Professor Emeritus Thomas Buergenthal Receives Stockholm Human Rights Award

December 11, 2018

Thomas Buergenthal, Lobingier Professor Emeritus of Comparative Law and Jurisprudence, has received the 2018 Stockholm Human Rights Award in recognition for his work advancing international justice and strengthening the respect of human rights. He was honored in a ceremony in Stockholm, Sweden, on November 20, 2018. 

Established in 2009 by the International Bar Association, the International Legal Assistance Consortium, and the Swedish Bar Association, the Stockholm Human Rights Award is given annually to an individual or organization for outstanding contributions to human rights and the rule of law. Past recipients include George Soros and the International Criminal Court.

A Holocaust survivor, human rights advocate, international jurist, and widely respected scholar, Professor Buergenthal joined the GW Law faculty in 1989. In 2000, he was elected to the International Court of Justice in The Hague, Netherlands, where he served for a decade. He returned to the law school in 2010.

Professor Buergenthal came to the United States at the age of 17. He spent the first 11 years of his life in various German camps and is one of the youngest survivors of the Auschwitz and Sachsenhausen concentration camps. 

Considered one of the world’s leading international human rights experts, Professor Buergenthal was a Judge and President of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights as well as President of the Administrative Tribunal of the Inter-American Development Bank. He was a member of the UN Human Rights Committee and the UN Truth Commission for El Salvador. He also was a member of the Ethics Commission of the International Olympic Committee. He is the honorary president of the Inter-American Institute of Human Rights in San José, Costa Rica, and was honorary president of the American Society of International Law.

Professor Buergenthal’s long and distinguished academic career includes service as Dean of Washington College of Law at American University and endowed professorships at the University of Texas and Emory University, where he was also the Director of the Human Rights Program of the Carter Center. He is the author or co-author of more than a dozen books including A Lucky Child: A Memoir of Surviving Auschwitz as a Young Boy and is the recipient of numerous prizes and awards. He has received 16 honorary degrees from various U.S., European, and Latin American universities.