BUFFALO, N.Y. -- A University at Buffalo Law School professor
with a special interest in the legal system and culture of Thailand
will receive the honorary degree of doctor of laws from one of that
nation's major universities.
SUNY Distinguished Service Professor, David M. Engel, will be
honored January 24, 2011, at the commencement ceremonies of Chiang
Mai University, located in Chiang Mai—the largest and most
culturally significant city in northern Thailand. The degree will
be conferred by Crown Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn, daughter of
Thailand's King Bhumibol Adulyadej. It was announced by Dr. Pongsak
Angkasith, president of Chiang Mai University.
Engel, who served in the Peace Corps in Thailand where he met
his wife, Jaruwan S. Engel, has for many years taken UB law
students to Chiang Mai during the January "bridge term," in a
course called The Legal Culture of Thailand. Engel works closely
with Chiang Mai University and its law school to ensure a rich
cross-cultural experience for the UB Law students. Students study
the interaction of law and culture, explore a national legal system
based on civil law rather than common law, and learn about the
changing nature of Thai culture, which is being deeply influenced
"When you're in another culture, you can see more clearly how
the law is linked to its cultural surroundings," Engel has said of
the rationale for the course. "My hope is that the students will
then see that connection in their own cultural situation."
The honorary degree recognizes that bridge-building work. "His
thoughtfulness and friendship have created a close bond with Chiang
Mai University faculty members and students, particularly with the
group of law professors with whom he has collaborated most
closely," the university's proclamation says.
"Professor Engel was a key figure in initiating a scholarly
exchange program between Chiang Mai University and the University
at Buffalo and will remain important to the future of that program.
His scholarship is well known and extraordinarily abundant and will
forever enrich the Chiang Mai University Faculty of Law."
UB Law School Dean Makau W. Mutua states, "Professor Engel is
among a small cadre of American professors that has distinguished
itself with the most searching and edge-cutting study of culture,
society and law in Asia. His work on Thailand is simply unequaled.
With this honor, which recognizes his excellence as a scholar,
Professor Engel has received a fitting tribute from the highest
authorities in Thailand and one of the premier academic
institutions in Asia. We at the UB Law School are honored that
Professor Engel calls our law school home."
Engel, a specialist in interdisciplinary studies of law and
society in the United States and other countries, has studied and
written about Thai law for more than 30 years. His most recent
book, co-authored with Jaruwan S. Engel, is Tort, Custom, and
Karma: Globalization and Legal Consciousness in Thailand
(Stanford University Press, 2010), a study of injuries and the law
in a rapidly changing Asian society.
Since its founding in 1887, the University at Buffalo Law School
– the State University of New York system's only law school
– has established an excellent reputation and is widely
regarded as a leader in legal education. Its cutting-edge
curriculum provides both a strong theoretical foundation and the
practical tools graduates need to succeed in a competitive
marketplace, wherever they choose to practice. A special emphasis
on interdisciplinary studies, public service and opportunities for
hands-on clinical education makes UB Law unique among the nation's
premier public law schools.
The University at Buffalo is a premier research-intensive
public university, a flagship institution in the State University
of New York system and its largest and most comprehensive campus.
UB's more than 28,000 students pursue their academic interests
through more than 300 undergraduate, graduate and professional
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member of the Association of American Universities.