Amal Alamuddin Clooney
Lebanese-British lawyer and activist Amal Ramzi Alamuddin Clooney was born in Beirut in February 1978. She was raised in England and studied at Oxford University and NYU before beginning her notable law career. She has also been a part of several United Nations commissions and tribunals. In September 2014 she stepped even further into the limelight when she married superstar actor George Clooney.
From Lebanon to London
Amal Ramzi Alamuddin was born in Beirut, Lebanon on February 3, 1978. Her father was a professor at the American University in Beirut and owner of a travel agency, and her mother was a journalist. When Alamuddin was 2 years old, her family fled Lebanon to escape the ravages of the civil war that had begun in the mid-1970s and engulfed the country in violence.
The family settled in London, England in 1980, and Alamuddin attended a small school on the city's outskirts. An excellent student, she earned a scholarship to attend Oxford University beginning in 1996. While there, she developed an interest in human rights and graduated from the institution with a bachelor’s degree in law in 2000.
Distinguished Student and Lawyer
Alamuddin then entered the NYU School of Law to pursue a master’s degree. Beyond the classroom, she augmented her studies with several notable clerkships, working at the U.S. Court of Appeals with future Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor and at the International Court of Justice. Alamuddin completed her studies in 2002 and passed the New York State Bar the same year.
After passing the bar, Alamuddin was employed at the New York City–based Sullivan & Cromwell, one of the top-ranked law firms in the world. Working as part of its defense group, Alamuddin represented many newsworthy clients, including Enron and Arthur Andersen during probes into their criminal activities. In 2005, however, Alamuddin refocused her career on international law when she became part of a United Nations tribunal established to prosecute the persons responsible for the assassination of former Lebanese prime minister Rafic Hariri.
A High-Profile Career
In 2010 Alamuddin returned to London to work as a barrister (a legal representative similar to a lawyer) for Doughty Street Chambers, a firm with a strong history of civil liberties work. Since joining the firm she has handled several high-profile cases in international courts, including the defense of former Ukranian prime minster Yulia Tymoshenko; Muammar al-Qaddafi’s intelligence chief Abdullah al-Senussi; and WikiLeaks editor-in-chief Julian Assange.
Beyond her criminal defense cases, Alamuddin has also held several important advisory roles, working with Kofi Annan for a United Nations commission on Syria and acting as counsel during a 2013 inquiry into the use of drones in counter-terrorist activities. She has also contributed to the Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict initiative, which works to defend the rights of women in war zones, and in early 2015 announced that she would represent Armenia in the European Court of Human Rights during its case against Turkey for the denial of the Armenian genocide.
Outside of court, Alamuddin has lectured on criminal law at such institutions as the University of London and the Hague Academy of International Law. As of March 2015, she is a visiting faculty member at Columbia Law School’s Human Rights Institute.
A High-Profile Marriage
Already a star in the legal world, Alamuddin stepped even more squarely into the limelight when she became involved with superstar actor and famous bachelor George Clooney. The couple was married in Venice, Italy, in September 2014 and shortly thereafter moved to a multimillion dollar estate built on a small island in the Thames in London. The politically minded power couple made their first of many philanthropic efforts together when they donated the money they received for their wedding photos to a human rights charity.
In February 2017, news reports surfaced that Amal is pregnant and expecting twins in June.
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