Duane W. Krohnke (dwk) is a Legal and Political Commentator.
His passions for international human rights and their connections with Christianity have emerged from his 35 years of practicing law, his nine years of teaching international human rights law, his membership of over 40 years in Minneapolis’ Westminster Presbyterian Church and his reading and international travel.
Duane practiced law (1996-2001) with major law firms in New York City (Cravath, Swaine & Moore) and Minneapolis (Faegre & Benson, n/k/a Faegre Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP). His speciality was business litigation, including constitutional and international commercial litigation. He also served on several sections and committees of bar associations and took a sabbatical leave from Faegre to teach s course about law at his alma mater, Grinnell College, and was a practitioner in residence at the University of Iowa Law School.
In 1985 he started to develop a strong interest in the international and U.S. law regarding refugees and asylum as a result of representing the American Lutheran Church in a federal lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of federal undercover agents presence at Lutheran and Presbyterian churches involved in the Sanctuary Movement in Arizona and becoming a pro bono lawyer for asylum-seekers from El Salvador. Later he represented other pro bono asylum clients from Colombia, Burma (Myanmar) and Afghanistan.
After retiring from the practice of law in 2001, Duane for nine years (2002-2010) was an Adjunct Professor at the University of Minnesota Law School, where he co-taught the international human rights law course. His specialty was refugee and asylum law and litigation in U.S. federal courts under the U.S. Alien Tort Statute and the Torture Victims Protection Act over foreign human rights violations. He also learned about other aspects of this field, including multilateral human rights treaties and the International Criminal Court.
In 1981 after 24 years of religious and spiritual nothingness, Duane renewed his Christian faith and became a member of Westminster Presbyterian, a vital and progressive church in the center of the city. He is a non-ruling Elder of the church the former Chair of its Global Partnerships Committee and now a leader of its Co-Sponsorship of an Afghan family. He has been on church mission trips to its partners in Cuba, Brazil and Cameroon and hopes to visit his church’s other partnership in Palestine. He is especially interested in finding interconnections between Christianity and law and politics.
His other international travel includes Europe (Great Britain, Spain, France, Italy, Greece, Austria, Switzerland, Czech Republic, Germany, Denmark and Belgium), Middle East (Turkey), Africa (South Africa, Namibia, Botswana and Morocco), Asia/Pacific (Singapore, Hong Kong and Australia), North America (Canada) and Latin America (Mexico, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Ecuador, Peru, Bonaire, Jamaica and the Bahamas).
He is married with two adult sons and daughters-in-law and five grandchildren in Minnesota and Ecuador.
Duane holds degrees with honors from Grinnell College in Iowa, the University of Oxford, where he was a Rhodes Scholar, and the University of Chicago Law School.