- Retrospective: Richard Pierre Claude (1934–2011)
Richard Pierre Claude, a leading scholar of the inter-relationship of science and human rights, passed away on 17 March in Washington, D.C. His efforts to promote human rights globally spanned a broad range of disciplines including law, education, history, and political science. Claude argued that science and its applications can affect the quality of life for everyone, largely through technological developments that can bring great benefits but can also expose us, and our environment, to grave and often unforeseen hazards. To prevent such unintended consequences, Claude believed scientists should be afforded the freedoms of mobility and communications but were equally endowed with the responsibility to use their skills and expertise to promote the well being of humankind and protect those most vulnerable in society. [End Page 1195]
Claude was born in St. Paul, Minnesota in 1934 and graduated from the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul in 1956. After service as a captain in the US Air Force, he received a master’s degree in history from Florida State University in 1960 and a doctorate in political science and constitutional law from the University of Virginia in 1964 as a Thomas Jefferson Foundation Fellow. Claude was a Professor Emeritus at the University of Maryland where he taught political science and constitutional law from 1965 until he retired in 1993. He was especially proud of the teaching awards he received throughout his teaching career. Howard Schneider, a former student and currently a Staff Writer with The Washington Post, said: “Richard’s brilliance as a teacher boiled down to two things: patience and the importance of neutral observation. His office door was never closed and the conversation never limited.” Claude’s last academic position was as a Senior Research Fellow at the Human Rights Center of the University of California, Berkeley.
Claude had been an advocate for human rights since the 1950s, when he participated in sit-ins for civil rights in Florida and Virginia. In 1982, he founded the Human Rights Quarterly, now considered the preeminent scholarly journal on human rights. He was a founding member of Physicians for Human Rights, a group dedicated to the application of medical and scientific methods and procedures to the investigation of violations of human rights and international humanitarian law. In 2009, the AAAS Science and Human Rights Coalition, representing forty-six professional societies and affiliated organizations, honored Claude for inspiring scientists to contribute to human rights. His leadership in human rights education serves as the foundation for the ongoing work by the AAAS Science and Human Rights Coalition Education and Information Resources Working Group to identify, compile, and develop resources including bibliographies, syllabi, and case studies for teaching science and mathematics.
Claude was twice a Fulbright Research Scholar in Asia where he wrote Educating for Human Rights: The Philippines and Beyond (University of the Philippines and University of Hawaii Press, 1997). He also published a training manual, Popular Education for Human Rights, which has been translated into numerous languages and is still circulated clandestinely among activists in Burma and China. As a Fulbright fellow, Claude helped draft language on human rights education for the Philippine’s new constitution, adopted a year after the fall of Ferdinand Marcos in 1986.
Claude wrote widely about science and human rights. His 2002 book Science in the Service of Human Rights (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2002) earned him an award from the American Political Science Association. While a member of the AAAS Committee on Scientific Freedom and Responsibility he co-edited Human Rights and Statistics: Getting the Record Straight (University of Pennsylvania Press, 1992), with Thomas Jabine. His volume, co-edited with Burns Weston, Human Rights in the World Community [End Page 1196] (University of Pennsylvania Press, 1997) is now in its third edition and considered the preeminent textbook on human rights.
Donations in memory of Richard Pierre Claude can be made to the Pader Girl’s Academy of Northern Uganda, sponsored by the Uganda Fund, http://www.ugandafund.org. [End Page 1197]
Jeffrey H. Toney is Dean of the College of Natural, Applied, and Health Sciences at...