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Martha Minow, dean of the Harvard Law School since 2009, whom President Obama named as “a teacher who changed my life,” was born in Highland Park, Illinois on this date in 1954. Minow has taught at Harvard Law since 1981 and is an expert in human rights, advocacy for oppressed minorities and women, military justice, and international ethnic and religious conflict. Her numerous books include In Brown’s Wake: Legacies of America’s Constitutional Landmark (2010); Government by Contract (co-edited, 2009); Just Schools: Pursuing Equality in Societies of Difference (co-edited, 2008); Partners, Not Rivals: Privatization and the Public Good (2002); Between Vengeance and Forgiveness: Facing History After Genocide and Mass Violence (1998); and Not Only for Myself: Identity, Politics and Law (1997). Minow served on the Independent International Commission on Kosovo and helped to a U.N. program for refugees and political healing in societies emerging from armed conflict, Imagine Co-existence. She has also served for the past several years as vice-president of the Legal Services Corporation.

“[W]hen we use our terms of comparison to shut off any understanding of our connections with one another as human beings, we risk becoming something less than human ourselves.” –Martha Minow