William Whitney Burke-White

Penn Global staff photos for web site

William Burke-White, the Inaugural Director of Perry World House, holds the Richard Perry Professorship at the University of Pennsylvania, where he also serves as Deputy Dean and Professor at Penn Law.

Burke-White, an international lawyer and political scientist, researches and writes on the relationships between law and politics in international affairs. His current scholarship examines how the rise of countries such as China, Russia, Brazil, and India, is changing the international legal system and the prospects for effective international responses to global governance challenges. Burke-White has published extensively in the fields of international law and institutions, with particular focus on international criminal law, human rights law, and international financial law. He has investigated issues of post-conflict justice; the International Criminal Court; linkages between human rights and national security; and international investment arbitration.

From 2009-2011, Burke-White served in the Obama Administration on the Secretary of State’s Policy Planning Staff, where he crafted recommendations on multilateral affairs, international institutions, and the Russian Federation. He was also the principal drafter and participated in the implementation of the Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review, a hallmark initiative to reform the Department of State and reshape U.S. foreign policy.

Burke-White has served as visiting professor at Harvard Law School, the Max Plank Institute for International and Comparative Law in Heidelberg, Germany, the Moscow State Institute of International Relations, and Mofid University, in Qom, Iran. He holds both a bachelor’s and law degrees from Harvard University, and a Ph.D. in international relations from Cambridge University, where he was a Fulbright Scholar. Burke-White is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the American Society of International Law, and a principle of the Truman National Security Project. A frequent media commentator, his work has appeared in The Atlantic, CNN on-line, The Herald Tribune, the Financial Times, and the Philadelphia Inquirer.