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U.N. Special Advisor Deng at Seton Hall Law

On November 5th Dr. Francis Deng, U.N. Special Advisor on the Prevention of Genocide, took part in a panel discussion with Professors Elizabeth Defeis and Kristen Boon at Seton Hall University School of Law. Dr. Deng was introduced by his longtime friend, distinguished Seton Hall Law Professor and panel organizer, Livingston Baker, who is a former Rockefeller Brothers Fund associate and human rights officer for the United Nations.

Dr. Francis Deng was appointed by U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in May 2007 as the Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide. Deng served as Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General on Internally Displaced Persons from 1992 to 2004, as Human Rights Officer in the United Nations Secretariat from 1967 to 1972 and as the Ambassador of the Sudan to Canada, Denmark, Finland, Norway, Sweden and the United States. He also served as Sudan's Minister of State for Foreign Affairs. After leaving his country's service, he joined a succession of think tanks, universities, and research institutions.

Dr. Deng has authored and edited over 30 books in the fields of law, conflict resolution, internal displacement, human rights, anthropology, folklore, history and politics and has also written two novels on the theme of the crisis of national identity in the Sudan. Among his numerous awards in his country and abroad, Deng is co-recipient with Roberta Cohen of the 2005 Grawemeyer Award for “Ideas Improving World Order” and the 2007 Merage Foundation American Dream Leadership Award. In 2000, Deng also received the Rome Prize for Peace and Humanitarian Action.

At Seton Hall Law, the convened panel considered the role of Dr. Deng's office, which works closely with that of the Special Advisor for Responsibility to Protect. Professors Defeis and Boon both posed salient questions related to the demands of state sovereignty and the international responsibility to protect internally displaced persons (IDPs). Deng's office is primarily tasked with monitoring the forced displacement of groups of people within their home country, which can often be an early sign of an impending genocide. Prior to Deng's appointment, there was no UN office specifically assigned to protect IDPs, since the Office of the High Commissioner for Refugees is limited to those who are forced to flee the borders of their home country. Deng explained the importance of closely watching the role that the state government is playing in the internal displacement, and whether neighboring countries and regional organizations are taking necessary measures to aid IDPs. Dr. Deng stressed that prevention is key, and resort to military intervention is the last option, to be considered only after all preventive measures have been exhausted.

The only private law school in New Jersey, Seton Hall University School of Law was founded in 1951, and is located in the city of Newark. Seton Hall Law School offers both day and evening programs leading to the Juris Doctor (J.D.), Master of Laws (LL.M.) and Master of Science in Jurisprudence (M.S.J.) degrees. For more information on Seton Hall Law School, visit