University of Pittsburgh
April 30, 2007

Pitt Law Professor Receives Grand Decoration of Merit in Gold From Austrian Government at State Luncheon May 2

Austrian Ambassador to present award to Vivian Curran, the only U.S. representative on Austrian Property Claims Committee
Contact:  412-624-4147

PITTSBURGH-Vivian Curran, University of Pittsburgh professor of law, will receive the Grand Decoration of Merit in Gold for Services Rendered to the Republic of Austria during a state luncheon and decoration ceremony at noon May 2 in the University's William Pitt Union Lower Lounge, 3959 Fifth Ave., Oakland.

One of the highest honors bestowed by the Austrian government, the award recognizes Curran's work as the U.S. representative on the Austrian Property Claims Committee. Curran was appointed to the committee by the U.S. State Department.

The committee was established under the Washington Agreement, a U.S./Austria treaty implemented by means of an Austrian Federal Statute to compensate for property expropriations-including both real and personal property as well as loss of education and professional earning capacity-resulting from the Nazi annexation of Austria, from 1938 to 1945.

Curran's scholarly work presently deals with the effects of globalization on law; previously it has dealt with the role of law, especially of courts, in situations of constitutional crisis, such as existed in Germany after Hitler came to power and in Vichy, France. In addition, Curran's knowledge of U.S. estate law was essential to her role on the committee, because many claimants were heirs and legatees of victims who had died in the United States.

Curran's fluency in German also was an asset to her committee work since the meetings were conducted in German. A native speaker of English and French, Curran is the creator of Pitt law school's innovative Languages for Lawyers program, in which students study foreign languages in a legal context, and of English for Lawyers, in which foreign lawyers study English in a legal context.

Among her other honors are election to the International Academy of Comparative Law and to the American Law Institute. She is a past Pitt Law School Distinguished Faculty Scholar and, most recently, is the recipient of the spring, 2008 European Union Center of Excellence Research Fellowship. She also is a member of a small network of French and American scholars and judges, including a U.S. Supreme Court justice and several French supreme court justices, who study the "Internationalization of Law" ("l'internationalisation du droit"), established by the Collège de France. She is academic council member of the Garrigues Chair in Global Law, is on the executive committee of the American Society of Comparative Law, is the U.S representative of the International Alliance for Advanced Judicial Studies, and is a former advisory board member of the John Marshall Law School Center for International Business and Trade Law.

Curran has published close to 50 articles and book reviews in legal journals; her books include "Core Questions of Comparative Law," an English translation of Bernhard Großfeld, "Kernfragen Der Rechtsvergleichung" (Carolina Academic Press, 2005); "Comparative Law: An Introduction" (edited book, Carolina Academic Press, 2002); and "Learning French Through the Law: A French/English Comparative Treatment of Terms in a Legal Context "(Columbia University's Parker School of Foreign and Comparative Law and Juris Publishing, Inc., 1996).