Balakrishnan Rajagopal

Professor of Law and Development

Balakrishnan Rajagopal is a Professor of Law and Development, the head of the International Development Group at the Department of Urban Studies and Planning, and the founding Director of the Program on Human Rights and Justice and the Displacement Research Action Network (DRAN) at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He is recognized as a leading participant in the Third World Approaches to International Law (TWAIL) Network of scholars and as one of its founders. He has been a member of the Executive Council and Executive Committee of the American Society of International Law, and is currently on the Asia Advisory Board of Human Rights Watch. He is a Faculty Associate at Harvard Law School’s Program on Negotiation, a Fellow at the Woodrow Wilson Center for International Scholars in Washington, DC, the Madras Institute of Development Studies and the Jawaharlal Nehru University in India, the Institute for Advanced Studies in Jerusalem, and a Visiting Professor at the UN University for Peace, University of Melbourne Law School and the Washington College of Law, the American University. His terminal degree is an interdisciplinary doctorate in law (SJD) from Harvard Law School and he also holds a first law degree from India. He served for many years with the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights in Cambodia and received a Royal Award from the King of Cambodia. He has consulted with the World Commission on Dams, UNDP, other UN agencies and international organizations and leading NGOs on human rights and international legal issues. He has published numerous scholarly articles in leading law journals including the Harvard, Columbia, Boston University, Connecticut and Leiden journals of international law, Third World Quarterly, Human Rights Quarterly, Human Rights Review and the William and Mary Law Review. He is the author of two books - International Law from Below: Development, Social Movements and Third World Resistance (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003; Second edition forthcoming), and Reshaping Justice: International Law and the Third World (Routledge, 2008). His work has been translated into Chinese, Spanish and French. He is currently completing a book manuscript on legalization of socio-economic rights in the Global South, and co-editing two books on property rights and on human rights and development. He has also published widely in the media including the Boston Globe, the Hindu, Washington Post and the Nation.