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Columbia University President appoints Daniel Abebe as first black Dean of Columbia Law School

Professor Daniel Abebe

Addis Abeba – Minouche Shafik, President of Columbia University in the City of New York, announced on 17 August that she has appointed Daniel Abebe as the 16th Dean of Columbia Law School and Lucy G. Moses Professor of Law, effective 1 August 2024.

“I am confident that Professor Abebe will be an exceptional Dean for Columbia Law, one of the most highly regarded law schools in the world. His fundamental belief in the academic enterprise is evident and deeply rooted. His skilled, diplomatic, and inclusive approach to leadership will help foster an environment in which faculty, students, and staff can innovate, succeed, and flourish,” Ms Shafik said.

Daniel will be Columbia Law’s first Black dean and is replacing the outgoing dean Gillian Lester, who has “graciously agreed to stay on as Dean until that time.” In November last year, Gillian announced her plans to step down from the deanship of Columbia Law School at the end of the 2023-2024 academic year.

Professor Daniel is currently serving as Vice Provost for Academic Affairs and Governance at the University of Chicago and Harold J. and Marion F. Green Professor of Law at the University of Chicago Law School.

“As Vice Provost for the last six years, he has been responsible for stewarding critical aspects of university-wide academic life, as well as important strategic assignments, such as articulating and affirming the principles that underpin the University of Chicago’s widely emulated institutional commitment to free expression,” Ms Shafik said.

In February this year, the American Bar Association House of Delegates (ABA) passed a resolution mandating Law Schools “to explicitly protect free speech rights for faculty, students, and staff as part of the ABA accreditation process.”

Professor Daniel is known as a free speech advocate on campuses and steps into the position at a time when several campuses in the US are experiencing heightened environments due to student protests against Israel’s ongoing war in Palestine. AS

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