Edward Luck, who has been the special adviser to the United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on the responsibility to protect doctrine within the prevention of genocide office since 2008, will become the dean of the Joan B. Kroc School of Peace Studies at the University of San Diego, a private Roman Catholic school, on Aug. 1. The peace institute opened in 2007 with an endowment from Kroc, a local philanthropist and the third wife of Ray Kroc, who was the chief executive of McDonald’s. She died in 2003.
At the UN as an assistant secretary-general, Luck, 63, was primarily involved in conceptualizing, developing and advocating for the Responsibility to Protect (R2P) doctrine, an international norm that emerged from the 2005 World Summit and is meant to protect civilians from genocide and other mass atrocity crimes. It was used by the Security Council to essentially authorize military intervention through a resolution to protect Libyans from their leader, Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi, in 2011. The intervention resulted in a regime change and Qaddafi’s death.
From 2007 to 2011, Luck worked at the International Peace Institute, an independent policy research group in New York, most recently as senior vice president of research and programs.
Luck’s academic experience includes appointments at the School of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University, from 2001 to 2010, as director of the Center on International Organization and director of the UN Studies Program. Before joining Columbia, he founded the Center for the Study of International Organization, a research center established by the School of Law of New York University and the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs of Princeton University.
He was also president of the United Nations Association of the USA, a nonprofit group that promotes the UN, from 1984 to 1994 and president emeritus for four more years. He has written numerous books and articles but is most well known for his work on R2P, whose viability is being hotly debated in the context of the Syrian war and whether the norm should be enacted to protect Syrian civilians from their government’s attacks.
Luck has a bachelor’s degree from Dartmouth and several graduate degrees from Columbia, including a master’s degree in international affairs and a Ph.D. in political science. He is married and has one daughter.
[This article was updated on March 24, 2013.]