April 5, 2006

HARRISONBURG—The Nelson Institute for International and Public Affairs at James Madison University, with support from the Office of the Special Assistant to the President and the Office of International Programs, is pleased to announce that Justice Modibo Ocran, a justice of the Supreme Court of Ghana, will serve at the first Nelson Institute Distinguished Visiting Scholar. Justice Ocran will be in residence at the JMU campus from April 9-13, 2006.

During his stay at JMU, he will guest lecture justice studies, political science, and history classes as well as have encounters with faculty and students, in addition to delivering a public lecture in the Nelson Institute’s Guardian Lecture series on Wednesday, April 12, at 7:00 p.m. in HHS 2301. The topic of the lecture will be “Nation-Building, Civil Wars, and Conflict Resolution in Africa.” The lecture is free and open to the public. It qualifies as a Wellness Passport event for JMU students. (Justice Ocran will also speak at an encounter organized by the Center for Multicultural Student Services on Monday, April 10, at 6:00 p.m. in ISAT 159.)

A graduate of St. Augustine’s College, Cape Coast, Ghana, Justice Ocran went on to earn honors bachelor of laws and barrister of law degrees from the University of Ghana, Legon, Ghana. He subsequently earned a master of comparative legal institutions from the University of Wisconsin Law School, Madison, and a Ph.D. in law and development studies from the University of Wisconsin Law School and the Graduate School of the University of Wisconsin.

After working in government and the private sector in Ghana, he joined the faculty at the University of Akron School of Law in Akron, Ohio, retiring in 2004 as the Dean’s Club Emeritus Professor of Law. From 1994-1995, he served in Croatia as senior political officer with the United Nations Protection Force for the ex-Yugoslavia (UNPROFOR). He was appointed a justice of the Supreme Court of Ghana in 2004.

Justice Ocran’s many scholarly publications include three books—The Crisis of Peacekeeping in Former Yugoslavia (2002), The Legacy of Kwame Nkrumah in Contemporary Ghana (1992), and Law in Aid of Development (1978)—and numerous articles.

Dr. J. Peter Pham, director of the Nelson Institute, said: “We are honored and delighted to have an eminent scholar and public servant as Justice Ocran as the first of what we hope to be many Nelson Institute Distinguished Visiting Scholars in residence at JMU. Providing the opportunity for someone like Justice Ocran to interact with JMU students and faculty, both inside and outside the classroom, is an essential part of our mission to facilitate informed discourse about the issues and challenges facing all of us in a dynamic, globalizing world.”