Dear friends and colleagues,
I write with the sad news that Prof. Armand de Mestral, C.M. died on 16 June. Armand was a pillar of the Canadian international law community. He served as president of the Council from 1987 to 1990 and received the Read Medal, Council’s highest honour, in 2017. He was appointed a Member of the Order of Canada in 2007.
You can read more about Armand’s life and professional achievements here:
When I advised the Council’s board of Armand’s passing, board members responded with an outpouring of grief and admiration. I want to share some of these comments with you.
“Armand has been the sentinel for international law throughout my involvement in this area of the law. He was tenacious in his work and a stickler for getting things right. He contributed to reviving interest in this subject during difficult times. He will be missed by so many of his former students and a huge group of practitioners who benefited from his wisdom over the decades.”
“Armand was both a distinguished scholar and true gentleman. He was exceptionally kind and thoughtful, a valued friend and mentor during my 15 years at McGill.”
“I am very saddened to hear of Armand's passing. Armand made great contributions to international law and the CCIL during this long career. He was bestowed many honours, but I believe the Read Medal he received in 2017 had a special place in his heart. He was very touched. I’ll remember him as a kind and generous man."
“The year I graduated from law school, he generously, and very quickly, made very useful and most pertinent comments on my first article published in a scholarly journal, our Canadian Yearbook of International Law. And when he spoke of the principles of European integration and their potential applicability to North America, it was with a happy idealism. He remained passionate and involved in international law to the very end. Just last year he gave a presentation on current developments in international law to a group of McGill alumni from various faculties, of which I was a member."
“Armand was a ‘mediator’ between French-speaking and English-speaking internationalists, whether at McGill, the CCIL, or elsewhere. He was also a ‘mediator’ between constitutionalists and internationalists, having always cultivated an interest in Canadian constitutional law and especially in Canadian foreign relations law and aspects related to federalism.”
“Armand was also a long-time supporter of the Jessup. One of my earliest memories of him is being asked a sincere and difficult question in the closing moments of my arguments as a competitor.”
“Armand was a kind and extremely helpful mentor to me at various points throughout my own career, beginning with the hospitality of a couch in the apartment he had as a member of the Canadian delegation to UNCLOS on my first formative exposure to international law-making. He was a great teacher, scholar and friend…”
Our sincere condolences to Armand’s loved ones and friends.
Gib van Ert