This foundational course provides a comprehensive analysis of the definition of refugee status set by the UN Refugee Convention, adopted by the United States and 146 other states. Drawing on comparative jurisprudence, the course situates U.S. refugee law in its global context and equips students to undertake both sophisticated policy analysis and complex litigation in the field. The course promotes an understanding of refugee law as a mode of human rights protection, the viability of which requires striking a balance between the needs of the victims of human rights abuse and the legitimate aspirations of the countries to which they flee.