NZ Centre for Environmental Law

Dinah L Shelton

Honorary member    

Dinah Shelton

BA, JD University of California, Berkeley


Dinah Shelton is the emeritus Manatt/Ahn professor of law at the George Washington University Law School.  She joined the faculty in 2004 after serving as professor of international law and director of the doctoral program in international human rights law at the University of Notre Dame Law School from 1996-2004. She previously taught in universities in California and has lectured at law schools on every continent.  From 1987 to 1989, she was the director of the Office of Staff Attorneys at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.  Professor Shelton is the author or editor of three prize-winning books: Protecting Human Rights in the Americas (winner of the 1982 Inter-American Bar Association Book Prize and co-authored with Thomas Buergenthal); Remedies in International Human Rights Law (awarded the 2000 Certificate of Merit, American Society of International Law); and the three volume Encyclopedia of Genocide and Crimes against Humanity (awarded a “Best Research” book award by the New York Public Library). She also has authored many articles and books on international law, human rights law, and international environmental law. She is an honorary member of the board of editors of the American Journal of International Law and serves on the boards of many human rights and environmental organizations. In 2006, she was awarded the prestigious Elizabeth Haub Prize in Environmental Law.  She has served as a legal consultant to numerous intergovernmental organizations.  In 2009, she became the first woman nominated by the United States to become a member of the Inter-American Human Rights Commission of the Organization of American States.  She was elected to a four-year term in June, 2009 and in 2010 she served as president of the Commission.  She is doctor honoris causa at the University of Stockholm and the Pazmany Peter Catholic University of Budapest.  She has been awarded the Goler Butcher Award for human rights by the American Society of International Law, the Wolfgang Burhenne Award for Environmental Law by IUCN’s Commission on Environmental Law, and the Stefan Riesenfeld Award in International Law by the University of California, Berkeley.