A Nigerian, A Professor of Law at the University of Arkansas School of Law in Fayetteville, Arkansas, Uche Ewelukwa Ofodile has been elected as a lifetime member of the United States Council on Foreign Relations.

The Council is one of the foremost foreign policy organisations globally and has since 1922 published the widely circulated and highly regarded international affairs magazine Foreign Affairs.

The council also runs the David Rockefeller Studies Program, which influences foreign policy by making recommendations to the presidential administration and diplomatic community and testifying before Congress.

Ofodile’s election as lifetime member is noteworthy because it makes her one of the very few Arkansans and Africans elevated to that role in the organisation.

She promises to utilise her new role to foster awareness about some of the pressing contemporary issues such as food, nutrition, and water insecurity; corporate social responsibility, accountability, global governance and the risks and prospects associated with artificial intelligence and other evolving technologies.

In her acceptance she said;
“I am extremely excited by my lifetime election to the Council on Foreign Relations, whose activities I have followed for well over 20 years,” Ofodile said. “I have been inspired by the lives and accomplishments of the council’s esteemed members, who are all visionaries and changemakers. I hope that through my involvement in this association, I can impact Africa and the world for the better.”

Ofodile described how Arkansas plays a major and growing role in global affairs, and said, “It is time for Arkansans to lend their voice to weighty issues of our time, from climate change to plastic waste, human trafficking and artificial intelligence.”

Also reacting to her lifetime election, Willam Alford, the Henry L. Stimson Professor of Law and vice dean for the Graduate Program and International Legal Studies at Harvard Law School, said, “I am thrilled that professor Uche Ewelukwa Ofodile has been chosen for membership in the Council on Foreign Relations. She is a worldwide leader in scholarship regarding the China-Africa relationship, and as someone who shares this interest, I can say that her work, which commenced long before this subject achieved prominence, is wonderfully creative while deeply rigorous.”

Ofodile is a Senior Fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School’s Mossavar-Rahmani Center for Business and Government, an Honorary Fellow of the Asian Institute of International Financial Law in Hong Kong and an affiliated professor of African and African American Studies at the U of A’s Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences. She researches and writes in the areas of intellectual property law, international trade law, international investment law and international dispute settlement. She has published numerous articles including in journals at Yale, Michigan and Vanderbilt, among others. She is currently working on two books, one of which is with Oxford University. Ofodile is on the Editorial Advisory Committee of International Legal Materials and currently serves as a book review editor for The Law & Practice of International Courts and Tribunals. Ofodile is the recipient of numerous awards, including awards from the Carnegie Council on Ethics and International Affairs, the Albert Einstein Institution, the Academy on Human Rights and Humanitarian Law, the Southeast Association of Law Schools and the American Bar Association Section of International Law. She is the former secretary general of the African Society of International Law.

With her election, Ofodile joins an organization whose members are among the most distinguished and most prominent leaders in the foreign policy arena, including top government officials, renowned scholars, business executives, acclaimed journalists, prominent lawyers and distinguished nonprofit professionals. Members of the Council on Foreign Relations include former President William J. Clinton; former U.S. secretaries of state Madeleine Albright and Condoleezza Rice; former Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano; current and former members of the U.S. Congress Eric Cantor and Dianne Feinstein; television hosts such as Fareed Zakaria, Joe Scarborough, Dan Rather and Tom Brokaw; and several CEOs of some of the largest corporations in the U.S. and the world.


Established in 1921, the Council on Foreign Relations is an independent, nonpartisan membership organization, think tank, publisher and educational institution dedicated to informing the public about the foreign policy choices facing the U.S. and the world.

Written By Obioma Ezenwobodo Esq

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