His Words Became The "Conscience of Mankind"

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John Peters Humphrey

John Peters Humphrey, lawyer and law professor at McGill University, authored the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the document commissioned by the United Nations and adopted as its mission statement in 1948. It’s widely considered one of the single most influential documents of the 20th century, referred to as “the conscience of mankind” by Pope John Paul II. But for over a decade, a co-author, Rene Cassin, was given full credit as its creator – even winning the Nobel Peace Prize in 1968. Humphrey never spoke up, and might never have received credit were it not for a team of researchers who found a handwritten draft of the Declaration among Humphrey’s papers many years later. A New Brunswick native, Humphrey 20 years working on global human rights issues for the U.N. before returning to teach law at McGill until his retirement in 1995.

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McGill University

McGill University is one of Canada's best-known institutions of higher learning and one of the leading universities in the world. With students coming to McGill from over 150 countries, our student body is the most internationally diverse of any research-intensive university in the country.