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A Tribute to Judge Judith C. Chirlin


18 Nov 2022

We are deeply saddened to share the news that Judge Judith C. Chirlin passed away on Friday 11 November 2022. She was a longtime member of our International Advisory Board and an unflagging friend and supporter of the institution and its mission.

Homer Moyer, founder of the CEELI Institute, reminisced about the hard work accomplished by Judge Chirlin in the wider Central and Eastern Europe region since the 1990s, participating in a rule of law initiative that would later lead to the creation of the CEELI Institute.

“Judge Judy Chirlin early on established herself as an important, indefatigable supporter of the rule of law and a devoted participant in CEELI and CEELI Institute programs. Beginning in 1992, Judy participated in more than 20 programs of the American Bar Association’s (ABA) Central and East European’s Law Initiative (CEELI) and its global successor, the ABA’s Rule of Law Initiative (ROLI), activities that she said ‘changed [her] life.’ Those ventures took her to some 15 different countries—from Russia to Iraq to Qatar to Libya—and to Prague, as a faculty member in a dozen or so judicial training programs at the CEELI Institute. Judy was a long-time, dedicated participant in law reform work, a friend to so many of us, and a true rule of law hero.”

Dr. Mark S. Ellis, Chair of the CEELI Institute management board, shared that “Judy Chirlin personified CEELI. She believed passionately in giving back to the legal community. She served more time than almost any other CEELI volunteer. Judy even survived a heart attack while serving as a liaison in Bulgaria, but that did not stop her; she was back volunteering within months! Judy was loved by all who worked with her. Exceptionally bright, charming, funny, and a tireless worker, Judy truly touched the lives of thousands. She became a dear friend over the many years I knew her, and I will miss her greatly.”

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