The Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Neck Ribbon
[ Background ]
Professor Cohen was born in New Jersey in 1930. He received his B.A. degree from Yale University in 1951 in political science and then spent a year in France as a Fulbright scholar studying international relations. He earned his J.D. from Yale Law School in 1955.
From 1955 to 1957, Prof. Cohen clerked at the U.S. Supreme Court, first under Chief Justice Earl Warren and then under Justice Felix Frankfurter. He subsequently practiced law, serving as an assistant U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia and then as assistant to Senator J.W. Fulbright, chairman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations. He joined the faculty of the University of California, Berkeley, School of Law in 1959.
After a year in Hong Kong interviewing refugees from China, Prof. Cohen joined the faculty of Harvard Law School in 1964, created the school’s East Asian Legal Studies Program and served as Associate Dean in charge of graduate and international studies. He spent the year 1971-72 on a Guggenheim Fellowship teaching law at Doshisha University in Kyoto. From 1979 – 1981, as a guest of the Beijing City Government, he taught courses on international business law in the Chinese language, training Chinese officials in trade and investment. While a practicing lawyer who specialized in international commerce for over twenty years, Cohen dealt with contract negotiations with China and other East Asian countries until 2000. Many government officials, lawyers, corporate attorneys, judges, prosecutors and professors were influenced by the education given by Prof. Cohen in China.
Professor Cohen joined New York University School of Law in 1990 and founded the U.S.-Asia Law Institute at the school in 2006. Professor Cohen’s research interests include Comparative Law, East Asian Law, International Law, and International Transactions. He is also an Adjunct Senior Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, where he had previously served for several years as C.V. Starr Senior Fellow and Director of Asia Studies. A leading American expert on the US-China relationship, Chinese domestic law, and international law, Cohen has testified many times before Congress on these subjects.
Professor Cohen is a member of the bar in New York, Connecticut and the District of Columbia.
[ Achievements for Japan ]
When Professor Cohen started East Asian Legal Studies at Harvard Law School, it was one of the first programs of its kind in the United States. During his twenty-five years at Harvard, Professor Cohen also contributed to the foundation of Japanese law teaching and research beginning 1972, and often taught Japanese law in cooperation with visiting experts from Japan.
For the past twenty-seven years at New York University Law School, he has facilitated the establishment of an increasingly prominent research center on Asian law and helped to recruit distinguished professors who specialize in Japanese law. He now serves as Faculty Director of the US-Asia Law Institute. The Institute annually hosts 10-12 legal experts and researchers from Asian countries (about 3-4 from Japan), provides research and educational opportunities for students from many countries, and promotes exchanges, conferences and lectures on Asian law.
As a legal expert, Cohen has long addressed rule of law, human rights and other international law issues regarding China, has published many books and essays and through hundreds of op-eds has contributed to public understanding of the role of law in American foreign policy.