Friday, June 12, 2009

Martha Minow, new Harvard Law Dean

Heartfelt congratulations to our colleague Martha Minow, just named the new Dean of Harvard Law School.
She is, as is evident from prior IntLawGrrls posts, the newest addition to the IntLawDean ranks.
Harvard's official announcement rightly describes Martha (right), the Jeremiah Smith Jr. Professor of Law, as

a distinguished legal scholar with interests that range from international human rights to equality and inequality, from religion and pluralism to managing mass tort litigation, from family law and education law to the privatization of military, schooling, and other governmental activities.

(photo credit)
Her book Between Vengeance and Forgiveness: Facing History After Genocide and Mass Violence (1998) remains a landmark in the literature of transitional justice. Published just years after the end of the Cold War and the beginning of international human rights enforcement, it's a brilliant study of truth commissions, war crimes trials, and reparations bids in contexts as varied as Latin America and South Africa, Nuremberg and Bosnia. It's been followed by other books also invaluable to to all who care about human rights in this new century, among them the just-published Government by Contract: Outsourcing and American Democracy (2009), co-authored with her Harvard colleague Jody Freeman.
A member of the Independent International Commission on Kosovo, Martha has played a lead role in “Imagine Coexistence,” a project of the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees that works for peaceful coexistence after violent ethnic conflict.
She is also a strong proponent of "Bringing Human Rights Home," not coincidentally the subject of a 2008 Harvard Human Rights Journal symposium in which IntLawGrrl Stephanie Farrior and I had the honor of taking part with her. She's co-directed studies of U.S. responses to recent immigrants, and of public school access for disabled children, and has served on many human rights-related boards.
Martha joined Harvard's law faculty in 1981 after having served as a law clerk to Judge David Bazelon of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit and to U.S. Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall. She holds a bachelor's degree from the University of Michigan,a master’s in education from the Harvard Graduate School of Education, and a law degree from Yale.
As Harvard President Drew Gilpin Faust said of Martha in announcing the appointment:

'She’s a scholar of remarkable intelligence, imagination, and scope, with a passion for legal education and a deep sense of how the law can serve essential public purposes.'

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