Jan. 8, 2004
Vol. 23 No. 7

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    Harris School speaker series begins with first president of International Criminal Court

    By Peter Schuler
    News Office

    The Irving B. Harris Graduate School of Public Policy Studies welcomes Philippe Kirsch, the first president of the International Criminal Court in The Hague, Netherlands, to lecture. The lecture, co-sponsored by the World Affairs Council of Northern California, will be held Thursday, Jan. 15, as part of the Harris School’s Center for Policy Practice Major Speakers Series.

    One of the leaders in the planning and creation of the International Criminal Court, Kirsch is an expert on the development of international criminal law on terrorism. Established in 1998 and built in the following years, the International Criminal Court is the first permanent international criminal tribunal to prosecute crimes of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes.

    Kirsch, elected last year when the court finally became operational, has extensive experience in international humanitarian and criminal law, including the suppression of unlawful acts against the safety of maritime navigation and unlawful acts of violence at airports servicing international civil aviation.

    Kirsch, who will speak from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. at the University’s Gleacher Center at 450 N. Cityfront Plaza Dr., is an attorney and career Canadian civil servant. He was most recently Canada’s Ambassador to Sweden. He has written extensively on the International Criminal Court and the International Tribunals and Courts. He served as chairman of the Drafting Committee of the International Conference on the Problem of War Victims in 1993, and as chairman of the preparatory and subsequent intergovernmental Working Groups of Government Experts on the Protection of War Victims in 1993 and 1995. He also is a member of the Group of International Advisers to the International Committee of the Red Cross and was chairman of the Canadian National Committee on Humanitarian Law. Kirsch’s lecture is free and open to the public, but registration is required. To register, contact Andy Krochalk at 773-702-5063 or andyk1@uchicago.edu.

    Other events in the Center for Policy Practice’s Major Speakers Series have included lectures by Laurent Fabius, a member of the French Parliament, former Prime Minister of France and President of the French National Assembly, who is a lecturer at the Harris School, and David Broder, Pulitzer-prize winning, syndicated columnist and reporter at the Washington Post, who earned both his A.B. and A.M. degrees at Chicago.

    Created last year, the Center for Policy Practice connects Harris School students’ classroom experiences to innovative policy-makers and the experiences of the real world. “We believe the practical application of skills is an essential aspect of public policy training, enabling students to become effective leaders and to make a difference in the world around them,” said Susan Mayer, Dean of the Harris School.

    In addition to the Major Speakers Series, the Center for Policy Practice provides programming and infrastructure for students pursuing master’s degrees in public policy at the Harris School to perform policy analysis services for community organizations. “The center enables Harris students to apply their classroom skills to real policy issues and increases their professional development through interaction with experienced policy-makers,” explained Eileen McCarthy, Director of the Center for Policy Practice.

    Programs include practicums, which offer agencies and organizations the services of Harris students; these students work on a specific project 10 hours per week for clients in teams of three to five and supervised by a Harris School faculty member. “The practicums benefit everyone involved,” said Mayer. “The students are exposed firsthand to the institutional, economic and political forces that shape public policy, while they provide high-quality, analytical skills to the sponsoring organization.”

    The Harris School’s Mentor Program matches graduate students in one-on-one relationships with approximately 100 volunteer mentors who are leading policy professionals. The mentors are all prominent individuals in a wide range of government, not-for-profit and private organizations and agencies.

    The Harris School’s founding donor, Irving Harris, conceived the Mentor Program in 1988. It is the only program of its type operating at a leading graduate school of public policy studies.