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Sorensen Center for International Peace and Justice Launched at CUNY Law School with Kofi Annan as Keynote Speaker

October 29, 2014

The Sorensen Center for International Peace and Justice, the first named Center at CUNY School of Law, marked its official opening on October 27, 2014, with a keynote speech by Kofi Annan, former Secretary-General of the United Nations. More than 200 guests filled the Dave Fields Auditorium to celebrate the opening of the Center, named after Ted Sorensen, long-time close advisor and speechwriter to President John F. Kennedy. As a partner at the New York law firm of Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP, where Sorensen spent the remainder of his career, he helped emerging democracies embrace and carry out the principles of freedom.

Former United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan delivers the keynote address.

Former United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan delivers the keynote address.

“I can think of no tribute to Ted Sorensen more fitting than an institution which will both challenge young minds and equip them with the tools of leadership,” said Annan. “There are no subjects more appropriate or more worthy of Ted’s intellectual legacy than the complex and challenging pursuit of international peace and justice. This is a moral imperative for all of us who, like Ted, abhor violence and human suffering, and who believe that justice is not justice if it’s not extended to all.”

Joining Annan in the occasion were Justice Richard J. Goldstone, the Center’s inaugural Scholar-In-Residence; Gillian and Juliet Sorensen, Ted Sorensen’s wife and daughter, respectively; CUNY Law School Dean Michelle J. Anderson; and Camille Massey (’95), the Sorensen Center’s Founding Executive Director. Grammy Award winning artist Alicia Keys performed two songs at the event, including “We Are Here,” which is also the name of a social justice movement founded by the singer. The program opened with six CUNY Law students offering a welcome in different languages, representing the many languages spoken at the law school.

CUNY Law students offer greetings in six different languages.

CUNY Law students offer greetings in different languages.

“We are delighted and honored to be the home of the Sorensen Center for International Peace and Justice,” said Anderson. “Ted Sorensen was devoted to the public good, and his life was the embodiment of our motto, ‘Law in the service of human needs.’ ”

“At the Sorensen Center, we will act locally and globally, building on more than 30 years of excellent work at CUNY Law School,” said Massey. “We will partner with other institutions around the world and mentor students—as Ted mentored so many—to become leaders in the field.”

The Sorensen Center plans to collaborate with other lawyers and institutions nationally and internationally to advance intellectual exchange and advocacy and to protect the rights of those affected by instability, conflict, and repression. Through seminars led by Scholars-in-Residence, an annual Retreat on Communications, and global summer internship placements, the Sorensen Center will equip students with international experience and expertise. The Sorensen Center will foster the legacy of Ted Sorensen as a servant of international peace and justice by nurturing students committed to practicing public interest law. More about the Sorensen Center is available at law.cuny.edu/sorensen.

The next Sorensen Center event will be a Public Square Live discussion with Scholar-In-Residence Justice Richard J. Goldstone and Albany Law School Dean Penelope Andrews on “South Africa’s Transition to Democracy: Lessons for Peace and Justice” on November 6. Visit here for more information and to register.

Camille Massey, Gillian Sorensen, Justice Richard Goldstone, Marge Hornblower, Juliet Sorensen, Dean Michelle Anderson and former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan

Camille Massey, Gillian Sorensen, Justice Richard Goldstone, Marge Hornblower, Juliet Sorensen, Michelle Anderson and former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan

Learn more about the Sorensen Center

 

Related Categories: General News, Spotlight

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