Legal expert to receive Rotary Foundation's top alumni award
Talbot "Sandy" D'Alemberte, recipient of The Rotary Foundation 2010-11 Global Alumni Service to Humanity Award Photo courtesy of Talbot D'Alemberte
Talbot "Sandy" D'Alemberte, an attorney and president emeritus of Florida State University in Florida, USA, has been named by the Trustees of The Rotary Foundation as recipient of the 2010-11 Global Alumni Service to Humanity Award.
D'Alemberte will accept the honor at the RI Convention in New Orleans, Louisiana, in May.
"I was absolutely floored when I learned that I would receive the award," D'Alemberte says. "It is a great honor that I treasure more because of my respect for the work of The Rotary Foundation."
A former member of the Rotary Club of Tallahassee, Florida, and a Paul Harris Fellow, D'Alemberte is widely commended for his efforts in the areas of dispute resolution and rule of law for international legal reform throughout Eastern Europe. He has also received numerous awards for his university leadership and pro bono legal service.
In 1989, D'Alemberte became president-elect of the American Bar Association (ABA), which gave him an opportunity to provide pro bono support for newly emerging democracies in Central and Eastern Europe. With the support of prominent U.S. jurists, lawyers, and ABA members, he and a colleague, Homer Moyer, created the Central and Eastern European Law Initiative (CEELI) in 1990, which helped implement constitutional, legal, and institutional reforms in those regions.
CEELI continued to grow, and similar programs were established in Asia, Africa, Latin America, the Caribbean, and the Middle East. In 2007, the ABA established the Rule of Law Initiative to oversee these programs and now operates in 40 countries.
"One of the most important things I have been able to do was to work with others in setting up CEELI. This project can be directly linked to interests I developed as a [1958-59] Rotary Foundation Scholar at the London School of Economics and Political Science," says D'Alemberte, who credits his father, a Rotarian, for opening his eyes to the world beyond his small Florida hometown.
After his scholarship, D'Alemberte earned a law degree, with honors, from the University of Florida College of Law. Convinced that the legal profession would enable him to make a difference in the lives of others, he and went on to concentrate on media and public law, and his. His work included a case that led to the first rule allowing camera access to courtrooms. It was a milestone that won him an Emmy from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences in 1985.
D'Alemberte served as president of Florida State University from 1994 to 2003, and continues to teach at the College of Law.
"I have had great fun during my career, and it's an extraordinary thing to be awarded this honor for some of the things I most enjoyed," D'Alemberte says.
Written for Reconnections