Professor Dr. iur. Siegfried Wiessner is a Professor of Law at St. Thomas University School of Law and the Founder and Director of its LL.M. and J.S.D. Program in Intercultural Human Rights. He also is the Founder and Faculty Advisor to itsIntercultural Human Rights Law Review and the Susan J. Ferrell Intercultural Human Rights Moot Court Competition. He passed the First and the Second State Examination in Law in Germany in 1977 and 1981, respectively, and he earned the Master of Laws (LL.M.) degree from the Yale Law School in 1983 and his Doctorate in Law (Dr. iur.) from the University of Tübingen in 1989. He is the Editor-in-Chief of Martinus Nijhoff's Studies in Intercultural Human Rights. From 1997 to 2000, he was a Lecturer at the UN/UNITAR International Law Fellowship Program. In October 2009 and November 2010, he served as Visiting Professor of Law at the City University of Hong Kong. In fall 2009, he was a Fernand Braudel Senior Fellow at the European University Institute in Florence, Italy. From 2007 to 2010, he was a member of the Executive Council of The American Society of International Law. From 2008 to 2012, he served as the Chair of the International Law Association's Committee on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
Professor Wiessner teaches U.S. Constitutional Law and International Law. He is the author of a number of books and articles in the fields of constitutional law, international law, human rights, the law of indigenous peoples, the law of armed conflict, arbitration, space law and refugee law. In 1989, he published a book on the function of nationality, and he is the co-author, with Michael Reisman of the Yale Law School, of a leading casebook on international law, International Law in Contemporary Perspective (2004). Developing Yale's distinctive problem- and policy-oriented approach to law, he applied it to issues of mass atrocities as well as conflicts over the allocation of resources. In addition, Professor Wiessner made the initial argument, laid out in the Harvard Human Rights Journal in 1999, that customary international law protects indigenous peoples' rights to land, their cultural traditions, and self-government. As Chair of the International Law Association's Committee on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples he led 30 experts from around the globe to a thorough review of this position, culminating in the organization's approval of Resolution No. 5/2012 confirming those rights to their lands, culture and autonomy at its meeting in Sofia, Bulgaria in August 2012.
On March 14, 2013, Professor Wiessner received the Law Professor of the Year Award by the humanitarian organization Lawyers to the Rescue.