Audio Podcast

Charlotte Ku
Professor of Law and Associate Dean for Global Programs, Texas A&M University School of Law

Margaret Karns
Professor Emerita of Political Science University of Dayton; Visiting Professor, University of Massachusetts Boston

As part of the ‘ACUNS @ 30’ celebrations, Professor Margaret Karns met with Professor Charlotte Ku at the 2017 Annual Meeting to discuss the ACUNS Workshops on International Organization Studies, and particularly the collaboration between ACUNS and the American Society of International Law (ASIL). The Workshops were established as a partnership between ACUNS and ASIL with the support of the Ford Foundation, the MacArthur Foundation, and the Pew Charitable Trust. Professor Ku—then a staff member at ASIL—was part of the establishment of the Workshops and was part of discussions with ACUNS founders Gene Lyons and Ben Rivlin on the collaboration between the two organizations. Ku emphasizes the benefits of the Workshops for creating dialogue between social scientists on their varied methodology and purpose in a common field. The initial focus on methodology evolved to address a common problem, which in turn led to the establishment of themes for each Workshop. This shift helped to create networks between the policy community and the academy.

Read Professor Ku’s remarks from Plenary Session I — “ACUNS at 30: Retrospect and Prospect”  

Charlotte Ku is Professor of Law and Associate Dean for Global Programs at the Texas A&M University School of Law. Previously, Dr. Ku served as Professor of Law, Assistant Dean for Graduate and International Legal Programs at the University of Illinois College of Law where she also co-directed the Center on Law and Globalization. Dr Ku was Acting Director of the Lauterpacht Centre for International Law at the University of Cambridge following a twelve-year term as Executive Director and Executive Vice President of the American Society of International Law in Washington, DC. Throughout her years of senior academic leadership positions, Dr Ku has fostered the building of awareness of international law and institutions. She has also championed the interdisciplinary collaboration of international law and international relations scholars. More recently, she is working to perfect models of professional training for law students that touch on global awareness and practice skills. Dr Ku has been on the faculties of the Hopkins-Nanjing Center of the School of Advanced Studies, Johns Hopkins University and the University of Virginia. Prior to joining academe, Dr Ku served as a consultant to the community-based San Francisco Foundation; as director of research and publications of a community organization; and on the legislative staff of U.S. Senator Alan Cranston.  Dr Ku’s research interests are in international law and global governance. Her publications include “Primary Effects of Secondary Rules: Institutions and Multi-Level Governance,” with Paul F. Diehl in The Rule of Law in Global Governance; “Fragmentation in International Law and Governance: Understanding the Sum of the Parts,” in What’s Wrong with International Law?; “Transparency, Accountability, and Responsibility for Internationally Mandated Operations” in The Oxford Handbook on the Use of Force in International Law; “Evolution of International Law,” in International Organization and Global Governance; International Law, International Relations, and Global Governance; and The Dynamics of International Law with Paul F. Diehl.

Professor Karns was among the forty participants in the 1987 conference at Dartmouth College that led to the creation of ACUNS.  She was tasked there with a plenary presentation on “Teaching International Organization.”  Subsequently, she conducted the session on the same topic at the initial ACUNS Summer Workshop in 1991.  Most of her career in academe was spent as a member of the faculty at the University of Dayton, where she also served as director of the International Studies Program and founding director of the University of Dayton’s Center for International Programs from 1983 to 1995.

During 1995-96, Professor Karns was Visiting Professor of International Relations at the John Hopkins University-Nanjing University Center for Chinese and American Studies in Nanjing, China. She returned to Asia in 1998 to teach a training course on “Multilateral Diplomacy and the United Nations System” for mid-career Vietnamese officials at The Institute of International Relations in Hanoi and again in May 2006 to lecture and serve as a consultant to the International Studies program at National University of Vietnam in Hanoi. In April 2007, she co-taught a workshop for thirty Vietnamese faculty in international relations on “International Relations since the Cold War’s End” with Professor Karen Mingst.

Currently, Professor Karns is Visiting Professor in the University of Massachusetts Boston John W. McCormack Graduate School of Policy and Global Studies where she teaches courses on global governance and international organizations in the doctoral program in Global Governance and Human Security.  She is a past Vice President of International Studies Association, a national member of the New York-based Council on Foreign Relations, long-time board member and past President of the Dayton Council on World Affairs, current Vice Chair of the ACUNS Board of Directors, and a member of the Editorial Board of Global Governance.

As a scholar, Professor Karns specializes in global governance and international organizations, including the United Nations, with a particular emphasis on UN peacekeeping and post-conflict peacebuilding.  With Professor Karen A. Mingst of the University of Kentucky she has published three books:  The United States and Multilateral Institutions: Patterns of Instrumentality and Influence (1990); International Organizations: The Politics and Processes of Global Governance (3rd ed., 2015) whose first edition won the ACUNS 2006 Prize for the Best Book on the United Nations and the United Nations System; and The United Nations in the 21stCentury (5th ed., 2017).