Ved Prakash Nanda, a Distinguished University Professor at the University of Denver, Sturm College of Law, passed away on January 1, 2024, in the company of family and friends. He was a champion of Human Rights and a Law professor since 1972.
Born in 1934 in Gujranwala of the undivided India, Professor Nanda underwent an arduous immigration to the Punjab state in India along with his family during the partition of Pakistan from India. He went on to build an exemplary career starting with an M.A. in Economics from Punjab University, a Law degree from Delhi University in India, an LLM from Northwestern University and subsequent postgraduate fellowship work from Yale University.
For nearly 60 years, Professor Nanda was a professor at the law school, where he founded the International Legal Studies Program in 1972. He served as director of the Ved Nanda Center for International and Comparative Law since its inception in 2006. The Center was established in his honor by alumni and friends, who also endowed a professorship in his name. He received Honorary Doctorates of Law from Soka University in Tokyo, Japan, and Bundelkhand University in Jhansi, India, and taught and lectured at several universities in the U.S. and abroad. He was also an Honorary Professor of Law at the University of Delhi.
Professor Nanda held many leadership positions within the global international law community, including in the World Jurist Association, American Society of International Law, International Law Association, American Law Institute, and the American Bar Association’s Human Rights Center and Section of International Law. He served as U.S. delegate to the World Federation of the United Nations Associations in Geneva and on the governing council of the United Nations Association of the USA. He was an officer and board member in several international and national NGOs, and he served as Chair of the Uberoi Foundation for Religious Studies.
Professor Nanda received numerous national and international awards, authored or co-authored 24 books and over 225 chapters and law review articles in international and comparative law, wrote a column for the Denver Post, and was a regular commentator in both electronic and print media. In March 2018, Indian President Ram Nath Kovind presented Professor Nanda with the Padma Bhushan, one of the highest civilian awards given by the Government of India. The American Bar Association International Law Section conferred on him the Louis B. Sohn Award, for “distinguished, longstanding contributions to the field of public international law.” Since his passing, tributes to Professor Nanda have been pouring in from around the world including from Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
A traditional Hindu service (antyeshti) for Professor Nanda will take place on Sunday, January 7, at Horan & McConaty (11150 E. Dartmouth Avenue, Aurora). Guests are invited to stop by any time during the visitation between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. A community Celebration of Life will take place in the near future hosted by the University of Denver and Sturm College of Law.
He is survived by his daughter, Anjali, son-in-law, granddaughters, and extended family in the US and India.