Participants at Spring Reunions joined the School in a special program honoring Professor Abram Chayes ’49 who received the HLSA Award, the association’s highest honor, for his service as an “inspirational teacher and distinguished scholar, advocate for the rights of sovereign nations and the protection of the global environment, [and] beloved mentor to generations of Harvard Law students.”
The events included a two-day conference organized by the Graduate Program with panel discussions on topics from transnational public law litigation to the role of courts and truth commissions in establishing global justice (audio and visual highlights of the conference are available). Many of the panelists were former participants in the Ford Fellows in International Law program, developed by Professor Chayes to support aspiring international law teachers.
“Abe stands for a Harvard that embraces change even as it upholds tradition,” said Professor Anne-Marie Slaughter ’85, Graduate Program director, who along with Dean Robert Clark ’72 and HLSA President Jacques Salès LL.M. ’67 offered tributes to Chayes. “He is the product of an era of unapologetic hierarchy—everyone’s GPA was calculated and published—and he was at the top. He was president of the Law Review. He won the Fay Diploma. He clerked for Felix Frankfurter. He was one of the “best and the brightest” (albeit at a time when “best and bright” was synonymous with “male and white”), but he spoke for ideals of equal opportunity, fairness, and justice—and when the time came to test those ideals within the Law School, he lived up to his commitments. He changed and grew with the School. Harvard Law School is more diverse and inclusive now, a place more tolerant of multiple talents and paths to success. It is also more international. For Abe it is the best place; for generations of students, friends, and colleagues, he embodies what is best in it.”