Ofodile Elected as Lifetime Member of U.S. Council on Foreign Relations

Uche Ewelukwa Ofodile
Photo by University Relations

Uche Ewelukwa Ofodile

Uche Ewelukwa Ofodile, the E.J. Ball Professor of Law, has been elected a lifetime member of the United States Council on Foreign Relations, one of the leading foreign policy organizations in the world. 

With her election to the council, Ofodile becomes one of the few Arkansans and Africans who has been elected a member of the esteemed organization.

Ofodile hopes to use the opportunity to bring attention to some of the pressing issues of our time, including sustainability and climate change; food, nutrition and water insecurity; corporate social responsibility and accountability; global governance issues and challenges; and the risks and opportunities associated with artificial intelligence and other emerging technologies. “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.”

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.”

Shontavia Johnson, an alumna of the law school and former student of Ofodile, said, “Professor Ofodile’s scholarship, talks and lectures around the world firmly solidify her position as both a leader in global discourse and a facilitator of law and policy change at all levels of governance.” Johnson, who is currently the associate vice president for entrepreurship and innovation at Clemson University, added, “At a time when our world faces complex issues and challenges, it is comforting to know that professor Ofodile is positioned, through her membership in the council, to lend her voice on critical global issues and provide advice on important foreign policy choices facing the U.S. and countries and communities around the world.”

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. 

The council ranks number six on the list of “The 50 Most Influential Think Tanks in the United States” and is ranked number 16 on the “2019 Top Think Tanks Worldwide,” according to the 2019 Global Go To Think Tank Index Report

The council 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. 

In nominating a candidate for membership, the council members are required to address several criteria, including standing among peers; intellectual attainment and expertise; degree of experience, interest and current involvement in international affairs or in other areas affecting international affairs; as well as promise of future achievement and service in foreign relations. 

About the University of Arkansas School of Law: The law school offers a competitive J.D. as well as an advanced LL.M. program, which are taught by nationally recognized faculty. The school offers unique opportunities for students to participate in pro bono work, externships, live client clinics, competitions, and food and agriculture initiatives. The school strives to identify, discuss, and challenge issues of race, color, ethnicity, and the impacts they have on students, faculty, and staff members in an effort to achieve a diverse, inclusive, and equitable community. From admitting the Six Pioneers who were the first African American students to attend law school in the South without a court order to graduating governors, judges, prosecutors, and faculty who went on to become President of the United States and Secretary of State, the law school has a rich history and culture.

About the University of Arkansas: As Arkansas' flagship institution, the U of A provides an internationally competitive education in more than 200 academic programs. Founded in 1871, the U of A contributes more than $2.2 billion to Arkansas’ economy through the teaching of new knowledge and skills, entrepreneurship and job development, discovery through research and creative activity while also providing training for professional disciplines. The Carnegie Foundation classifies the U of A among the top 3% of U.S. colleges and universities with the highest level of research activity. U.S. News & World Report ranks the U of A among the top public universities in the nation. See how the U of A works to build a better world at Arkansas Research News.


Uche Ewelukwa Ofodile, E.J. Ball Professor of Law
School of Law
479-575-5283, uchee@uark.edu

Yusra Sultana, director of communications
School of Law
479-575-7417, ysultana@uark.edu


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