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UB Law School Dean Named to Elite Council on Foreign Relations

By Ilene Fleischmann

Release Date: March 2, 2010

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UB Law Dean Makau Mutua was named to the Council on Foreign Relations, a prestigious think tank based in New York City.

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Makau W. Mutua, dean of the University at Buffalo Law School, has been elected to the prestigious 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.

With more than 4,300 members, the council's ranks include top government officials, renowned scholars, business leaders, acclaimed journalists, prominent attorneys and distinguished nonprofit professionals. Members participate in meetings, panel discussions, interviews, lectures, book clubs, and film screenings to discuss and debate major foreign policy issues. In addition, they enjoy broad access to world leaders, senior government officials, members of Congress and prominent thinkers.

The membership rolls include former Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin, who chairs the organization, and such statesmen as Bill Clinton, Henry Kissinger, Condoleezza Rice and Colin Powell; senior journalists such as Fareed Zakaria, Tom Brokaw and Katie Couric; senior academics such as Columbia University President Lee Bollinger and Harvard Professor Henry Louis Gates Jr.; and Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, along with other senior lawyers and judges.

On recommendation of the membership committee, the council's board of directors elected Mutua as a life member, effective immediately. New members are nominated in writing and seconded by at least three other members of the council.

Mutua is a SUNY Distinguished Professor and the Floyd H. & Hilda L. Hurst Faculty Scholar at UB Law. A former director of the Law School's Human Rights Center, he teaches in the areas of international human rights, international business transactions and international law. Mutua has been a visiting professor at Harvard Law School, the University of Iowa College of Law, the University of Puerto Rico School of Law, and the United Nations University for Peace in Costa Rica.

Mutua was educated at the University of Nairobi, in Kenya; the University of Dar-Es-Salaam, in Tanzania; and at Harvard Law School. In 2002-03, while on sabbatical in Kenya, Mutua was appointed chairman of the Task Force on the Establishment of a Truth, Justice, and Reconciliation Commission. He also served as a delegate to the National Constitutional Conference, which produced a contested draft constitution for Kenya.

His many publications include the textbook "Human Rights: A Political and Cultural Critique." In addition to human rights reports for the United Nations and leading nongovernmental organizations, Mutua has authored dozens of articles for such popular publications as The New York Times, Boston Globe, Christian Science Monitor, Daily Nation, East African Standard and The Washington Post. He also has conducted numerous human rights, diplomatic and rule of law missions to countries in Africa, Latin America and Europe.

Mutua recently returned from a weeklong trip to Kenya and Uganda, sponsored by the Ford Foundation, in which he spoke out forcefully in defense of homosexual persons, who face an increasingly hostile political and social environment in Africa.

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 degree programs. Founded in 1846, the University at Buffalo is a member of the Association of American Universities.