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Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores | CC BY-SA 2.0

This Monday, former United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein was officially named the Distinguished Global Leader-in-Residence at the Perry World House for the spring semester of 2019. 

As part of his role, Al Hussein will make periodic visits to Penn's campus for speaking appointments and to participate in smaller panel events. 

According to the Perry World House site, visits from Leaders-in-Residence will range from two weeks to an entire semester. The overall goal of this initiative is to have Penn students and faculty convene with globally renowned leaders in order to “advance interdisciplinary policy-relevant research.”

On top of his visits to campus, Al Hussein will also be co-teaching a course at Penn Law called “Current Challenges in International Human Rights."

Prior to his four-year service as High Commissioner from 2014-2018, Al Hussein was a multilateral diplomat with expertise in international law, peacekeeping, and international criminal justice. In 2004 and 2009, Al Hussein represented Jordan at the International Court of Justice, and went on to serve as the country’s ambassador to the United States from 2007 to 2010.  He played a central role in the creation of the International Criminal Court, overseeing cases pertaining to genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes.

Al Hussein will serve as Penn’s second Distinguished Global Leader-in-Residence after former Mexican President Felipe Calderón. This past September, Calderón spoke to students at the Perry World House about the relationship between the United States and Mexico in the wake of Trump’s presidency. 

“[Al Hussein] brings unparalleled knowledge of the way international law affects today’s most pressing global challenges, including the protection of human rights. It is crucial that today’s law students learn how international treaties and institutions work — or sometimes do not work — both in theory and in practice,” Penn Law’s dean Ted Ruger said in a statement to Penn Today.

Al Hussein received his bachelor's degree from The Johns Hopkins University and his doctorate from Cambridge University.