Longtime Southern Arizona Jewish community member Boris Kozolchyk was recently nominated for a Nobel Prize for his extensive work addressing international economic justice. Among the distinguished organizations and individuals that nominated him are the University of Rio de la Plata and the Argentine Comparative Law Association.
“Having worked with Boris for 15 years, I have come to fully understand how his impactful work improves the human condition and he tends the landscape of peace as surely as if he were engaged in high-profile activism,” wrote Arizona Law Dean Marc Miller in a letter to the Norwegian Nobel Committee.
David Ramos Munoz, Professor of Commercial at the Universidad Carlos III de Madrid and former doctoral student in his nomination said: “Boris was unlike anyone I had ever met…[he] was and remains the first person who saw the law for what it could be: the very fabric of our social relations, and thus a vehicle for a better understanding among humans…the main difference between him and others, the one that crucially made him an ideal candidate for this Prize, was his humanism, or, if such a word existed his people-ism.”
Kozolchyk’s work and life has extended across many cultures and is guided by the Jewish values instilled in him by his parents, who immigrated to Cuba from a shtetl in Poland in the early 1930s. Kozolchyk earned his Civil Law doctorate from the University of Havana Law School in 1956 before attending law school in the United States where he received a JD Summa Cum Laude and subsequently an SJD degree. Kozolchyk was particularly influenced by Rabbi Hillel, the Jewish sage of the first century B.C.E. “People need to combine the right forces to succeed,” says Kozolchyk. “These include trust, honesty, reasonableness, and fairness.”
Kozolchyk spent 48 years as the Evo DeConcini Professor of Law at the University of Arizona James E. Rogers College of Law and authored award-winning commercial law textbooks which made him an authority in various fields of law. He has represented the United States in drafting treaties and uniform laws at the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law, the Organization of American States, and the International Chamber of Commerce.
Upon his retirement in 2017, the nonprofit organization that he founded, formerly the National Law Center for Inter-American Free Trade and affiliated with University of Arizona Law School, was renamed as the Kozolchyk National Law Center in his honor. The Center is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit research institution and a reflection of Kozolchyk’s legacy. With its dedication to economic development and poverty reduction through policy and commercial reform, the Kozolchyk Center has established itself as an intellectual powerhouse built on 30 years of experience.
Kozolchyk was named the Jewish Federation of Southern Arizona’s “Man of the Year” in 1982 for his contributions to the Jewish and broader communities.
All of Dr. Kozolchyk’s work ultimately supports his greater vision for a concern “for the other” in trade and economic development leading to his being honored by a Nobel Peace Prize nomination from his colleagues and peers.
“Dr. Kozolchyk’s commitment to economic justice around the world is an inspiration,” said Center Board of Directors Chairman Horacio Gutierrez. “My colleagues on the board and the entire team at the Center fully endorse this honor.”