USD Appoints Leading Scholar as First Joint Professor of Law and Peace Studies

Expert and Author on International Human Rights Law and Theory Joins USD School of Law’s Nationally Ranked Faculty and Nation’s First School of Peace Studies For a Three-Year Term

Michael Perry, one of the nation’s foremost authorities on international human rights law and theory, has been appointed to a three-year term at the University of San Diego as University Distinguished Visiting Professor in Law and Peace Studies. Perry is the first faculty member to have a joint appointment in the law and peace schools at USD.

Perry will be in residence at USD in the fall semesters in 2009 through 2011. He will teach a course in International Human Rights open both to law students and to students in the newly founded Joan B. Kroc School of Peace Studies. He will also teach a second class for law students.

“We are delighted to welcome Professor Perry to our community,” said Dr. Julie Sullivan, provost. “He is a scholar of the highest order and is committed both to helping to build our new School of Peace Studies and to contributing to the longstanding success of our law school. His enthusiasm and his broad base of knowledge will be an inspiration to our students.”

In addition to his expertise in international human rights, Perry is a widely published scholar in American constitutional law and theory and in the area of law, morality, and religion. He holds a Robert W. Woodruff Chair at Emory University, where he teaches in the law school.  A Woodruff Chair is the highest honor Emory can bestow on a faculty member.

“I am delighted and honored to be joining the USD community,” said Perry.  “USD’s law faculty is outstanding, and the new Kroc School of Peace Studies gives me a wonderful opportunity to work with other committed professionals on the very issues and problems that were foremost in my mind when I began my law studies in the 1970s.”

Perry is the author of ten books, all published by major academic presses, and over 60 articles and essays. His books include "Love and Power: The Role of Religion and Morality in American Politics" (Oxford, 1991), "The Idea of Human Rights" (Oxford, 1998), "We the People: The Fourteenth Amendment and the Supreme Court" (Oxford, 1999), "Under God? Religious Faith and Liberal Democracy" (Cambridge, 2003), “Toward a Theory of Human Rights:  Religion, Law, Courts” (Cambridge, 2007); and “Constitutional Rights, Moral Controversy, and the Supreme Court” (Cambridge, forthcoming 2008).

Before moving to Emory, Perry held the Howard J. Trienens Chair in Law at Northwestern University Law School, where he taught from 1982 to 1997, and the University Distinguished Chair in Law at Wake Forest University School of Law, where he taught from 1997-2003.

“I am glad that we are able to collaborate with the peace school to bring Michael Perry to USD,” said School of Law Dean Kevin Cole. “He is a wonderful addition to the strong faculty we have already assembled.” The law school’s faculty ranked 17th nationally over the last 12 month period for the number of times their manuscripts were downloaded from the Social Science Research Network, 22nd in overall scholarly quality in a survey of leading law academics, and 27th in scholarly impact based on a study of mean citation rates.

School of Peace Studies Dean William Headley added, “This joint appointment with the law school gives special import to one of the School of Peace Studies’ goals: ‘Establish the school as a nexus and resource for cross-disciplinary collaboration…in matters of peace and justice.’ Professor Perry’s International Human Rights course will serve as bedrock, bringing together our two schools and will help to promote USD as a ‘University of Peace.’ ”

About the Joan B. Kroc School of Peace Studies

Founded in 2007, the Joan B. Kroc School of Peace Studies is the first school in the nation dedicated to advancing the field of peace studies and a worldview of peace as human development. As defined by the United Nations, “Human development is a process of enlarging people’s choices to live a long and healthy life, to acquire knowledge, to have resources needed for a decent standard of living, while preserving it for future generations, ensuring human security and achieving it.” This expansive perspective encourages interdisciplinary thinking and multifaceted approaches, and it addresses the many connections that exist among various threats to peace. The school incorporates academic programs, notably a Master of Arts in Peace and Justice Studies (est. 2002), the Joan B. Kroc Institute for Peace & Justice (est. 2000), the Trans-Border Institute (est. 1994), and the building itself (opened 2001) which houses the school’s offices and classrooms, as well as extensive conference and meeting space. For more information on the School, go to

About the USD School of Law
The University of San Diego School of Law is a center of academic excellence focused on preparing its students for legal practice in the new century.  One of the most selective law schools in the country, the School of Law’s nationally recognized faculty create a demanding, yet welcoming environment that emphasizes individualized education.  USD law school graduates consistently score higher than the state average on the California Bar Exam and go on to practice law throughout the country and abroad, forming an influential network of alumni.  The USD School of Law is one of only 80 law schools in the country to have a chapter of The Order of the Coif, the most distinguished rank of American law schools. The school is accredited by the American Bar Association and is a member of the Association of American Law Schools.  Founded in 1954, the law school is part of the University of San Diego, a private, nonprofit, independent, Roman Catholic university chartered in 1949.  Please visit the website at for additional information.


About the University of San Diego

The University of San Diego sets the standard for an engaged, contemporary Catholic university where innovative Changemakers confront humanity’s urgent challenges. With more than 9,000 students from 69 countries and 50 states, USD is the youngest independent institution on the U.S. News & World Report list of top 100 universities in the United States. The university's eight academic divisions include the College of Arts and Sciences, the School of Business, the Shiley-Marcos School of Engineering, the School of Law, the School of Leadership and Education Sciences, the Hahn School of Nursing and Health Science, the Joan B. Kroc School of Peace Studies, and the Division of Professional and Continuing Education. USD's Envisioning 2024 strategic plan capitalizes on the university’s recent progress and aligns new strategic goals with current strengths to help shape a vision for the future as the university looks ahead to its 75th anniversary in the year 2024.