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August 30, 2004

Press Contact: Jodi Bart, UT Law, (512) 471-7330

Commander of the Legion of Honor Insignia to be Conferred on Professor Basil Markesinis at his Induction to the French Academy

Markesinis will be only member of the U.S. legal academy in the French Academy

Photo of Professor Basil MarkesinisBasil Markesinis

AUSTIN, Texas — On Monday, October 11th, Professor Basil Markesinis, QC, Jamail Regents Chair in Law, will be formally inducted into the French Academy as its new Corresponding Fellow. The President of the Academy will, on that occasion, also present him with the insignia of Commander of the Legion d’ Honneur conferred upon him by President Chirac of France who has described Markesinis as “one of the very greatest comparatists of Europe”. Awards at such high grade in the Order are made very rarely. In this instance it recognises Markesinis “highly original and distinguished contribution to the science of Comparative law and his unwavering dedication to the cause of European integration.” The Commander’s Cross was also conferred upon Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, and Justice Stephen Breyer of the US Supreme Court.

Commenting on the awards, Noelle Lenoir, the first woman Justice in the French Constitutional Court and, until recently Deputy under Secretary for Foreign Affairs, said: “France has always admired and rewarded exceptional merit wherever it exists and in honouring two eminent Justices and one distinguished academic known for his bridge-building talents it has done just that.” Lenoir, who has taught in Texas, and a few months ago personally presented the insignia of Knight of the Legion d'Honneur to Gib Gayle Jr and added: "I have much valued my links with UT and other American Universities having seen them from close quarters and admired their high standards. I deeply hope that growing cultural links between our two countries, based on mutual respect and admiration, will help overcome the inevitable ups and downs one encounters in political relations."

When Professor Markesinis formally enters the Academy next October he will become the only representative of the American legal academic world in that prestigious institution. For this, he says, he is “very proud since he has done some of his best work at the University of Texas spending endless hours in its superb law library.” He then added, “I have not one but three Deans to thank for such a privilege – Deans Yudof, Sharlot and Powers – and, of course Joe and Lee Jamail, and my very good friend Gib Gayle who has never wavered in his support.”

“Professor Markesinis's scholarship in comparative law has had global reach and impact. This rare and high honor acknowledges that scholarship. I join our faculty and students in giving him our most heartfelt congratulations,” said Dean Powers.

The University of Texas at Austin President Larry Faulkner said, “Professor Markesinis is a legal scholar of rare range and mastery. By this election, the French Academy recognizes his extraordinary standing in the international legal community. On behalf of his colleagues in Texas, I offer warm congratulations.”

UT-Austin Provost Sheldon Ekland-Olson noted that, “We are working on all fronts to expand the international reach of programs across campus. Professor Markesinis has been highly effective in these initiatives, especially as they relate to University College London and our Law School. This latest, richly deserved recognition of his accomplishments and the high esteem he commands among his colleagues brings honor to us all.”

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