The Buffett Institute announces two more Distinguished Visitors in spring 2018

January 25, 2018

The Buffett Institute will welcome two new Distinguished Visitors for the 2018 spring quarter. Following the announcement of its first Distinguished Visitor Strobe Talbott in November, the Institute has confirmed that human rights expert and author Leila Sadat, and former ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro will both visit campus in the spring to engage with the Northwestern community during a series of public and private events. 

DVCollage-Large.jpgBuffett’s Distinguished Visitors Program establishes new partnerships between Northwestern and international organizations, strengthens existing partnerships, and provides Northwestern students and faculty opportunities to interact with and learn from prominent global leaders. Sadat and Shapiro will be the second and third visitors of the program. 

“Our first three Distinguished Visitors bring with them a wealth of experience and expertise in a wide range of international affairs fields, from journalism and justice to foreign diplomacy and public policy,” says Ariel Schwartz, who manages the Distinguished Visitor Program at Buffett. 

“Through public lectures, classroom conversations, and over coffee, these accomplished practitioners will foster new points of connection and exchange in global studies at Northwestern.” 

About Leila Sadat

Sadat is a professor of law at Washington University and director of its Whitney R. Harris World Law Institute. She is a human rights expert specializing in international criminal law and foreign affairs. As the founder and chair of the Crimes Against Humanity Initiative at the Harris Institute, she helped draft a convention on the prevention and punishment of crimes against humanity, which is currently being debated by the UN International Law Commission. In 2012, Sadat was named Special Adviser on Crimes Against Humanity to the International Criminal Court (ICC). 

Sadat’s areas of focus include international crimes and amnesties, gender crimes and sexual violence, legal questions surrounding America’s drone wars, and the war in Syria. She recently directed the documentary Never Again: Forging a Convention for Crimes Against Humanity, which will be screened on April 24 during her visit. Following the screening, there will be a panel discussion with Sadat and Northwestern law faculty members Juliet Sorensen and David Scheffer. 

About Ambassador Daniel Shapiro

Daniel Shapiro was the US ambassador to Israel from July 2011 to January 2017. Before that, he was the senior director for the Middle East and North Africa on the US National Security Council, where he served as President Obama’s senior adviser on US policy on Israel, Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco, and Palestine. He advised the president through US responses to the Arab uprisings of 2011, including assembling the first post-revolution assistance package to Tunisia. He conducted missions to Syria in 2009 and 2010 to attempt to advance the president’s re-engagement plan.

On April 26, Ambassador Shapiro will give a public lecture focusing on foreign policy during presidential campaigns. He will also meet with undergraduates and attend Buffett events. 


More details on Sadat and Shapiro’s public events will be announced in the spring quarter. For questions about the program, contact Ariel Schwartz at

Human Rights, Law, Middle East, Peace/Conflict, US Foreign Policy