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Christopher J. Borgen

Professor of Law
Co-Director of the Center for International and Comparative Law at St. John's University School of Law

Christopher J. Borgen is  Professor of Law and Co-Director of the Center for International and Comparative Law at St. John's University School of Law. From 2009 to 2014 he was also the Associate Dean for International Studies for the Law School.  Professor Borgen teaches, or has taught, International Law, National Security and the Law, International Finance, the International Law Colloquium,  the Law of the European Union, the Seminar on States and Sovereignty, and Contracts, among other courses.

Professor Borgen is  the co-founder of Opinio Juris, a website devoted to discussion, debate, and reports concerning international law.

Professor Borgen’s current research focuses on secession and on how “great powers” use of international law as a diplomatic tool in international crises. He is the principal author of Thawing a Frozen Conflict: Legal Aspects of the Separatist Crisis in Moldova, a report issued by the New York City Bar as a result of a mission to Moldova. The report has been the subject of conferences convened under the auspices of the United Nations, the Parliament of Moldova, and the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. He has written widely on the topics of self-determination, secession, the recognition of states, international dispute resolution, and other topics in international law and national security law.

In 2018 Professor Borgen completed his work as Co-Rapporteur for the International Law Association's Committee on Recognition and Non-Recognition in International Law. The Committee had been established by the Executive Council of the International Law Association with the purpose of examining "whether contemporary issues of secession, break-up of States and the creation of new States have changed international law and policy with respect to recognition."

A past Co-Chair of the American Society of International Law's Space Law Interest Group, in 2018 Professor Borgen was also named a “core expert”  for a proposed “Manual on the International Law of Military Space Operations,” colloquially known as “The Woomera Manual.” Following on previous multinational manual projects concerning the laws applicable to naval warfare, air and missile warfare, and cyber-operations, this project brings together international lawyers and technical experts from around the world to develop a model manual that will objectively articulate and clarify existing international law applicable to military space operations.

While at St. John’s, he has also served as the Chairperson of the United Nations Committee of the New York City Bar, on the Executive Council of the American Society of International Law and as a member of the European Affairs and the Foreign and Comparative Law Committees of the New York City Bar.

Prior to joining the faculty at St. John's, Professor Borgen was the Director of Research and Outreach at the American Society of International Law, a non-partisan membership organization and think tank. At the ASIL, he was responsible for defining research areas and implementing public outreach programs as well as specialized programs for the judiciary and the media.

Professor Borgen began his legal career as a law clerk to Federal Magistrate Judge Arlene R. Lindsay of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York. He later spent three years as an associate with the Manhattan law firm of Debevoise & Plimpton, practicing in both the litigation and international corporate groups. Professor Borgen has also served as an international trade consultant in Hungary.

Professor Borgen has received of the Order of Civic Merit, the highest honor awarded to a civilian by the Republic of Moldova, for his work on the ongoing separatist conflict.

Christopher J. Borgen