Paul R. Williams (professor)

Paul R. Williams

Paul Williams (left)
Nationality United States
Fields International law, peace negotiation
Institutions Public International Law & Policy Group
Alma mater University of California, Davis
Stanford Law School
University of Cambridge

Paul R. Williams holds the Rebecca Grazier Professorship in Law and International Relations at American University, where he teaches in the School of International Service and the Washington College of Law.[1] He is the president and co-founder of the Public International Law & Policy Group (PILPG), a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) which provides pro bono legal assistance to countries and governments involved in peace negotiations, drafting post-conflict constitutions, and prosecuting war criminals.


Williams has assisted nearly two dozen states and sub-state entities in major international peace negotiations, legislation drafting and policy planning, and post-conflict constitution building through his work as president and co-founder of the Public International Law & Policy Group. Williams is regarded as a social entrepreneur for his practical and innovative approach to providing pro bono legal assistance to clients. He has served as a delegation in the Dayton Agreement negotiations (Bosnia-Herzegovina), Rambouillet Agreement and Paris negotiations (Kosovo), Ohrid Agreement negotiations (Macedonia), and Podgorica/Belgrade negotiations for Serbia and Montenegro. He has also advised parties to the Key West negotiations for Nagorno-Karabakh, the Oslo and Geneva negotiations for the Sri Lankan Civil War, the Georgian–Abkhazian conflict negotiations, and the Somalia peace talks.

Williams has advised over two dozen governments and parties in Africa, Asia, and Europe including Afghanistan, Bosnia, Iraq, Kosovo, Montenegro and Nagorno-Karabakh as well as the President of Macedonia, President of Estonia, Foreign Minister of Montenegro, and the Foreign Minister of East Timor. Advised topics include drafting and implementation of post-conflict constitutions, issues of state recognition, self-determination, and state succession, and border sea demarcations and negotiations. Williams has testified before the U.S. Congress and provided expert commentary in the British House of Commons on matters of public international law and peace negotiations.

Prior to his work with PILPG, Williams served in the Office of the Legal Adviser of the U.S. Department of State as Attorney Adviser for the Office of European and Canadian Affairs and the Office of Oceans, Environment, and Scientific Affairs. While in this position, Williams was counsel for the Serbian Sanctions Task Force and Counsel for the International Boundary Commission as well as representative for the Office of the Legal Adviser at the 45th meeting of the International Whaling Commission. Williams was also a Senior Associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and a Fulbright Scholar at the University of Cambridge.

Williams received his A.B. from the University of California, Davis in 1987, his J.D. from Stanford Law School in 1990, and his PhD from the University of Cambridge, where he was a Fulbright Research Scholar.

Paul Williams has given over 150 public lectures and presentations covering topics such as the Yugoslav peace process, the Dayton peace negotiations, the Rambouillet/Paris negotiations, the dissolution of the former Soviet Union, European integration, the Nagorno-Karabagh crisis, the legal status of Taiwan, responsibility to protect, self-determination, earned sovereignty, humanitarian intervention, peacekeeping, self-defense, human rights, the U.N. Human Rights Committee, war crimes, impunity, the International Criminal Court, state succession, international environmental dispute resolution, Central and East European geopolitics, the politics of economic transformation, the regulation of transboundary watercourses, the legal regime of nuclear power management, and California water law.

Venues have included: New York, Washington, D.C., Boston, Palo Alto, San Antonio, Denver, Chicago, Cleveland, Dayton, Prague, Warsaw, The Hague, St. Martin, Curaçao, London, Cambridge, Paris, Juba, Kampala, Hargeisa, Nairobi, Colombo, Kathmandu, Podgorica, Skopje, Sarajevo, Belgrade, Messina, Siracusa, Stockholm, Geneva, Budapest, Rome, Ankara, and Tallinn.

Williams has been interviewed over 500 times on matters of international law and policy by major print and broadcast media, including: The New York Times, The Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, The Boston Globe, Newsweek magazine, U.S. News & World Report, Time magazine, the Associated Press, Fox News, ABC News, NBC News, CBS News, MSNBC, BBC, CNN, the Voice of America, and NPR.

Selected Accomplishments in International Law



Selected Chapters, Reports, and Book Reviews

Law Journal Articles

Policy Articles and Op-Eds

"A Defining Moment for Kosovo", The Baltimore Sun (2004). With Bruce Hitchner.


  1. "Paul Williams," Faculty, Washington College of Law, American University
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