Since arriving at the University of Georgia School of Law in 2011, I have had the very great honor of holding the Emily & Ernest Woodruff Chair in International Law – a chair established decades ago to welcome the renowned international lawyer and academic, Louis B. Sohn (prior posts). Professor Sohn’s record of achievement as an author and teacher, and his public service as well, is an inspiration. Indeed, his oil portrait greets me whenever I step a few doors from my office and into the Louis B. Sohn Library on International Relations, both situated in our law school’s Dean Rusk International Law Center.
I was thus very pleased to contribute, along with many others (including some of my Georgia Law colleagues), to the recent commemoration of Professor Sohn in the city of his birth: Lviv, Ukraine, known as Lwów, or Lemberg, and located in Poland, when he was born there on March 1, 1914. As detailed in Philippe Sands‘ masterful 2016 book, East West Street, the city was home not only to Sohn, but also to two other 20th C. giants of international law, Hersh Lauterpacht (1897-1960) and Raphael Lemkin (1914-2006).
The commemoration took place last November in Lviv. Featured were a workshop and conference, a multimedia art performance, and the unveiling of 3 plaques, each honoring one of these sons of Lviv.
Sohn’s plaque, depicted below, includes a photo, short bio, and 1981 quote of Sohn, in two languages/alphabets. The English version says:
Louis B. Sohn
1914-2006 Lemberg/Lwów-Washington, D.C.
graduate of law faculty and diplomatic science of Jan Kazimierz University (now Lviv University); renowned international lawer, professor at Harvard University, University of Georgia and George Washington University; President, American Society of International Law (1988-1990); participant in drafting the United Nations Charter and the U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea
To deny the existence of an international law of human rights at this time is no longer defensible (1981)
1932-1935 Lived in this building
This plaque has been made possible with the support of the City of Lviv, the Center for Urban History, family, friends and colleagues