I first contacted Professor Alford in 2011, the year before I enrolled at HLS. At that time, I was teaching English at a university in Malatya, Turkey, and learning about the Turkish special education system. I was familiar with Professor Alford’s work with the Harvard Project on Disability (HPOD), advancing disability rights in countries around the world. Having written my undergraduate and graduate theses on disability rights and inclusive education, I hoped I could advance HPOD’s mission while in Turkey. I e-mailed Professor Alford to introduce myself and describe my background and interests. Minutes later, Professor Alford responded, enthusiastically welcomed my contributions to HPOD, and connected me with the co-founder of HPOD, Professor Michael Stein. I remained in close contact with Professor Alford and Professor Stein throughout my time at HLS.
Even though I did not take a class taught by Professor Alford, he went out of his way to give me academic and career guidance. He helped prepare me for my career as a disability rights lawyer. Professor Alford’s enormous contributions to the fields of international law and disability rights are matched by his genuine kindness and dedication to HLS students. I am grateful Professor Alford answered my e-mail in 2011 and to have had the opportunity to learn from such an exemplary scholar and person.