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May 2, 2000

State Department Official To Deliver Asian Pacific American Heritage Month Keynote Address at the Library of Congress

Harold Hongju Koh, Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, will deliver the 2000 Asian Pacific American Heritage Month keynote address at the Library of Congress on Wednesday, May 17, in Room LJ119 of the Thomas Jefferson Building, at 10 a.m. The lecture is free and open to the public.

"We are pleased to have Mr. Koh as the keynote speaker for this year's Asian Pacific American Heritage Month observance," said Carl Whisenton, Director of the Dispute Resolution Center and the Equal Employment Opportunity Complaints Office. "In keeping with this year's theme of Voices for the Millennium, Mr. Koh has made his voice heard in the areas of international law, human rights, constitutional law, and international business and trade. As the nation's chief human rights officer, his basic philosophy is that democratic participation is an entitlement, not a privilege, and that the truth must be told about human rights conditions throughout the world."

Mr. Koh received a B.A. degree from Harvard University in 1975, an Honors B.A. from Magdalen College, Oxford University, in 1977, and a J.D. from Harvard Law School in 1980. He began his career in private practice in Washington and as an attorney at the Office of Legal Counsel at the U.S. Department of Justice. He clerked for both Judge Malcolm Richard Wilkey of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit and Supreme Court Justice Harry A. Blackmun. He subsequently held the joint position of Gerard C. and Bernice Latrobe Smith Professor of International Law and Director of the Orville H. Schell Jr. Center for International Human Rights at Yale Law School. He has been a visiting Fellow and Lecturer at Magdalen and All Souls Colleges, Oxford University, and has taught at The Hague Academy of International Law, the University of Toronto, and the George Washington University National Law Center.

Mr. Koh is the author or editor of several books on international relations, law and human rights. He has received numerous honors for his publications and his human rights work, including the 1991 Richard E. Neustadt Award from the American Political Science Association for the best book on the American Presidency, a 1996 Guggenheim Fellowship, an Honorary Doctor of Laws from the City University of New York Law School, the Asian American Bar Association of New York's 1997 Outstanding Lawyer of the Year Award and recognition by American Lawyer magazine in 1997 as one of the county's 45 leading public sector lawyers under the age of 45.

Nominated by President Clinton, and confirmed by the Senate, Mr. Koh was sworn in on Nov. 13, 1998, as Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor. In this position, he advises Secretary of State Madeleine Albright on U.S. Policy on human rights, labor, the rule of law, and religious freedom.

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PR 00-067
ISSN 0731-3527

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