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Human Rights @ Harvard Law

Clinic

Role Plays & Simulations

Students collaborate during the Clinic's semi-annual fact-finding role play.

Students collaborate during the Clinic’s semi-annual fact-finding role play.

Each semester, the Clinic conducts a series of role plays and simulations to introduce students to the responsibilities, skills, and challenges of human rights advocacy. Our fact-finding role play is the centerpiece of this pedagogy.

In a fictional scenario featuring more than a dozen 3L actors, new clinical students carry out a day-long interviewing and documentation exercise where they sort through contested testimonies and evidence. Working in small teams, and shadowed by clinical staff, students piece together their findings as they wrestle with questions of ethics, effectiveness, and resource constraints. An in-class debrief rounds out the role play with discussions of the numerous issues raised, including those related to consent, confidentiality, accuracy, cultural-sensitivity, self-awareness, interviewing, time management, and evidence analysis.

In addition to the fact-finding role play, seminar instructors routinely include other simulations in their coursework, such as a treaty negotiation module and a media outreach exercise.

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