The New Canaan Country School Alumni Award is presented each year to honor an alumna or alumnus who best embodies the statement from the school’s mission
. This year, the award was presented to Katherine “Kathy” Ward, member of the class of 1979.
“Kathy’s work as a war crimes lawyer and international conflict policy-maker certainly exemplify this aspect of our school’s mission,” said Head of School Timothy R. Bazemore. “We congratulate Kathy on her many contributions and the courage she has shown to make a difference in the world.”
Ms. Ward holds a master’s degree from The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy; a J.D. from University of Chicago Law School; a bachelor of arts degree in East Asian Studies and Soviet Studies from Yale University, and has also studied internationally at the University of Cambridge, St. John's College, Leningrad State University and the Beijing Foreign Languages Institute.
Ms. Ward’s professional experience has taken her around the globe, often working on major international conflict policy issues. While acting as deputy director for International Crisis Group, her areas of focus included conflicts in Asia, Africa, Iraq, the Balkans, as well as HIV/AIDS crises. She was also selected as one of 15 members of the 36th class of White House Fellows by the bipartisan Commission on White House Fellowships in 2000 and was assigned to the United States Mission to the United Nations.
Prior to that, she was a senior fellow and counsel with the Coalition of International Justice in Washington, D.C., where she served as liaison to the war crimes tribunal for the former Yugoslavia and helped to initiate the Kosovo War Crimes Documentation Project. She also worked with the Rwandan government in Africa resulted in groundbreaking intervention to ensure the trial of an alleged hate-radio leader.
Earlier in her career she was an associate at White & Case, in New York and then in Uzbekistan as its liaison for an advisory project to the Uzbek government. While still in school, she conducted human rights investigations in Cambodian refugee camps in Thailand.
Currently she is a freelance editor of publications related to field of human rights, war crimes law and international crisis response for organizations including InterAction and the Bureau for Crisis Prevention and Recovery. She also writes briefing points, rapid response memos and position papers for similar organizations. Ms. Ward currently lives in Stuttgart, Germany, with her husband, a rear admiral in the U.S. Navy, and their two children.
On Jan. 10, she returned to New Canaan Country School to share with students how her earliest education experiences at Country School helped to shape her career. She encouraged students to “Live Real, get out there and experience life. Be a spark.” Following her presentation, she answered questions posed by the eighth and ninth graders about how she overcame obstacles and made the decision to pursue her career path.
Previous New Canaan Country School Alumni Award recipients include: