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Remembering Stephen J. Solarz

Stephen J. Solarz '62 (1940-2010)   Committed to Justice

(A version of this article appeared in BrandeisNOW.)

Stephen J. Solarz ’62 (1940-2010) was a founding member of the Center’s International Advisory Board. The editor of the Justice student newspaper at Brandeis, Solarz went on to law school and a career in politics.

A nine-term Congressman from Brooklyn first elected at age 34, Solarz quickly became a rising star of the Democratic Party on foreign policy issues, developing especially strong ties with the Philippines, India, and Turkey, among other countries. He served on the Foreign Affairs, Budget, and Education and Labor Committees, and played major roles in Congress’ effort to restore democracy to the Philippines, abolish apartheid in South Africa, and bring peace to Cambodia.

After leaving elected office, Solarz cofounded the International Crisis Group to help prevent and resolve man-made crises in the international community, and accepted a variety of roles as a teacher and consultant. A graduate of Brandeis University and Columbia University, he most recently worked as Senior Counselor at APCO Associates, a public affairs firm, and as President of Solarz Associates, an international consulting firm.

When then-Brandeis President Jehuda Reinharz established the Center's advisory board, he drew on Steve Solarz’s extensive experience and overseas contacts to help build it, and asked Solarz to join its ranks. Solarz attended meetings regularly, and pushed passionately for the Center to engage in controversial issues as an extension of the Brandeis commitment to open debate and public engagement.

“Steve Solarz was the quintessential Brandeis alumnus: tireless, outspoken, compassionate, and deeply committed to justice and democracy in every corner of the world,” says Reinharz.

“Steve Solarz lived his belief in international cooperation and dialogue,” remembers Center Director Daniel Terris, “and he always pushed us at Brandeis to extend our global reach.”