The Schell Center conducts the Allard K. Lowenstein International Human Rights Clinic every term. It provides fellowship opportunities for summer and post-graduate human rights experience and for carrying out scholarship while in residence at the Law School. The Center also supports the Yale Human Rights and Development Law Journal and student projects related to human rights.  The Schell Center initiated, sponsors and manages the undergraduate Multidisciplinary Academic Program on Human Rights  in Yale College.

Throughout the academic year, the Schell Center sponsors frequent lectures, panels, symposia, and informal discussions on a wide range of human rights issues.  In 2016, the center's annual Robert L. Bernstein International Human Rights Symposium, was “Art and International Human Rights.” 

The symposium was  part of JUNCTURE: Explorations in Art and Human Rights, a new initiative sponsored by the Schell Center. JUNCTURE also included student collaboration with visiting artists, a seminar involving law and graduate students from several disciplines, fellowships for Yale MFA students producing work related to human rights, and speakers.  More information is available at

During 2015-2016, the Center’s Human Rights Workshop: Current Issues and Events included such sessions as:  Itamar Mann, JSD ’14, National Security Law Fellow, Georgetown Law Center, “The Law, Ethics and Politics of the European Agenda on Migration”; Paul Linden-Retek, ’12, Robina Foundation Visiting Human Rights Fellow, Yale Law School, and Ph.D.  Candidate, Political Science Department, Yale, “The Greek Crisis and the Failure of European Solidarity: Limits and Possibilities of Human Rights Law”; Michael B. Gerrard, Professor and Director, Sabin Center for Climate Change Law, Columbia Law School, and Chair of Faculty, The Earth Institute, “The Prospects for Human Rights Litigation as a Solution to Climate Change”; Michael Reed Hurtado, Colombian human rights advocate and Tom and Andi Bernstein Human Rights Fellow, Yale Law School, “Truth, Justice and Reparations in the Colombian Peace Deal”; Robert Barsky, Professor of English and French Literatures and Professor of Law, Vanderbilt University, “Dirt, Filth, Infection, and Border Crossings: Rendering Human Beings ‘illegal’ and ‘foreign’”; Adam Michnik, Founder and Editor-in-Chief, Gazeta Wyborcza, leading Polish newspaper, and Tom and Andi Bernstein Human Rights Fellow, Yale Law School, “Human Rights and Dissident Movements in East and Central Europe”; Gabor Rona, Visiting Professor of Law, Cardozo Law School, “Marginalization of International Law in U.S. National Security Policy:   A Matter of Life and Death”; Nicholas Robinson, ’06, Visiting Lecturer in Law and Robina Visiting Human Rights Fellow, Yale Law School, “The Right to Food and the Development of Administrative Law in India.”


Last year, the Schell Center, often in collaboration with other centers and organizations at the university, sponsored many talks by human rights advocates and scholars, including a number of former Yale Law School students. These included:   Catalina Pérez Correa,  Professor/ Researcher, División de Estudios Jurídicos, CIDE, Mexico, “Mexico's Armed Forces and Use of Lethal Force”; Tom Kellogg, Director, East Asia Program, Open Society Foundations,
“U.S. Human Rights Diplomacy: the Case of China”; Lucinda O’Hanlon, Adviser on Women's Rights, Women’s Rights and Gender Section, Office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, “Navigating Women's Human Rights at the United Nations: The Case of Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights”; Julie Hunter, ’13, international human rights attorney, Blue Ocean Law, “Nuclear Legacies, Self-Determination, and Seabed Mining: Seeking Justice in the Deep Seas of the Blue Continent”; Alina Lindblom ˊ17; Libby Marsh ˊ 17; Tasnim Motala ˊ16; and Katie Munyan ˊ17, (student panel) “Talking About Genocide: Analyzing the Persecution of Myanmar's Rohingya”; Saul Lehrfreund, Co-Executive Director, The Death Penalty Project, “The Fight to Abolish the Death Penalty in Asia, Africa and the Americas”; Denny LeBoeuf, Director,  ACLU’s John Adams Project, and Scharlette Holdman, Director, Center for Capital Assistance, “Trauma-Informed Representation:  Lessons about Torture and Culture from Guantanamo”; Adotei Akwei, Managing Director, Amnesty International USA, “Nigeria, Boko Haram and Internally Displaced People: The Impact of Humanitarian Crises on Human Rights”; Philip Leach, Professor of Human Rights Law and Director,  European Human Rights Advocacy Centre, Middlesex University, United Kingdom, “Human Rights in Crisis in Europe?”; Lieutenant-General, the Honourable Roméo Dallaire (Ret'd), Inaugural Charles E. Scheidt Family Lecture on Atrocity Prevention.

JUNCTURE events included: Chitra Ganesh, JUNCTURE Artist-in-Residence, and Mariam Ghani, JUNCTURE Artist-in-Residence and Assistant Professor of Social Practice, Queens College, “‘Tracing the Archive’: An Artistic, Archival Inquiry into Guantanamo, Domestic and Foreign Detention Practices, and CIA Black Sites”; Alfredo Jaar, Chilean Artist, “It is Difficult”; Eddie Aparcio, Eli Durst and Tomashi Jackson, MFA candidates, Yale School of Art, “Despite Everything: Contemporary Art Students and International Human Rights” (JUNCTURE MFA Fellows discuss their practices and if and how art can effect social change). 

As it does each year, the Schell Center held a human rights career panel and sponsored panels of Kirby Simon Summer Human Rights Fellows who spoke about their experience and the issues raised by their summer work.

The Robert L. Bernstein Fellowship in International Human Rights, inaugurated in 1997, funds several recent Yale Law School graduates annually for a year of full-time human rights advocacy work. The 2015-2016 Bernstein Fellows worked with the Initiative for Social and Economic Rights in Uganda to advance the right to health for people with disabilities; with the LGBT Rights Program at Human Rights Watch, focusing on violations in the United States of children’s rights on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity; and at Bureau des Avocats Internationaux in Haiti, pursuing strategic human rights litigation, rape prosecutions, and advocacy to overcome immunities for international actors.

The Robina Foundation Human Rights Fellowship also funds recent Yale Law School graduates to do full-time human rights work, particularly with appropriate international or foreign courts and tribunals and intergovernmental human rights agencies. The 2015-2016 Robina Fellows worked: in the U.N. Affairs Office of the Legal Advisor, U.S. Department of State; at the Office of the U.S. Mission to the Union Nations; and at Accountability Counsel in San Francisco. 

Each summer, the Schell Center provides students with funding for international human rights work. In 2016, Kirby Simon Summer Human Rights Fellowships, supported by the Robina Foundation, allowed 42 students to spend all or part of the summer engaged in human rights internships or research in 16 countries, including the United States.

The Center invites scholars and advocates to visit the Law School as fellows to conduct research, teach seminars, and meet with students. The Tom and Andi Bernstein Fellows in 2015-2016 were Professor Michael Reed-Hurtado, a Colombian/U.S. journalist and lawyer with more than 20 years of experience working on Latin American human rights, and Adam Michnik, founder and editor-in-chief of Gazeta Wyborcza, leading Polish newspaper.  Robina Visiting Fellows were Paul Linden-Retek, ’12, Nicholas Robinson, ’06, and Jennifer (JJ) Rosenbaum.

The Robert M. Cover-Allard K. Lowenstein Fellow in International Human Rights Law spends two to three years at the Law School, working on all aspects of the Center’s work, including supervision of the Lowenstein Clinic. The Cover-Lowenstein Fellow for 2016-2017 is Alisha Bjerregaard.

The directors of the Schell Center are Professor Paul W. Kahn and Professor James J. Silk. Hope R. Metcalf is the Executive Director.