Won Kidane

Professor of Law and Director of the South Africa Program


Won L. Kidane, JD, SJD is a professor of law and the Director of the South Africa Program, which offers an opportunity for upper-level Villanova Law students to spend a semester in Cape Town in collaboration with the University of Cape Town. 

Before joining Villanova Law, Kidane taught at Seattle University School of Law for 15 years, which followed three years of teaching at Penn State Law.  Prior to joining the legal academy, he practiced law in Washington, DC with Hunton & Williams, and Piper Rudnick (now DLA Piper) for four years. 

Professor Kidane’s areas of expertise include international arbitration and litigation, comparative law and the legal aspects of China-Africa economic relations.  He is the author and co-author of five books and more than 40 law review articles and book chapters.  His most recent comprehensive book – Africa’s International Investment Law Regimes is expected to be released by Oxford University Press in November 2023.  

With extensive practice representing African states, their agencies and instrumentalities in international commercial and investment arbitration in matters administered by the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA), International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), London Court of International Arbitration (LCIA) and sustained scholarly work and teaching, Kidane is globally among the leading experts of international commercial and investment arbitration.

In addition to his teaching, scholarly work, and practice, Kidane is a member of numerous associations including the Academic Forum for Investor-State Dispute Settlement Reform, the Academic Forum for Institute of Transnational Arbitration (ITA), and the American Society of International Law (ASIL) (past co-chair of the Africa Interest Group). He has also served as an arbitrator and is on the roster of arbitrators of some of the leading arbitral institutions in the Global South, including the Hong Kong International Arbitration Center, (HKIAC) Mauritius International Arbitration Center (MIAC), China Economic International Arbitration Center (CEITAC) and Saudi Center for Commercial Arbitration (SCCA).

Kidane has offered hundreds of individual and panel presentations in Africa, Asia, Europe, the Middle East and the United States. He currently teaches international arbitration and comparative law.  

Practice Experience

  • Seattle University, Professor of Law
  • ADDIS LAW GROUP LLP, Washington, DC, Principle
  • Peking University School of Transnational Law (STL), teaching International Commercial Arbitration and International and Comparative Law
  • Penn State Dickinson School of Law, Visiting Assistant Professor of Law
  • Hunton & Williams, Washington, DC, Associate
  • Piper Rudnick (now DLA-Piper), Washington, DC, Associate

Office: Rm 238, John F. Scarpa Hall
Phone: 610-519-7064
Fax: 610-519-6837


Courses and Seminars

  • Comparative Law
  • International Commercial Arbitration


  • Georgetown Law Center, SJD
  • University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, JD
  • University of Georgia School of Law, LLM
  • Addis Ababa University, LLB