By John MassonDec. 28, 2012
When you've had a career as distinguished as Michigan Law Professor Bruno Simma, it's hard to make an impression with just any old award.
The American Society of International Law (ASIL) managed to do just that with an award that's anything but ordinary when it chose Prof. Simma as the 2013 recipient of its Manley O. Hudson Medal. It's the organization's highest honor, and Simma is the third Michigan Law professor to receive it.
"It was a total surprise," said Prof. Simma, reached in The Hague, where he's now one of three neutral appointees on the Iran-United States Claims Tribunal. He previously served as a judge on the International Court of Justice, as well. "I hadn't heard anything about it."
Prof. Simma's relationship with Michigan Law stretches back to 1986, when he first served as a visiting professor while a member of the law faculty at the University of Munich. He held a joint Munich-Ann Arbor faculty appointment until 1992, returned to Ann Arbor as a visitor in 1995, and this year joined the tenured faculty on a part-time basis.
He added that he's still coming to grips with the fact ASIL singled him out for the honor.
"When you look at the recipients in the last 20 or 25 years, you realize this was the cream of the cream," Prof. Simma said. "To just suddenly belong to this group, it's a great honor, but I cannot say I have the feeling that I deserve it."
Others, including Michigan Law Dean Evan Caminker, respectfully disagreed.
"This is truly a spectacular and well-deserved honor, and I join the rest of the faculty at Michigan Law in congratulating Bruno for a lifetime of distinguished scholarship and public service that's made a significant difference in the world," Dean Caminker said. "It's certainly no surprise that he continues that difficult work even now."
Previous Michigan Law winners of the Manley O. Hudson Medal include professors Eric Stein and John Jackson. The award will be presented at the ASIL's annual meeting April 3-5 in Washington, D.C.
Prof. Simma is already thinking about what he may say to the group.
"It was a wonderful surprise," Prof. Simma said. "And I'm very grateful."
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