Katherine Wilhelm: USALI's New Executive Director


New York, August 1, 2019:

USALI Faculty Director Jerome Cohen has announced that Katherine Wilhelm will join the Law School as executive director of the U.S.-Asia Law Institute (USALI) from August 1. Wilhelm has spent most of the last three decades working in China, most recently as legal program officer for the Ford Foundation’s Beijing office. She will be responsible for programming, fundraising and day-to-day operations of USALI. The institute, which is led by faculty director Professor Jerome Cohen in cooperation with its newly-established Advisory Committee consisting of Professors Jose Alvarez, Roderick Hills and Frank Upham, conducts research, engages in exchanges, offers lectures on Asian law, and hosts in-depth dialogues among Asian and American legal experts on topics of shared interest.

Ira Belkin, who has been executive director since 2012, will stay on with USALI as a Senior Research Scholar, contributing to its project work and publications. He also will remain an adjunct professor at the Law School.

Ms. Wilhelm is an expert on China’s legal system, public interest law organizations, and civil society. At the Ford Foundation’s China office, she made grants to support Chinese institutions engaged in legal advocacy, services, research, and education. Before joining the Ford Foundation in 2012, Wilhelm directed the Beijing office of Yale Law School’s China Law Center, where she worked with government, academic, and civil society partners to implement law reform projects. She also practiced law in the Beijing office of a leading U.S. law firm. Before beginning her career in law, she was a journalist, reporting for The Associated Press from Beijing, Hanoi, and Hong Kong, and for the Far Eastern Economic Review from Hong Kong and Shanghai. Her work has been published in leading newspapers around the world. She holds a J.D. from Columbia Law School, a master’s degree in East Asian studies from Harvard University, a master’s in journalism from Columbia University, and a bachelor’s degree in history from Niagara University.