Swarthmore College President Alfred H. Bloom will award honorary degrees to former U.N. humanitarian coordinator Denis Halliday and journalist and prominent international relations scholar Josef Joffe '65 at the College's 130th commencement on Sunday, June 2. About 335 seniors are expected to graduate at the ceremony, to be held at 10 a.m. in the Scott Outdoor Auditorium.
Samantha Power, executive director of the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government, will address the graduating class at baccalaureate services on June 1. The senior class speaker on June 4, as voted his by classmates, is David Kamin, an economics major and political science minor from Phoenix, Ariz.
An Irish national, Halliday graduated from Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland, and holds an M.A. in economics, geography, and public administration. After spending a year in Kenya as a Quaker volunteer, Halliday joined the United Nations in 1964 as a junior professional officer serving in Teheran, Iran, in the forerunner of the United Nations Development Program. He went on to forge a 34-year-long career with the U.N. in development and humanitarian assistance-related posts both in New York and overseas, primarily in Southeast Asia.
In 1994, then-U.N. Secretary-General Boutros Boutros Ghali appointed Halliday Assistant Secretary-General for U.N. Human Resources Management worldwide. It was from this position that he volunteered for Iraq, and in 1997 was named by U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan as U.N. Humanitarian Coordinator in that country. He served in the position until September, 1998, when he resigned to protest U.N. sanctions against the country.
Since his resignation from the U.N., Halliday has been involved with the End Sanctions campaign worldwide and is a leading advocate on peace and social justice issues. As Swarthmore's Lang Professor of Social Change in the fall semesters of 1999 and 2000, Halliday taught classes in the College's Peace and Conflict Studies Program.
Josef Joffe '65
After spending much of his childhood in Berlin during the Cold War, Joffe attended high school in Grand Rapids, Mich., as an exchange student and went on to college at Swarthmore. Needing only three years to complete his degree, he graduated in 1965 with a double major in economics and political science.
Joffe was foreign and editorial page editor for Suddeutsche Zeitung, one of Europe's most respected newspapers, from 1985 to 2000. Two years ago, he was named publisher of the influential German weekly Die Zeit and one year later also became editor. His insightful commentary and analysis of the United States has earned him a reputation as one of the leading translators of American culture and politics for Europeans.
Joffe holds a Ph.D. in government from Harvard and has taught at Harvard, Johns Hopkins, and Stanford Universities. He has written numerous scholarly articles and book chapters and is a regular contributor to journals such as The National Interest and Foreign Affairs, among others. He is the author of the books The Limited Partnership: Europe, the United States, and the Burdens of Alliance (1997) and The Future of the Great Powers (1999).
He is currently engaged in an educational "startup" in Berlin, the European College of Liberal Arts (ECLA). Something of a "Swarthmore in Europe," the effort is aimed at bringing liberal arts study back to the continent where it was born centuries ago.