27 Oct 2021

A little over one year ago, the scope and scale of the COVID-19 pandemic was becoming apparent, as first China, and then Italy and the United States grappled with the spread of the virus. We began to witness a number of trends in national responses that raised profound implications for all of us, but in particular for migrants, refugees and asylum-seekers. 

First was the reflexive and default response on the part of States to unilaterally close international borders and limit mobility . . .

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T. Alexander Aleinikoff is University Professor at The New School and has served as Director of the Zolberg Institute on Migration and Mobility since January 2017. He received a J.D. from the Yale Law School and a B.A. from Swarthmore College. Aleinikoff has written widely in the areas of immigration and refugee law and policy, transnational law, citizenship, race, and constitutional law. Aleinikoff is a co-author of leading legal casebooks on immigration law and forced migration. Before coming to The New School, Aleinikoff served as United Nations Deputy High Commissioner for Refugees (2010-15) and was a professor at Georgetown University Law Center, where he also served as dean and Executive Vice President of Georgetown University. He was co-chair of the Immigration Task Force for President Barack Obama’s transition team in 2008. From 1994 to 1997, he served as the general counsel, and then executive associate commissioner for programs, at the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS). Aleinikoff was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2014. 

Ian Matthew Kysel is a Visiting Assistant Clinical Professor of Law at Cornell Law School. He is the founder and director of the Cornell Law School Transnational Disputes Clinic and of the International Migrants Bill of Rights (IMBR) Initiative, co-directs the Asylum and Convention Against Torture Appellate Clinic and is a core faculty member in the Migration and Human Rights Program. He is also a non-resident fellow at the Zolberg Institute for Migration and Mobility at The New School. His scholarship has focused on the rights of migrants, children’s rights and the domestic implementation of international human rights law in the U.S. Kysel previously held appointments at the University of Oxford and at the Georgetown University Law Center. Kysel has written and edited several human rights reports; his opinion articles have appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post and The New Humanitarian. Kysel has argued or participated in litigation before international tribunals as well as U.S. immigration, federal and state courts. He has provided testimony to various legislative bodies and commissions. Kysel was previously a staff attorney at the ACLU of Southern California. He also served as the Aryeh Neier Fellow at both the National ACLU and Human Rights Watch and practiced in Shearman & Sterling’s International Arbitration Group and its Public International Law Practice. Kysel holds an LLM in Advocacy, with distinction, a JD, Magna Cum Laude, Order of the Coif, and a Certificate in Refugees and Humanitarian Emergencies from Georgetown University Law Center. He holds a BA, with high honors, Phi Beta Kappa, from Swarthmore College. 

Monette Zard is an expert on forced migration and human rights, and her career has spanned the fields of policy, advocacy and philanthropy. She has served as the Global Human Rights Program Officer at the Ford Foundation in New York and as Research Director at the International Council on Human Rights Policy in Geneva, Switzerland, a think tank focused on applied human rights research. Her work there explored issues of political violence and the human rights obligations of armed groups, economic and social rights and human smuggling. From 2000-2003, she was a Policy Analyst at the Migration Policy Institute in Washington, D.C. and held a visiting research fellowship in law at the Refugee Studies Centre, Oxford University. Prior to that, she directed the international refugee work of the Lawyers Committee for Human Rights, where her work focused on the use of legal strategies to strengthen refugee protection in Africa and the particular issue of how international law should deal with refugees and asylum-seekers accused of serious international crimes. She has consulted on international human rights and forced migration issues for a number of organizations, including Amnesty International, the Brookings Institute, Human Rights Watch and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.