November 27, 2017

Rabbi Arik Ascherman, "Using Israel’s Legal System in the Struggle for Human Rights in Israel/Palestine"

Rabbi Arik Ascherman is the founder and director of "Torat Tzedek" (Torah of Justice), which defends the human rights of all Israelis and those under Israeli control, advocating for Palestinians, socioeconomic justice for Israelis, African asylum seekers, and Israel's Negev Bedouin citizens. Previously, Rabbi Ascherman served as co-director and executive director of Rabbis for Human Rights. Rabbi Ascherman was also the director of Hillel at U.C. Davis and Congregation Mevakshei Derekh in Jerusalem, and the rabbi of Temple Beth Hillel in Richmond, CA, and Kibbutz Yahel. While in Richmond, Rabbi Ascherman set up a homeless shelter rotating between Beth Hillel and local churches. At the Schell Center, Rabbi Ascherman discussed the possibilities and limits of the law in addressing human rights violations in Israel.

November 9, 2017

Human Rights Workshop: Melissa Hooper, "“Lessons from Poland’s Attacks on Independent Institutions: Civil Society, the Media, and the Judiciary”

Melissa Hooper is a lawyer, rule of law expert, and the Director of Human Rights and Civil Society programs at Human Rights First. Her research focuses on Russia’s foreign policy strategies of spreading Russian influence and undermining democratic institutions and the intersection of these strategies with autocratic or anti-democratic trends in neighboring countries, most recently in Eastern Europe. For instance, she has recently investigated Russia’s use of non-governmental organizations, such as foundations and think tanks, to spread anti-democratic ideas and disinformation in Europe, including around the German elections. She discussed this and other concerning trends and more at the Schell Center.

November 6, 2017

Maria Burnett ’05, "Human Rights Abuse and Threats to Civil Society in East Africa"

Maria Burnett is an Associate Director at Human Rights Watch and in charge of the organization’s work on East Africa, with expertise in Uganda, emerging human rights issues in Central Africa, and Somalia. She has worked with the organization since 2005, first as the Burundi researcher in the Bujumbura field office. Burnett has worked on a range of human rights issues, including child soldiers, torture and killings by intelligence and counterterrorism agents, abuses by the Lord's Resistance Army, and justice reform in Central and East Africa. Before joining Human Rights Watch, Burnett worked as an architect and journalist in Africa. Burnett discussed the challenges to human rights she sees in Uganda, Ethiopia, Kenya, and Burundi.

November 2, 2017

Gregory Khalil '03, "An Unholy Alliance? Faith, Politics and the Law: America and the 'Holy Land'"

Greg Khalil is President and Co-Founder of the Telos Group.  Prior to that Greg lived in Ramallah, the West Bank, where he advised the Palestinian leadership on peace negotiations with Israel. Although Greg was born and raised in San Diego, California, much of his extended family still lives in Beit Sahour, a predominantly Palestinian Christian town near Bethlehem. He has lectured widely on the Middle East and has been published by The Review of Faith & International Affairs and The New York Times. At the Schell Center, Khalil spoke about his work to promote a deeper understanding of Israeli-Palestinian issues among American leaders.

November 2, 2017

Human Rights Workshop: Sarah Azaransky, "Global Roots of the U.S. Civil Rights Movement"

Sarah Azaransky is assistant professor of social ethics at Union Theological Seminary in New York City. At the Human Rights Workshop, she discussed her new book, This Worldwide Struggle: Religion and the International Roots of the Civil Rights Movement. Azaransky is also the editor of Religion and Politics in America’s Borderlands, and she co-wrote the successful application for Pauli Murray’s childhood home to receive National Historic Landmark designation.

October 19, 2017

Human Rights Workshop: David D. Cole, “Fighting the Muslim Ban and Defending Liberty in the Trump Era”

David Cole is National Legal Director at the American Civil Liberties Union.  He has litigated many constitutional cases in the Supreme Court, including Texas v. Johnson and United States v. Eichman, which extended First Amendment protection to flag burning; National Endowment for the Arts v. Finley, which challenged political content restriction on NEA funding; and Holder v. Humanitarian Law Project, which challenged a federal statute that, under the guise of prohibiting “material support” to terrorist groups, makes it a crime to advocate for peace and human rights. Cole is the Hon. George J. Mitchell Professor in Law and Public Policy at Georgetown University. Cole writes regularly for The Nation, New York Review of Books, Washington Post, and many other periodicals. He is the author or editor of ten books. At the Human Rights Workshop, he discussed the legal and other difficulties of fighting for human rights in the U.S. today.

October 16, 2017

Binger Inaugural Lecture with Professor Jim Silk '89, “From Nuremberg to the Netherlands to Nineveh? The Book of Jonah, International Criminal Justice and the Promise of Human Rights”

In October, Schell Center Co-Director Jim Silk delivered the Inaugural Lecture for the Binger Clinical Chair in Human Rights. The Robina Foundation endowed this professorship as part of its January 2017 $13-million gift to the Law School. In his talk, Silk described his youthful veneration of the Nuremberg Trials, which began to waver as he studied the trial of Ivan Demjanjuk in Israel and worked for Justice Aharon Barak during Demjanjuk’s appeal. His misgivings about international criminal justice grew as tribunals for the former Yugoslavia and for Rwanda and the International Criminal Court were established and the discourse of human rights increasingly invested its support and hopes in international criminal justice, rather than focus as much on addressing systemic human rights violations and holding states contemporaneously accountable, rather than individuals retrospectively accountable. Silk concluded his lecture by interpreting the biblical Book of Jonah, a morality tale that has long fascinated him, to address his concern that the enthusiasm for retributive justice endangers the most fundamental principles of human rights.


October 4, 2017

The International Refugee Protection Regime Under Threat: Are the Global Compacts the Way Ahead?

Guy S. Goodwin Gill is Professor of Law at the University of New South Wales and the Acting Director of the Kaldor Centre for International Refugee Law. He is also Emeritus Fellow of All Souls College and Emeritus Professor of International Refugee Law of the University of Oxford, and practices as a barrister from Blackstone Chambers in London. He is a Patron of Asylum Aid in the United Kingdom and served as the President of Refugee & Migrant Justice, the President of the Media Appeals Board of Kosovo, and the Founding Editor and Editor-in-Chief of the International Journal of Refugee Law. Between 1976 and 1988, he worked for UNHCR in various roles, including as Senior Legal Research Officer, Legal Adviser (Europe and North America Bureau), Deputy Chief Resettlement, and Legal Adviser (Australia and New Zealand). At the Schell Center, he discussed the history of the international refugee regime and the challenges it currently faces.

September 26, 2017

Fighting for the Rights of Low-Wage and Guest Workers: A Conversation with J.J. Rosenbaum, Daniel Castellanos (National Guestworker Alliance) & Gerardo Reyes Chávez (Coalition of Immokalee Workers)

Gerardo Reyes Chávez is a leader of the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW), a worker-based human rights organization that has negotiated with corporations such as Taco Bell and Wal-Mart to raise workers’ wages and protect workers’ rights. Daniel Castellanos, a former guestworker himself, is one of the co-founders of the National Guestworker Alliance (NGA), which works to empower low-wage and contingent workers across the United States. Former Schell Fellow JJ Rosenbaum, who was recently honored by the National Day Laborer Organizing Network and is working on a project addressing abuses in the global supply chain, hosted this conversation with these prominent workers’ rights advocates.

September 14, 2017

Human Rights Workshop: Bayartsetseg Jigmiddash, “Gender-Based Violence in Mongolia”

Bayartsetseg Jigmiddash is a lawyer with more than 15 years of professional experience in the field of rule of law and human rights. She is currently the CEO and Founding Director of Veritas Consulting, an agency specializing in strategic development, management and government compliance. From 2012 to 2016, Jigmiddash served as Secretary of State of the Ministry of Justice of Mongolia, becoming the first woman appointed in this position. In this role, she oversaw the strategy, operations of the ministry and law enforcement agencies. Under her leadership, the legal policy on gender-based violence has been significantly improved, including criminalization of domestic violence. Prior to this top civil service post, she served as legal advisor to the president of Mongolia, and has been involved in the judicial reform as well as abolishment of death penalty in Mongolia. She has extensive civil society experience and pioneered an array of initiatives to promote human rights and access to justice. At the Schell Center, she discussed her work to protect the rights of Mongolian women.

April 17, 2017

Yara Salam, “The Challenge of Being a Woman Human Rights Defender in Egypt"

Yara Salam is the Criminal Justice Unit director at the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR). Prior to her work on that portfolio, Yara worked at EIPR as a researcher on transitional justice, and as researcher on freedom of religion and belief, as the Women Human Rights Defenders Program manager at Nazra for Feminist Studies (Egypt), a professional legal assistant at the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACHPR) in The Gambia, and as a research assistant at the Institute of Research for Development (IRD) focusing on women’s rights in Egypt. 


April 11, 2017

Eric Biel ’85, "Worker Rights and Responsible Business Conduct: Challenges and Opportunities in a Changed Washington"

Eric Biel joined the Bureau of International Labor Affairs (ILAB) at the U.S. Department of Labor in January 2012 as part of ILAB’s leadership team, working on a diverse set of projects, including on supply chain issues and engagement with foreign governments and other stakeholders on a range of labor law and policy matters. From 2000-11, Biel held a variety of positions outside of government, including Managing Director for Corporate Responsibility at Burson-Marsteller and Deputy Washington Director and Senior Counsel of Human Rights First.


April 4, 2017

Renovation: A Presentation and Book Talk with Artist Nancy Davenport

In 2008, the United Nations embarked on a massive renovation of its New York complex. For six years, Nancy Davenport documented that project, taking photographs and interviewing construction workers and UN employees. Davenport will discuss her new book, which, through an array of photographs, interview transcripts, and archival images, offers, in the words of historian Perry Anderson, “a glimpse of the history of possibility.”


March 30, 2017

Human Rights Workshop: Pardiss Kebriaei, "Rights in a Post-Post-9/11 America"

Pardiss Kebriaei is a Senior Staff Attorney at the Center for Constitutional Rights, where she works on challenging U.S. government abuses in the national security context. She advocates on behalf of other cases as part of the No Separate Justice Campaign, a grassroots initiative formed to shed light on unjust domestic terrorism prosecutions. Prior to coming to the Center for Constitutional Rights she worked at the Center for Reproductive Rights. She has also taught courses at Hunter and Brooklyn Colleges of the City University of New York. She graduated from Northwestern University and the University of Pennsylvania Law School. 


March 9, 2017

Human Rights Workshop: Nick Robinson ’06, “India and the Global Rise of Illiberal Democracy”

Nick Robinson is a Lecturer in Political Science at Yale University, where he teaches a course on human rights, and a Schell Visiting Human Rights Fellow at Yale Law School, where he has taught on the legal profession. After graduating from Yale Law School in 2006, Nick spent seven years in South Asia, clerking for Chief Justice Sabharwal of the Indian Supreme Court, working at Human Rights Law Network (HRLN) in New Delhi on rights litigation involving water and health, and teaching law at National Law School-Bangalore, Lahore University Management Sciences, and Jindal Global Law School.


March 2, 2017

Human Rights Workshop: Amanda Alexander ’13, “Movement Lawyering in the Era of Black Lives Matter”

Amanda Alexander ’13, is an assistant professor and postdoctoral scholar in Afro-American studies and law at the University of Michigan, and a member of the Michigan Society of Fellows. As a lawyer, legal scholar, and advocate, she works to reduce the impact of mass incarceration on families and build thriving communities.


February 23, 2017

Human Rights Workshop: Avram Finkelstein, Artist & Activist, “Fire with Fire: Resistance in an Image Culture”

Avram Finkelstein is an artist, writer and founding member of the collective responsible for Silence=Death and AIDSGATE, which was recently included in Regarding Warhol: Sixty Artists, Fifty Years at The Metropolitan Museum in New York. He is also a founding member of the art collective, Gran Fury, with whom he collaborated on public art projects for international institutions including The Whitney Museum of American Art, The Venice Biennale, ArtForum, MOCA LA, The New Museum of Contemporary Art, Creative Time, and The Public Art Fund. The collective had its first retrospective at 80 WSE in 2012, and has work in the permanent collections of The Whitney, MoMA, The New Museum and The New York Public Library.


February 16, 2017

Human Rights Workshop: Melissa Hooper, "Lessons from Russia, Hungary and Poland"

Melissa Hooper is Director of the International Law Scholarship Project/Pillar Project, which aims to foster U.S. compliance with international human rights and humanitarian law. Melissa’s work examines U.S. human rights implementation from an international perspective, educating U.S. courts on international standards applicable in domestic cases on issues such as Guantanamo detentions, prison conditions including solitary confinement, refugee protection, and other issues where the United States may be out of line with international practice. 


February 10, 2017

Human Rights Workshop: Keramet Reiter, “23/7: Pelican Bay Prison and the Rise of Long-Term Solitary Confinement”

Keramet Reiter, an assistant professor in the Department of Criminology, Law and Society and at the School of Law at the University of California, Irvine, has worked as an associate at Human Rights Watch and has testified about the impacts of solitary confinement before state and federal legislators. She studies prisons, prisoners’ rights, and the impact of prison and punishment policy on individuals, communities, and legal systems.

This event was part of Inside the Box.