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New York, Dec. 10, 2010—The late Louis Henkin, University Professor Emeritus, and his wife Alice Hartman Henkin, were among those who received Friday the Eleanor Roosevelt Award from Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton for their work in the human rights field.
For more than a half-century, Louis Henkin was a towering figure in the study of human rights law, a field he was credited with founding. Henkin was among the first and most forceful advocates of using the lens of the law to focus on a nation’s obligations to safeguard the equality and dignity of its citizens.
Henkin’s numerous books, articles, and amicus briefs are cited in hundreds of federal and state court opinions. In 1993, a federal appellate judge referred to him as the “preeminent constitutional scholar in the area of international law.” He died Oct. 14 at the age of 92.
Alice Hartman Henkin has been director of the Justice and Society Program at the Aspen Institute for more than three decades. She has brought together lawyers, business leaders and educators to help shape U.S. polices on human rights, international law and peacekeeping. Louis Henkin was among the most prominent and sought-after lecturers at those programs.
Also receiving the Eleanor Roosevelt Award this year is Wade Henderson, president and CEO of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights; and Sarah Cleto Rial, program director of My Sister’s Keeper, a Boston-based group that works to advance political, social and economic justice for women and girls in Sudan.
The Eleanor Roosevelt Award for Human Rights was established in 1998 and honors U.S. citizens who advocate for human rights, both at home and abroad.
It was on Dec. 10, 1948, when Roosevelt presented the Universal Declaration of Human Rights to the United Nations. Two years later, all nations were invited by the U.N. General Assembly to observe Dec. 10 as Human Rights Day.
Columbia Law School, founded in 1858, stands at the forefront of legal education and of the law in a global society. Columbia Law School joins its traditional strengths in international and comparative law, constitutional law, administrative law, business law and human rights law with pioneering work in the areas of intellectual property, digital technology, sexuality and gender, criminal, national security, and environmental law.
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