Zachary D. Kaufman

Dr. Zachary Daniel Kaufman, Esq., is a legal academic, political scientist, and social entrepreneur. He is a graduate of Yale University, the University of Oxford (where he was a Marshall Scholar), and Yale Law School.


Dr. Kaufman is currently a United States Supreme Court Fellow. In addition, he continues to be a Visiting Fellow at Yale Law School, a Social Enterprise Fellow at Yale School of Management's Program on Social Enterprise, and a Visiting Fellow at Yale University's Genocide Studies Program. He also participates in the Transitional Justice Working Group at Harvard University John F. Kennedy School of Government's Carr Center for Human Rights Policy.

A Term Member of the Council on Foreign Relations, Dr. Kaufman is currently on a book tour for his latest book, Social Entrepreneurship in the Age of Atrocities: Changing Our World. His next book, about transitional justice, will be published by Oxford University Press.


During the Spring 2014 semester, Dr. Kaufman was a Lecturer in Yale University's Department of Political Science. From 2013 to 2014, he was affiliated with Harvard Law School's Institute for Global Law and Policy. During the Spring 2013 semester, Dr. Kaufman was a periodic Visiting Faculty Member at New York University, where he focused on international law, transitional justice, and social entrepreneurship. From 2011 to 2013, Dr. Kaufman was an Associate in the Washington, DC office of the international law firm of O'Melveny & Myers LLP and an Adjunct Professor at George Washington University's Elliott School of International Affairs.


Dr. Kaufman's research focuses on:

  • international law (especially international humanitarian and criminal law);
  • international relations history and theory;
  • United States foreign policy;
  • transitional justice (particularly the prevention and cessation of and recovery from genocide and other atrocities, and the history and operation of domestic, hybrid, and international war crimes tribunals);
  • the international relations of Africa;
  • Rwandan history, politics, and culture; and
  • social entrepreneurship.

Dr. Kaufman is the co-editor (with Dr. Phil Clark) and co-author of After Genocide: Transitional Justice, Post-Conflict Reconstruction, and Reconciliation in Rwanda and Beyond (Columbia University Press and C. Hurst & Co., 2009; re-published by Oxford University Press, 2013). His second book is Social Entrepreneurship in the Age of Atrocities: Changing Our World (Edward Elgar Publishing, Inc., 2012). His third book will be on U.S. foreign policy on transitional justice.

Dr. Kaufman's research and commentary have also appeared in other publications, including:

  • newspapers and magazines such as the New York Times, the New York Times Magazine, the Washington Post, the Jerusalem Post (Israel newspaper), the Liberian Times (Liberia newspaper), the New Times (Rwanda newspaper), Central African Magazine, the Broward Times (South Florida newspaper), the Dominion Post (West Virginia newspaper), the Maccabean (Jewish newspaper of Western Australia), the Yale Daily News (daily student-run newspaper at Yale University), and the Yale Herald (weekly student-run newspaper at Yale University);
  • journals such as the Yale Law & Policy Review, the Yale Journal of International Law, the Yale Human Rights & Development Law Journal, the Harvard International Law Journal, the Emory International Law Review, Bloomberg BNA Securities Regulation & Law Report, the Inter-American Law Review, the John Marshall Law Review, the St. Antony's International Review (University of Oxford journal of international relations), Criminal Law Forum (official journal of the Society for the Reform of Criminal Law), Diplomatic Courier, Corporate Counsel, Society & Diplomatic Review, Law For Change; the Bulletin (publication of the Association of Commonwealth Universities), Pharma Pricing & Reimbursement (pharmaceutical trade journal in the United Kingdom), The Voice: A Forum on Race for the Yale and New Haven Communities, Kigali Public Library Newsletter, Marshall Update: News for Marshall Scholars, and the Humanity in Action Reports; and
  • as chapters or other sections of books such as Cambridge University Press's 3-volume Encyclopedia of Transitional Justice; Routledge's annual Africa South of the Sahara series; Confronting Genocide in Rwanda: Dehumanization, Denial, and Strategies for Prevention; The Criminal Law of Genocide: International, Comparative and Contextual Aspects; Rwanda and South Africa in Dialogue: Addressing the Legacies of Genocide and a Crime Against Humanity; Spiritual Treasure; and Roots in Jewish History: Suffering, Survival, Triumph.


A recurring commentator on Voice of America, Dr. Kaufman is a frequent speaker on issues he researches and works on. He has served as a guest lecturer at universities in:

Moreover, Dr. Kaufman has lectured to audiences from various components of the United States government, including from the U.S. military, the U.S. intelligence community, the U.S. Department of State, and the U.S. Department of Justice.

Dr. Kaufman has also spoken at popular forums such as the Rayburn House Office Building of the United States Congress, the Embassy of the United Kingdom, the Embassy of the Republic of Rwanda, and the International Student House, all in Washington, DC; the Institute for International Mediation and Conflict Resolution in The Hague, The Netherlands; the International Youth Assembly of the YMCA-YWCA in Sweden; Metro Goldwyn Mayer (MGM) Towers in New York City; Rotary International (including its Clubs in Cambridge and Oxford, United Kingdom, and Kigali, Rwanda, and at its International Convention in Barcelona, Spain); the Kigali Public Library, the Hotel Novotel Kigali Umubano, the Residence of the United States Ambassador, and The Tuesday Forum Show on Rwandan television, all in Kigali, Rwanda; the Yale Club of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; and the Shaare Zedek Synagogue in San Juan, Puerto Rico.


Dr. Kaufman's professional experience has focused on the investigation, apprehension, and prosecution of suspected perpetrators of atrocities, including genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity, and terrorism. He has served at the United States Department of State, the United States Department of Justice, the United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, and the United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda. Dr. Kaufman also was the first American to serve at the International Criminal Court, where he was policy clerk to the first Chief Prosecutor.

Dr. Kaufman has also worked in the private sector on legal and political issues. He has worked as an Associate in the Washington, DC office of the international law firm of O'Melveny & Myers LLP. He has also worked on Google's Global Public Policy and Government Affairs team at Google's global headquarters in Mountain View, California.

From 2008 until their successful election as the president and vice president of the United States, Dr. Kaufman was a member of the Obama-Biden Campaign's Africa Policy Team.


Dr. Kaufman spends much of his time on non-profit, public service, and community service activities, most of which relate to law and human rights, social entrepreneurship, and educational alumni organizations. A significant portion of these activities focus on Africa and/or genocide and other atrocities.

Law and Human Rights

Dr. Kaufman serves on both the Lawyers Committee and the Next Generation Board of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. He is also a Board Member and Senior Fellow of Humanity in Action. In addition, Dr. Kaufman serves on the Board of Advisors of both Genocide Watch and the Yale Law & Policy Review. In 2013, Dr. Kaufman served as the co-chair of the Human Rights Committee of the United Nations Association of the National Capital Area.

Social Entrepreneurship

Dr. Kaufman's most significant social entrepreneurship activities concerns the Kigali Public Library, which is Rwanda's first-ever public library. Dr. Kaufman is the founder, president, and chairman of the Board of Directors of the American Friends of the Kigali Public Library and an Honorary Member of the Rotary Club of Kigali-Virunga, Rwanda. Together, these non-profit organizations fundraised and collected books for, raised public awareness about, and built the Kigali Public Library. Now that the Kigali Public Library is constructed, Dr. Kaufman serves on its Board of Trustees, which oversees the library's Executive Director in the development and execution of policies, programmatic activities, and budgetary, staffing, and other administrative matters.

In addition, Dr. Kaufman is the chair of the Board of Advisers of Indego Africa, an innovative social enterprise that partners with women artisans in Rwanda on a fair trade basis to drive forward a sustainable, long-term solution to systemic poverty in Africa.

Dr. Kaufman is also a Practitioner Affiliate of the Social Enterprise Program at American University's School of International Service as well as a member of the Advisory Board of Yale Law Social Entrepreneurs.

Educational Alumni Organizations

A significant portion of Dr. Kaufman's activities supports his undergraduate and law school alma mater, Yale University. Dr. Kaufman serves the Yale Alumni Fund in two capacities. First, Dr. Kaufman sits on the Yale Alumni Fund's Board of Directors, which directs Yale University's annual $23 million alumni fundraising campaign. Second, as the Yale Alumni Fund's Chair of Agents for the Class of 2000, Dr. Kaufman leads his Yale University undergraduate class's annual alumni fundraising campaign. From 2011 to 2013, Dr. Kaufman was an elected member of the Board of Directors of the Yale Club of DC, a non-profit organization that serves the needs of Yale University alumni and families in the Greater Washington, DC metropolitan area. During the same time period, Dr. Kaufman was a member of the Steering Committee of the Yale Law School Association of Washington, DC, a non-profit organization that serves the needs of Yale Law School alumni and families in the Greater Washington, DC metropolitan area. From 2008 to 2012, Dr. Kaufman was a member of the Board of Trustees of the Joseph Slifka Center for Jewish Life at Yale University, a non-profit organization that governs Yale University's Hillel.

As with his undergraduate and law school alma mater, Dr. Kaufman seeks to give back to his graduate school experience at the University of Oxford through his service as a member of and the Director of Communications for the Board of Directors of the Association of Marshall Scholars.


In 2012, Dr. Kaufman received his D.Phil (PhD) degree in International Relations from the University of Oxford, where he was a Marshall Scholar from 2002 to 2005.

From 2009 to 2010, Dr. Kaufman served as Law Clerk to The Honorable Juan R. Torruella on the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit. While based in San Juan, Puerto Rico, for his clerkship, Dr. Kaufman taught as an Adjunct Professor of Law at the University of Puerto Rico Law School.

In 2009, Dr. Kaufman received his Juris Doctor (JD) degree from Yale Law School, where he was named an Olin Fellow of the Yale Law School John M. Olin Center for Law, Economics, and Public Policy. At Yale Law School, Dr. Kaufman served as Editor-in-Chief and, previously, Policy Editor of the Yale Law & Policy Review; Managing Editor of the Yale Human Rights & Development Law Journal; Articles Editor of the Yale Journal of International Law; co-founder and co-president of Yale Law Social Entrepreneurs; co-president of the Yale Jewish Law Students Association; member of the Non-Profit Organizations Clinic; and Graduate Affiliate and Graduate Fellowship Affiliate of Saybrook College, Yale University.

During the 2005 to 2006 academic year, Dr. Kaufman was a Fellow at Stanford University, in the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies (FSI) Center on Democracy, Development, and the Rule of Law (CDDRL).

In 2004, Dr. Kaufman received his M.Phil (Master's) degree in International Relations from the University of Oxford, where he served on the Executive Committee of the Magdalen College Trust, his residential college's grant-making charity.

In 2000, Dr. Kaufman received his B.A. (Bachelor's) degree in Political Science from Yale University, where he was the student body president, a freshman residential counselor, co-captain of the Yale wrestling team, and an All-American and Runner-up National Champion in the National Collegiate Wrestling Association.