International attorney Owen Pell, partner at White & Case and the President of the Auschwitz Institute for Peace and Reconciliation, visited Alabama Law Tuesday and discussed the critical role the legal community can play in promoting civil and institutional safeguards and access to justice for minority and diaspora communities.
“Lawyers are often the bridge,” Pell said. “Lawyers figure out ways to get people who don’t like each other to talk to each other. That’s part of what we do. We humanize. We advocate. We develop arguments, and we keep pushing.”
The Auschwitz Institute for Peace and Reconciliation is part of an emerging infrastructure that is helping foster civil societies that are free from fear and violence, Pell said. The institute trains administrators in how to identify the processes that lead to genocide and mass atrocities, how to interrupt those processes, and how to create a dedicated group of people whose sole purpose is to make sure genocide and mass atrocities are less likely to happen in their countries.
“What we try to do is create a safe space for government bureaucrats to come talk about things they might not be able to talk about as freely at home,” Pell said.
The event was sponsored by the Law School’s Office of Diversity & Inclusion, the Jewish Law Students Association, and OUTLaw.