Her Royal Highness Princess Bajrakitiyabha Mahidol of Thailand and ABA President-elect Laurel G. Bellows to address 2012 IIT Chicago-Kent graduates

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Her Royal Highness Princess Bajrakitiyabha Mahidol of Thailand and Laurel G. Bellows, president-elect of the American Bar Association, will address graduates at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law's 2012 Commencement ceremony on Sunday, May 13, at 2:30 p.m at the UIC Forum, 725 West Roosevelt Rd., in Chicago. There will also be a live webcast of the ceremony available on the Commencement homepage at beginning at 2:30 p.m. The two speakers will also be awarded honorary doctorate of laws degrees in a separate ceremony on Saturday, May 12, at the Illinois Institute of Technology Commencement.

Her Royal Highness Princess Bajrakitiyabha Mahidol of Thailand
Her Royal Highness Princess Bajrakitiyabha Mahidol of Thailand

Her Royal Highness Princess Bajrakitiyabha Mahidol currently serves as Ambassador and Alternative Representative of the Kingdom of Thailand to the United Nations Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice (CCPCJ). In December 2011, following a distinguished career at the Office of the Attorney General in Thailand, Her Royal Highness was elected chairperson of the CCPCJ. As a seasoned prosecutor-cum-diplomat, she brings a wealth of practitioner's experience to the policy-making process of the commission, particularly in strengthening standards and norms in crime prevention and criminal justice, as well as in promoting integrated responses to transnational organized crime in all of its manifestations.

Her Royal Highness has a keen personal interest in promoting women's rights, especially in the context of the criminal justice system. She has been a driving force behind the Enhancing Life for Female Inmates (ELFI) project to promote Thailand's proposal for international rules on women prisoners, which resulted in the adoption of the United Nations Rules for the Treatment of Women Prisoners and Non-custodial Measures for Women Offenders, or the Bangkok Rules, by the General Assembly at its 65th session in 2010. Her Royal Highness is also a UN Women Goodwill Ambassador to raise awareness on violence against women.

Her Royal Highness received a Doctor of Juridical Science (J.S.D.) degree from Cornell University, where she earned an LL.M. degree. Her Royal Highness holds an LL.B. degree from Thammasat University in Bangkok.

IIT Chicago-Kent currently has an agreement with the Office of the Judiciary in Thailand and a memo of understanding with Thammasat University for an overseas training program. The program features classes conducted in Thailand followed by a semester of education at IIT Chicago-Kent, and culminates in an LL.M. degree from the law school. A total of 80 students have participated in this program, with 10 degrees awarded, and five in progress. A similar program was also established with Sripatum University in 2006. In total, 49 students from Thailand have attended IIT Chicago-Kent through one of these three programs.

ABA President-elect Laurel G. Bellows
ABA President-elect Laurel G. Bellows

Laurel Bellows, principal of The Bellows Law Group, P.C., is an experienced business lawyer and mediator counseling senior executives and corporations, in the United States and internationally, on employment matters, severance agreements, incentive compensation, and workplace disputes. The firm offers transactional, counseling and litigation services to small businesses and large corporations.

Bellows is president-elect of the American Bar Association and will begin her term as president in August 2012. She has served as chair of the ABA's policymaking House of Delegates and as chair of the ABA Commission on Women in the Profession. Bellows was the second female president of the Chicago Bar Association, where she founded the Women's Alliance. She is a member of the IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law Board of Overseers. Bellows has been on the Illinois Supreme Court Commission on the Administration of Justice, and on the U.S. Senate Judicial Nominations Commission for Illinois.

Bellows earned her undergraduate degree from the University of Pennsylvania and her J.D. from Loyola University Chicago School of Law.

IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law is the law school of Illinois Institute of Technology, a private, Ph.D.-granting institution with programs in engineering, science, psychology, architecture, business, design and law.

EDITORS PLEASE NOTE: IIT Chicago-Kent's 2012 Commencement is being held at the UIC Forum, not the UIC Pavilion.