. – Jeremy I. Levitt, associate dean for International Programs and distinguished professor of International Law at Florida A&M University’s (FAMU) College of Law, was recently appointed chair of the three-person International Technical Advisory Committee (ITAC) of the Liberian Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) by the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, President of the Republic of Liberia. Johnson is Africa’s first democratically-elected female president. According to the TRC Act, ITAC members must be “persons of international distinction and repute.”
The purpose of the TRC is to promote national peace, security, unity and reconciliation by investigating gross human rights and humanitarian law violations including massacres, sexual violations, murder, extra-judicial killings and economic crimes between January 1979 and October 14, 2003, and determine who is most responsible for committing such violations and abuses and their impact on victims.
“We are honored to have someone of Dr. Levitt’s caliber as a member of our faculty,” said James H. Ammons, president of FAMU. “This appointment is indicative of the kind of respect that he has garnered in the field of international affairs. Through his participation, he will not only assist the commission, but be in a better position to prepare our students to compete in the global workplace. We are proud of the work that Dr. Levitt is doing in our College of Law.”
Levitt, whose primary role will be to provide legal and policy direction, advice and oversight over all TRC operations, stated that he was “humbled by the appointment and hope that my presence will help bring peace to the restless souls of the 250,000 victims of the civil war and their families.” On September 4, 2008, Levitt left for his first trip to Liberia as an ITAC advisor.
Commenting on Levitt’s appointment, Dean Pernell stated, “Levitt is a great example of how one person can positively affect the lives of millions and demonstrates the pivotal role the lawyer can play in shaping the world. He will no doubt contribute to peace and justice in Liberia while continuing FAMU’s tradition of public service at home and abroad.”
Levitt formerly served as senior legal advisor to the Carter Center’s rule of law projects in Liberia and as an international election monitor in Liberia in 2005. He is a former World Bank official and UN consultant. He earned his Ph.D. in international relations from the University of Cambridge, St. John’s College, a J.D. from the University of Wisconsin, and a B.A. in political science from Arizona State University.
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