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Cochav Elkayam-Levy


Research Interests

International Human Rights Law

Women’s Human Rights and Gender Equality

Domestic implementation of international law

Trafficking in Persons

Children’s Rights

Constitutional Law

Cochav Elkayam-Levy

Cochav Elkayam-Levy joined the Penn Law S.J.D. program in 2014.  Prior to commencing her doctoral studies, she graduated with distinction from the Penn Law LL.M program, where she joined as a Human Rights Scholar, and was the recipient of several exemplary awards. Cochav also holds a joint LL.B degree in Law and Political Science from Bar-Ilan University (Magna cum Laude).

As a result of her work for the rights of unaccompanied minors and undocumented migrants, Cochav was awarded the Toll Public Interest Center’s 2013 Award for Outstanding Pro Bono Leadership, the Exemplary Pro Bono Service Award and the LLM Public Service Award. In 2012, Cochav was awarded the Philadelphia Bar Association Award for Outstanding Achievement in Human Rights.

Previously, Elkayam-Levy served as a legal counsel for the Human Rights Division in the International Agreements and Litigation Department of the Israeli Ministry of Justice. It that capacity, she was responsible to consult on and promote human rights issues at the State level. Cochav also served as an associate with the Supreme Court Department of the Israeli Attorney General’s Office and worked as an associate at a Tel Aviv law firm.

A Penn Law Rule of Law and Human Rights Fellow (2013-14’) and a Leboy-Davies Fellow in Gender, Sexuality & Women’s Studies (2015), her areas of expertise include international human rights law, domestic implementation of international law and gender equality issues. Her recent articles were published by the Harvard International Law Journal online edition and by the University of Pennsylvania Journal of International Law.


Cochav’s dissertation aims to formulate a reform to tackle the perpetual failure of international law-making institutions to develop substantial jurisprudence on the tension between women’s freedom of religion and gender equality.  It focuses on the use of international law mechanisms which may catalyze norms’ development at the national level in order to transform international law into a relevant instrument in the path towards gender equality on these issues.

Dissertation Committee

Prof. William W. Burke-White, Richard Perry Professor and Inaugural Director, Perry World House; Professor of Law (supervisor)

Representative Publications


Awards & Fellowships

  • Leboy-Davies Award in Gender, Sexuality & Women’s Studies, the Alice Paul Center for Research on Gender, Sexuality & Women (2015-16)
  • Lloyd N. Cutler Fellow, Salzburg Cutler Fellows Program, Washington DC (2015)
  • S.J.D Fellowship, University of Pennsylvania Law School (2014-16)
  • University of Pennsylvania Law School Rule of Law and Human Rights Fellowship (2013-2014)
  • Recipient of Penn Law Toll Public Interest Center’s distinctions: TPIC Award for Outstanding Pro Bono Leadership, Exemplary Pro Bono Service Award and the LLM Public Service Award (2013)
  • Philadelphia Bar Association Award for Outstanding Achievement in Human Rights (2012)
  • University of Pennsylvania Law School Human Rights Scholarship Award (2012-2013)
  • Bar-Ilan University Law School Award for Master’s Degree Programs (2012)
  • Bar-Ilan University Law School Dean’s Honors (2008)