“I am honored, thrilled, and grateful that the Council on Foreign Relations has elected me as a Life Member,” Kaufman said. “As the world faces so many international challenges, from genocide and inequality to COVID-19 and climate change, I look forward to contributing to CFR and exchanging ideas with my distinguished colleagues.”
“I am very proud of Professor Kaufman’s election as a life member of the Council on Foreign Relations,” added Dean Leonard M. Baynes. “It is a well-deserved honor. Professor Kaufman is an exceptional scholar in the areas of criminal and international law. In the two years that he has taught at the Law Center, he has written compelling law review articles in top law reviews. He also has been an extraordinary law school teacher who is beloved by his students.”
Founded in 1921, the Council on Foreign Relations is an independent, nonpartisan think tank specializing in U.S. foreign policy and international affairs. According to CFR, its membership has included “senior politicians, more than a dozen secretaries of state, CIA directors, bankers, lawyers, professors, and senior media figures.” As also noted by CFR, “individual members include many of the most prominent leaders in international affairs who come together to engage in nonpartisan conversation on the most salient policy and governance issues of the day.”
CFR, which publishes Foreign Affairs, offers two forms of individual membership—Term and Life—both of which are highly competitive and subject to nomination and then confirmation by current members. Life Membership requires nomination by a member, which must be seconded by a minimum of three others.
Kaufman was nominated for Life Membership to the organization by Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law Professor Emeritus David Scheffer, who previously served as the inaugural U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for War Crimes Issues. Scheffer’s nomination of Kaufman was seconded by Professor Kate Stith of Yale Law School (of which Kaufman is a graduate and former Fellow), Professors Kathryn Sikkink and Stephen Walt of the Harvard Kennedy School of Government (of which Kaufman is a former Senior Fellow), and Executive Director Judith Goldstein of Humanity in Action (of which Kaufman is a Senior Fellow and Board Member). Kaufman’s nominator and seconders are all themselves CFR Life Members.
Kaufman’s previous roles with CFR include his time as a Term Member from 2013 to 2018 and as an International Affairs Fellow on the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee staff from 2016 to 2017. As part of his role on the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee staff, Kaufman was a lead architect of both the Elie Wiesel Genocide and Atrocities Prevention Act (enacted in 2019) and the Syrian War Crimes Accountability Act (enacted in 2018 as section 1232 of the National Defense Authorization Act). Kaufman then analyzed these two U.S. laws in an article, Legislating Atrocity Prevention, which was published in the Harvard Journal on Legislation.
Kaufman joined the Law Center’s faculty in 2019. He teaches Criminal Law, International Law, and International Justice and Atrocities.