René Cassin (rənā´ cäsăN´), 1887–1976, French jurist and humanitarian. He studied law at the universities of Aix-en-Provence and Paris, earned (1914) a doctorate, and practiced until World War I, in which he fought and was severely wounded. He was a law professor at the universities of Lille (1920–29) and Paris (1929–60). As a delegate (1924–38) to the League of Nations he was a forceful proponent of disarmament. During World War II he held high office in de Gaulle's Free French government-in-exile in London. Serving in several high political and judicial posts in France after the war, he was also a founder (1944) of UNESCO and a delegate (1945–52) to it and a French representative (1946–68) to the United Nations. As president (1947–48) of the UN Commission on the Rights of Man, he played a key role in the promulgation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. He was later (1965–68) president of the European Court of Human Rights. In 1968 Cassin was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his many humanitarian efforts; he used his prize money to found the International Institute of Human Rights.
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