September 04, 2009
Harvard University President Drew Faust officially introduced Martha Minow to the Harvard Law School community as the new dean at a reception in Minow’s honor on September 2.
“[Martha] is someone who has won the admiration, both intellectual and personal, of a remarkable array of colleagues and students and alumni,” said Faust. “People spoke to me of her energy, her drive, her intellectual range and curiosity, her appreciation for different points of view, her caring and patience and worth, but also of her toughness and high standards and inner steel; her passion for the law and for its ability to change people’s lives for the better; and, of her uncommon ability to bring people together for common goals.”
On July 1, Minow was named the 12th Dean of Harvard Law School. She succeeds Elena Kagan ’86, who left the deanship in March to become U.S. Solicitor General.
“I am extraordinarily humbled and honored to play a role in the school where I grew up,” said Minow. “I have spent more than half my life here, and I am unbelievably grateful to the people in this room and to the people who preceded you in helping to teach me to be the kind of person I hope to be, and I continue to learn to be.”
A member of the Law School faculty since 1981, Minow is a distinguished legal scholar with interests that range from international human rights to equality and inequality, from religion and pluralism to managing mass tort litigation, from family law and education law to the privatization of military, schooling, and other governmental activities. She is also a widely admired teacher who chaired the Law School’s curricular reform efforts of recent years and was recognized with the School’s Sacks-Freund Award for Teaching Excellence in 2005.
In addition to many articles in legal and other journals, Minow’s publications include the books “Partners, Not Rivals: Privatization and the Public Good” (2002), “Breaking the Cycles of Hatred: Memory, Law, and Repair” (2002), “Between Vengeance and Forgiveness: Facing History After Genocide and Mass Violence” (1998), “Not Only for Myself: Identity, Politics, and the Law” (1997), and “Making All the Difference: Inclusion, Exclusion, and American Law” (1990).
A member of the Independent International Commission on Kosovo, she played a leading role in the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees’ “Imagine Coexistence” project, aimed at promoting peaceful coexistence after violent ethnic conflict. In addition, she has co-directed a multidisciplinary study of U.S. responses to recent immigrants, as well as a federally sponsored center supporting access to the general curriculum for public school children with disabilities.
After completing her undergraduate studies at the University of Michigan, Minow received a master’s degree in education from the Harvard Graduate School of Education and her law degree from Yale. She clerked for Judge David Bazelon of the United States Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit and then for Justice Thurgood Marshall of the Supreme Court of the United States.