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Prof. Ní Aoláin Receives Leverhulme Grant for Transitional Justice Work

AUGUST 22, 2008—Fionnuala D. Ní Aoláin, Dorsey & Whitney Professor of Law at the University of Minnesota Law School, has been awarded a $25,000 grant by the Leverhulme Trust in recognition and support of her interdisciplinary research in the field of transitional justice. She is concurrently a professor of law, as well as co-founder and associate director, at the Transitional Justice Institute of the University of Ulster, Belfast, Northern Ireland.

The Leverhulme Trust, one of the largest providers of research funding in the United Kingdom, was established in 1925 under the will of Victorian businessman and entrepreneur William Hesketh Lever. It supports projects and professional training across all academic disciplines.

In keeping with Lever's strong belief in the importance of the individual in advancing the public good, awards often go toward furthering the aspirations of talented individuals. Criteria include the applicant's compelling ability and personal vision, and the work's interdisciplinary nature and contribution to the community.

Earlier this year, Ní Aoláin also received a 2008-09 Interdisciplinary International Institutional Partnership grant of approximately $25,000 from the University of Minnesota's Office of International Programs. Given to establish and strengthen interdisciplinary partnerships between the University and international institutions, the grant will support Ní Aoláin's Transitional Justice Partnership with the United Kingdom and Ireland. It will provide funding toward visitor exchanges, an international interdisciplinary conference, and the semester-exchange program for Minnesota students at the Transitional Justice Institute.

Ní Aoláin received her LL.B. and Ph.D. in law at Queen's University Law Faculty in Belfast and an LL.M. from Columbia Law School. She was the first woman and first academic lawyer to be nominated by the Irish government to the European Court of Human Rights (in 2004 and 2007) and is currently an elected member of the Executive Committee for the Committee on the Administration of Justice, Belfast, and a member of the Irish Council for Civil Liberties, Dublin.

Law School Dean David Wippman, who notes that the Leverhulme foundation "is perhaps best described as the U.K. equivalent of the U.S. Academy of Arts and Science," invites the legal community to join him in congratulating Ní Aoláin for being selected by the Leverhulme Research Awards Advisory Committee and the Fund's Trustees.