Ambassador David Scheffer Awarded Fall 2013 Berlin Prize Fellowship

June 03, 2013

The American Academy in Berlin named Northwestern Law School faculty member Ambassador David J. Scheffer a recipient of the Berlin Prize for the fall 2013 term. Scheffer will be a member of the Academy’s sixteenth class of Fellows, which is comprised during fall 2013 and spring 2014 of twenty-six outstanding scholars, writers, journalists, artists, policy experts, and one composer.

The Berlin Prize affords Fellows the time and resources to pursue independent study and engage with their German counterparts and with Berlin’s vibrant academic, cultural, and political life.

“This is both a terrific honor and opportunity for David,” said Dean Daniel B. Rodriguez. “His excellent scholarship and advocacy help has aided greatly in the development of meaningful international justice mechanisms. This fellowship will allow him to expand that important work.”  

Scheffer, the Mayer Brown/Robert A. Helman Professor of Law and the director of the Bluhm Legal Clinic's Center for International Human Rights at Northwestern Law School, will use his fellowship to develop an in-depth examination of American policy-making during the Yugoslav wars, with particular focus on the years 1993 through 1996. During the first term of the Clinton Administration, Scheffer served on the Deputies Committee of the National Security Council and as senior counsel to Dr. Madeleine Albright, the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations. He will draw upon those experiences to write a comprehensive narrative about how policy was formulated and executed by the United States as war and atrocities swept over Bosnia-Herzegovina and Croatia, and how initiatives at the United Nations and within the North Atlantic Treaty Organization confronted realpolitik in national capitals and among the major players on the ground.

Scheffer is the author of All the Missing Souls: A Personal History of the War Crimes Tribunals, which chronicles his work in the Clinton Administration, including during its second term when he served as the first U.S. ambassador at large for war crimes issues and was instrumental in creating war crimes tribunals for atrocity crimes in the former Yugoslavia, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, and Cambodia. He led the U.S. delegation in negotiations creating the International Criminal Court. In addition to his writing and teaching, Scheffer also serves as the UN Secretary-General’s special expert on United Nations assistance to the Khmer Rouge trials.

The American Academy in Berlin was established in 1994 by Ambassador Richard C. Holbrooke. His goal was to foster greater understanding and dialogue between the people of the United States and the people of Germany. A private, nonprofit, non-partisan center for advanced research in a range of academic and cultural fields, the Academy awards Berlin Prize Fellowships to about two dozen emerging or established scholars, writers, and professionals each year. The Fellows are selected by an independent selection committee, chaired by Richard Sieburth, Professor of French and Comparative Literature at New York University.