Human Rights Advocate Aryeh Neier to Receive 2014 Wolfgang Friedmann Memorial Award

Columbia Journal of Transnational Law Selects Neier for Outstanding Contributions to Field of International Law
New York, March 17, 2014—Human rights champion Aryeh Neier, president emeritus of the Open Society Foundations, will receive the 40th annual Wolfgang Friedmann Memorial Award from the Columbia Journal of Transnational Law at a March 26 award dinner at the ‘21’ Club in New York City.
Earlier in the day, Neier will appear at the Columbia Society of International Law’s annual Friedmann Conference to discuss developments within international human rights movements that he witnessed during his long and storied career in the field. The conference will also feature two expert panel discussions on “Constitutionalism and Human Rights in the Middle East: A Comparative Perspective” and “In the Name of National Security: Challenges for Human Rights Advocacy in the Post-9/11 Era.”
Human rights advocate and award recipient Aryeh Neier
A refugee from Nazi Germany, Neier has been a prominent advocate for human rights for half a century. After serving as national executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union for eight years, he co-founded and led Human Rights Watch as executive director for more than a decade. He was president of the Open Society Foundations for 19 years before stepping into his current emeritus role. Neier has taught law at New York University, Georgetown University, the University of Siena, and the Paris School of International Affairs at Sciences Po.
Since 1975, the Columbia Journal of Transnational Law has presented the Wolfgang Friedmann Memorial Award to a distinguished scholar or practitioner who has made outstanding contributions to the field of international law.
“We are thrilled to present the 40th Anniversary Friedmann Award to such a celebrated human rights activist, lawyer and scholar,” said Ramya Ravishankar ‘14, editor-in-chief of the Journal. “Mr. Neier’s contributions to the fields of national and international human rights are at the very heart of what the Friedmann Award celebrates.”

The Friedmann Award was established by students to honor the memory of Wolfgang G. Friedmann, a member of the Columbia Law School faculty from 1955 until his untimely death in 1972. Friedmann was a world-famous expert on international law, and in 1961, founded the Journal of Transnational Law. A native of Germany, Friedmann immigrated to the United States where he made a name for himself as a passionate advocate for a world order based on mutual respect among nations. He is perhaps best known for his denunciations of the Nazi Party when he worked as a jurist in Germany in the early 1930s.
Previous Friedmann Award recipients have included Dr. Shirin Ebadi, Iran’s first female judge and winner of the 2003 Nobel Peace Prize; Sandra Day O’Connor, former associate justice of the United States Supreme Court; and Boutros Boutros-Ghali, the former secretary-general of the United Nations.
Advised by team of faculty and alumni who specialize in international law, the Journal of Transnational Law is the second-oldest international law journal in the United States and has showcased the work of generations of scholars.