Alongside PILAC’s research portfolio, we collaborate with student researchers, scholars, and practitioners to engage with states, intergovernmental organizations, U.N. system actors, and NGOs through an array of activities.


In collaboration with the HLS Case Studies Program, PILAC develops real-world-based case studies. In each exercise, students act as senior-level decision-makers to resolve legal and policy dilemmas that arise in armed conflicts.

Legal Policy Briefings

To leverage our research and provide students with real-world policy experience, we provide high-level briefings on its key areas of focus to decision-makers in government, intergovernmental organizations, and NGOs. Through these briefings, students experience how international law and international law expertise relate to complex policy decision-making across the spectrum of viewpoints concerning situations of armed conflict. 

United Nations Missions

In collaboration and consultation with the Permanent Mission of Switzerland to the United Nations, we seek to translate PILAC’s research and scholarship into engagements at events at U.N. Missions in New York. The Program briefs ambassadors and senior legal and policy staff on complex challenges, and participates in and convenes side events at major meetings and conferences. PILAC also hosts informal meals with ambassadors and other diplomats to provide opportunities to highlight and discuss particular themes, trends, and trajectories.


The Program hosts the Counterterrorism and Humanitarian Engagement Project’s Senior Law and Policy Working Group, which comprises over 90 senior humanitarian, counterterrorism, and human rights practitioners, policy advisers, directors, and general counsel. As PILAC continues to develop, we will also explore collaborations with academic institutions and centers.

Roundtable on War & Political Violence

Building on the university-wide resources of Harvard, we plan to host an interdisciplinary Roundtable on War and Political Violence. This initiative would be undertaken with the belief that any examination of the role of law in regulating armed conflict must take into account the social, historical, strategic, and ideological aspects of war. A cross-disciplinary dialogue will allow the Program to better focus its research both in terms of topic selection and in how to treat the chosen topics. The Program aims to enlist faculty and fellows from the departments of history, philosophy, government, public policy, psychology, and economics. Faculty from other universities in the area (such as the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the Fletcher School of Diplomacy, Boston University, and Boston College) may be invited as well. In each discussion, one or two participants will be asked to present a work in progress, and we will solicit comments and inputs from others. PILAC staff and affiliated faculty will also use this forum to present and discuss their work.

[Activities write-up last update in February 2015]