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"The 75th Anniversary of the Nuremberg Trials: Assessing the Global Path Between Vengeance and Forgiveness." –Martha Minow, 300th Anniversary Professor, Harvard Law School

  • Thursday, February 18, 2021
  • 7:00 PM - 8:00 PM
  • Zoom Event


  • Free

Registration is closed

Distinguished Professor and Former Dean of Harvard Law School, Martha Minow, will speak about what has been dubbed "the greatest trial in history," the International Military Tribunal that tried 21 political and military leaders of Germany's Third Reich.

The global assessment and impact of the Nuremberg Trials led to the establishment of organizations meant to enforce international human rights.  Professor Minow discusses the topics of vengeance and forgiveness and how the rule of law offered a path that was meant to address crimes against humanity, while focusing on facts, individual actions and honoring those who perished or whose lives were destroyed.

Professor Minow will discuss the legal and global implications of Nuremberg with the recurrence of genocides and mass atrocities since World War II. She will assess how the delicate path between vengeance and forgiveness continues to play a role in the investigations and trials of more recent crimes against humanity.

Martha Minow has taught at Harvard Law School since 1981. She is an expert in human rights and advocacy for members of racial and religious minorities and for women, children, and persons with disabilities. She also writes and teaches about digital communications, democracy, privatization, military justice, and ethnic and religious conflict.

In addition to her many scholarly articles published in journals of law, history, and philosophy, her books include When Should Law Forgive? (2019);  The First Global Prosecutor: Promise and Constraints (co-edited, 2015); In Brown’s Wake: Legacies of America’s Constitutional Landmark (2010); Breaking the Cycles of Hatred: Memory, Law and Repair (edited by Nancy Rosenblum with commentary by other authors, 2003); Between Vengeance and Forgiveness: Facing History After Genocide and Mass Violence (1998);

Minow has served on the Center for Strategic and International Studies Commission on Countering Violent Extremism and on the Independent International Commission in Kosovo. She helped to launch Imagine Co-existence, a program of the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, to promote peaceful development in post-conflict societies.

Her honors include the Sargent Shriver Equal Justice Award (2016); the Joseph B. and Toby Gittler Prize, Brandeis University (2016); nine honorary degrees (in law, education, and humane letters) from schools in three countries; the Gold Medal for Outstanding Contribution to Public Discourse, awarded by the Historical Society of Trinity College, Dublin, in recognition of efforts to promote discourse and intellectualism on a world stage; the Holocaust Center Award; and the Sacks-Freund Teaching Award, awarded by the Harvard Law School graduating class.

Minow served as Dean of Harvard Law School between 2009 and 2017, as the inaugural Morgan and Helen Chu Dean and Professor. . As dean, she strengthened public interest and clinical programs; diversity among faculty, staff, and students; interdisciplinary studies; and financial stability for the School.

After completing her undergraduate studies at the University of Michigan, Minow received a master’s degree in education from Harvard and a 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. After her service as Dean, Minow held the Carter Chair in General Jurisprudence, and in 2018, she became the 300th Anniversary University Professor at Harvard University. Her husband, Joseph W. Singer, is the Bussey Professor of Law at Harvard Law School, and their daughter, Mira Singer, is a writer and artist. Minow enjoys watching and discussing movies and keeping in touch with current and former students.

The World Affairs Council Of Rhode Island is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization. 

Mailing Address: 36 Webster Avenue, Narragansett, Rhode Island 02882

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