Former ICJ Judge, Human Rights Advocate, Auschwitz Survivor to Address Duquesne Law Graduates
The Honorable Thomas Buergenthal, a former judge of the International Court of Justice (ICJ), will deliver the keynote address at Duquesne University's 99th Annual School of Law Commencement Ceremony on Sunday, June 3, at the A.J. Palumbo Center.
Buergenthal spent the first 11 years of his life in various German concentration camps and is one of the youngest survivors of the Auschwitz and Sachsenhausen camps. He moved to the United States when he was 17.
Considered one of the leading international human rights experts, Buergenthal was elected in 2000 as a judge to the ICJ in The Hague, The Netherlands, and served that court for 10 years. In addition, he was a judge of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights from 1979-1991 during which he served as president from 1989-1994. Buergenthal is a member of the Ethics Commission of the International Olympic Committee; served as president of the Administrative Tribunal of the Inter-American Development Bank; and was a member of the UN Human Rights Committee and the UN Truth Commission for El Salvador.
"Judge Buergenthal is a distinguished jurist, a leading voice on international human rights and a respected figure around the globe," said Law School Dean Ken Gormley. "I'm proud that our graduating students selected him to serve as their Commencement speaker, and honored that he accepted the invitation."
Buergenthal has written and co-authored more than a dozen books, including A Lucky Child: A Memoir of Surviving Auschwitz as a Young Boy. He serves on numerous editorial boards for legal journals including the Human Rights Law Journal and the American Journal of International Law.
As an academic, Buergenthal has taught at various institutions including the Washington College of Law at American University, the University of Texas and Emory University, where he directed the Human Rights Program of the Carter Center. He currently serves as the Lobingier Professor of Comparative Law and Jurisprudence at George Washington University Law School.
Founded in 1878, Duquesne is consistently ranked among the nation's top Catholic research universities for its award-winning faculty and tradition of academic excellence. The University is nationally ranked by U.S. News and World Report and the Princeton Review for its rich academic programs in nine schools of study for nearly 10,000 graduate and undergraduate students, and by the Washington Monthly for service and contributing to students' social mobility. Duquesne is a member of the U.S. President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll with Distinction for its contributions to Pittsburgh and communities around the globe. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Princeton Review's Guide to Green Colleges acknowledge Duquesne's commitment to sustainability.