During the Law School’s largest international gathering, two HLS alumni were honored for their work in the international arena–Jenö Staehelin LL.M. ’65 for his accomplishments in the world of diplomacy and Sumner Redstone ’47 for his achievements in the global marketplace.
Staehelin, currently the Swiss ambassador to the United Nations, has served for 30 years in the diplomatic realm, including four years as Switzerland’s ambassador to Japan. Calling it “the highest honor that the School or the Association can bestow on any graduate,” Harvard Law School Association President Robert N. Shapiro ’78 presented the HLSA Award to Staehelin during the kickoff lunch of the Worldwide Alumni Congress on Monday, June 25. “As we celebrate the international reach of this Law School, . . . it’s a great honor to present this award to Ambassador Staehelin,” Shapiro said.
Accepting his award, Staehelin spoke about the need for people to “adopt an international approach” and shed their preconceived notions about solving problems. “Much of what we think, what we do, even what we see depends on where we live. How long is your shadow? There are a thousand answers to that question because it depends on where you stand and at what time,” he said.
The next day, Dean Robert Clark ’72 presented the first Harvard Law School Association “Distinguished Achievement Award” to media magnate Sumner Redstone, CEO of Viacom. Clark described the life of Redstone–who has built one of the world’s largest media empires–as a Horatio Alger story. “He has risen from depression-era Boston to the very top of the business world,” said Clark.
In his acceptance speech, Redstone took his fellow HLS alumni on “a quick trip around the world with MTV,” one of Viacom’s most recognized companies. He outlined the cultural and legal challenges routinely confronted in the global entertainment marketplace. “Even a well-developed market like Europe is a mix of over 20 different legal systems and even more different languages and dialects,” he said.
Redstone also spoke fondly about his HLS education. “It’s always a pleasure to return to the give-and-take of the Law School learning environment.”