In Memoriam Burns H. Weston (1933-2015)
110 Am. J. Int’l L. 480 (2016)
11 Pages Posted: 18 Oct 2019
Date Written: July 31, 2019
This memoriam honors the life of Burns H. Weston (1933-2015). All who knew him, as friend, colleague, student, or collaborator, marveled at his seemingly boundless energy and determination, his focused devotion to whatever project involved him, his deep intellect and flowing humor, his endless imagination for creating a better world, his talent at institution building, and his ongoing curiosity propelling a dedication to achieving progress in the human condition. His professional life featured an inexhaustible determination to use international law to protect human dignity around the world. A prolific scholar, Weston’s scholarship had a number of influences. He became involved with the campus chapter of the NAACP in its fight against racial discrimination while a college student, while also being exposed to international travel at an early age. His understanding of law and international law he attributed to his time at Yale Law School with Myres S. McDougal and Harold D. Lasswell and their Law, Science, and Policy jurisprudence. Weston was an esteemed faculty member at the University of Iowa College of Law, where he developed the international and comparative law program and contributed to Iowa Law’s national and global reputations. He co-founded the University of Iowa Center for Human Rights, serving five years as its inaugural director, later returning as interim director, and serving as Senior Scholar until his death. Weston firmly believed that his human rights scholarship, as prolific and prominent as it was in devising and clarifying progressive rights protective processes under law, must necessarily be accompanied by his personal participation in situations of human rights “law in action,” and by, in his words, his “weighing in” on major contemporary human rights questions. His convictions coupled with his energy in this regard were strong, and he often exhibited personal courage in acting on them.
Keywords: international law, human rights, Burns Weston
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