Release Date: April 6, 2011
BUFFALO, N.Y. -- University at Buffalo Law School Dean Makau Mutua, SUNY Distinguished Professor and Floyd H. and Hilda L. Hurst Faculty Scholar, was elected vice president of the American Society of International Law (ASIL) March 26. The ASIL is the most prestigious and largest organization of international lawyers in the world.
An influential voice on the world stage, Mutua has conducted numerous human rights, diplomatic and rule-of-law missions in Africa, Latin America and Europe. He has participated in public forums in many parts of the world, including Japan, Brazil, France and Ethiopia. Chairman of the Kenya Human Rights Commission in his native country, Mutua sits on the boards of several international organizations. He previously served as director of the Africa Project at the Lawyers Committee for Human Rights.
The mission of the ASIL is to foster the study of international law and to promote the establishment and maintenance of international relations on the basis of law and justice. ASIL is a nonprofit, nonpartisan, educational membership organization founded in 1906 and chartered by Congress in 1950. The society holds Category II Consultative Status to the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations and is a constituent society of the American Council of Learned Societies. The society is headquartered at Tillar House in Washington, D.C.
The society's 4,000 members from nearly 100 nations include attorneys, academics, corporate counsel, judges, representatives of governments and nongovernmental organizations, international civil servants, students and others interested in international law. Through meetings, publications, information services and outreach programs, ASIL advances international law scholarship and education for international law professionals as well as for broader policy-making audiences and the public.
Mutua is a life-member of the Council on Foreign Relations, a New York City-based think tank and membership organization that studies major international issues and publishes the influential journal Foreign Policy.
He is the author of "Human Rights: A Political and Cultural Critique" (2002); "Kenya's Quest for Democracy: Taming Leviathan (2008) and Human Rights NGO's in East Africa: Political and Normative Tensions" (2008). His writings also include scholarly articles, human rights reports for the United Nations and leading nongovernmental organizations, and articles for leading publications including The New York Times, the Boston Globe and The Washington Post. His expertise and commentary on human rights has been cited by such prominent media as National Public Radio, the BBC and "NewsHour with Jim Lehrer."
While on sabbatical in his native Kenya, he was appointed by the Kenyan government to chair the Task Force on the Establishment of a Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission. He also was a delegate to the National Constitutional Conference, the forum that produced a contested draft constitution for Kenya.
He was educated at the University of Nairobi, Kenya; the University of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania and at Harvard Law School.