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22 Sep 2021

Global Business and Human Rights Scholars Association

In Memory of John G. Ruggie: Tribute by the Global Business and Human Rights Scholars Association

22 September 2021

In Remembrance of John G. Ruggie

The Global Business and Human Rights Scholars Association joins the broader Business and Human Rights (BHR) movement in mourning the passing of Professor John G. Ruggie. A scholar can have no greater hope or tribute paid to their professional achievements than to define the language and standards of an entire field. This is what John did when he authored the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, often called his eponymous ‘Ruggie Principles.’ To date, they remain the most authoritative statement of businesses’ international responsibility for human rights. Adopted into law by states and accepted by businesses as the standard they must meet, the Ruggie Principles set the minimum expectations for our field.

In developing the Guiding Principles, John drew on his decades of research, scholarship, and practice in international relations. His work on change theory grounded him and has forever impacted the legal, policy, and social space within Business and Human Rights. That research-led approach, and his focus on using his scholarship to advance practice and protect those in situations of vulnerability, is a tribute to his intellect and his spirit. They are also a reminder to those of us who follow in his footsteps as to why we do this work and how it should be undertaken. John was a thoughtful, passionate and tireless advocate for our field. We each owe him a debt of gratitude for his service and leadership. He will be missed by colleagues and friends, and our thoughts are foremost with his beloved wife, Mary and son Andreas.