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University of Iowa News Release

May 26, 2006

Weston Named New Interim Director Of UI Center For Human Rights

Burns H. Weston, the Bessie Dutton Murray Distinguished Professor of Law Emeritus at the University of Iowa College of Law and UI Center for Human Rights Senior Scholar, will become the new interim director for the UI Center for Human Rights (UICHR), effective immediately and continuing until a new director has been appointed. Weston succeeds Kenneth J. Cmiel, who died unexpectedly in February as the result of an inoperable brain tumor. Burns takes over for William Reisinger, associate provost and dean of UI International Programs, who served as a temporary interim director earlier this spring.

"The Executive Board of the Center decided to delay appointment of a new director for a year while it seeks input on the Center's priority activities," Reisinger said. "To ensure highly qualified leadership during this more extended interim period, I asked Burns Weston to take up the duties."

Weston is the former and founding director of the UICHR, and an internationally renowned scholar in international human rights law. Weston has spent the bulk of his career teaching, writing and working on behalf of human rights. In September 2005, his multidisciplinary book "Child Labor and Human Rights: Making Children Matter," which he edited and to which he contributed, was published by Lynne Rienner Publishers under UICHR auspices. 

A greatly revised third edition of the textbook "Human Rights in the World Community: Issues and Action," edited by Weston and political scientist Richard Pierre Claude, will be published this year. Weston founded the UIHCR as an outgrowth of activities surrounding "Global Focus: Human Rights'98," the world's largest academically based commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights. "Global Focus: Human Rights '98" brought many Nobel laureates, dignitaries, scholars and other important international human rights figures to Iowa City.

"I am honored to have been asked to assist the Center in this difficult time of transition," Weston said. "I will do my best to expand the UICHR's curricular efforts, raise its profile worldwide, and otherwise fulfill the goals that Ken Cmiel and the UICHR Executive Board so wisely and creatively charted for it."  

The UICHR is affiliated with UI International Programs, which consists of a number of offices, centers, academic programs, research projects and services. Organized under the associate provost and dean for international programs, these units serve to further internationalize the campus and community and promote global scholarship, research and teaching.

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