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Ronald Allen Receives China's Highest Academic Honor

April 17, 2007

CHICAGO --- Ronald J. Allen, the John Henry Wigmore Professor of Law at Northwestern University, has been designated a Yangtze River Scholar by the Ministry of Education of the People's Republic of China.

The Yangtze River Scholar award is the highest academic honor given by the People's Republic of China.

Only three other Americans have previously been designated Yangtze River Scholars, each of whom is a Nobel Laureate in Economics. Allen is the fourth American to receive this award and the first law professor, domestic or foreign, to be so honored.

The office of Vice-President Zhang Baosheng of China University of Political Science and Law said that Professor Allen is “one of the world's most distinguished scholars in the fields of evidence and procedure,” adding that his research has been critically important to the efforts to reform the legal system of the People's Republic of China.

Allen will encourage the collaborative efforts between him and Northwestern University and China University of Political Science and Law, Beijing, which have proven invaluable to the modernization effort of the People's Republic. Allen will travel to Beijing to receive the award April 19 at the university and to provide a series of lectures on the American law of evidence.

Allen is the inaugural Fellow of the Procedural Law Research Center and is the Chair of the Foreign Board of Advisors of the Evidence Law and Forensic Sciences Institute of China University of Political Science and Law, Beijing. For many years, he has hosted and supervised the study and research of Chinese law faculty and students at Northwestern University, and he is advising the Evidence Law and Forensic Sciences Institute's project to write a universal evidence code for the People's Republic.

The Program was founded in 1999 in order to assist the progress of the Chinese people by helping to ensure that the country's most distinguished and valuable scientists, scholars and researchers will remain in China and to secure the assistance of distinguished scholars and scientists worldwide.

Allen did his undergraduate work in mathematics at Marshall University and studied law at the University of Michigan. He is an internationally recognized expert in the fields of evidence, procedure, and constitutional law. He began his career at the State University of New York and has held professorships at the University of Iowa and Duke University prior to coming to Northwestern. He has lectured on his research at distinguished universities across the world, among them Columbia University, Cornell University, University of Chicago, University of Virginia, University of Pennsylvania, University of Michigan, Duke University, Oxford University, University of London, Leiden University, the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences, University of Edinburgh, University of British Columbia, the University of Paris (Sorbonne), Parma University, Turin University, Pavia University, University of Adelaide, Australia, and Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand, and UNAM, Mexico City. In 1991, he was the University Distinguished Visiting Scholar, at the University of Adelaide, South Australia. One of his books has been translated into Chinese by the Ministry of Education of the People's Republic of China, and he has been invited to China for a series of lectures in the summer of 2004 and the spring of 2005. He has also been invited to lecture by the governments of Mexico and Trinidad/Tobago. For the last ten years, his research has focused on the nature of juridical proof. He has been involved as a consultant on numerous cases involving complex litigation in the United States and abroad.

He is a member of the American Law Institute, has chaired the Evidence Section of the Association of American Law Schools, and was Vice-chair of the Rules of Procedure and Evidence Committee of the American Bar Association's Criminal Justice Section. He has served as a Commissioner of the Illinois Supreme Court, assigned to the Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission. He is presently on the Boards of the Constitutional Rights Foundation-Chicago, and the Yeager Society of Scholars of Marshall University.

The three other Americans who have received this prestigious award are Colombia University professor in economics Robert A. Mundell, in Renmin University of China; Stanford University professor in economics Joseph E.Stiglitz, in Beijing University; and University of Chicago professor in economics, Gary S. Becker in Beijing University.