March 23-24, 2017

“Human Rights in a Time of Populism”

Harvard Law School


The Human Rights in a Time of Populism conference will discuss the challenges that current developments characterized as populist pose to the goals of the international human rights system, and more broadly the relationship between human rights and populism, and strategies for dealing with the current challenges.

The range of approaches to this general topic will be intentionally broad-ranging and multidisciplinary, including:

  • What is populism; is it increasing and why; is populism in conflict with internationally recognized human rights, or a legitimate exercise of human rights?

  • What challenges does populism create for the protection of internationally recognized human rights; how can human rights NGOs and human rights institutions respond to these challenges?

  • Should human rights-based responses directly address populism; what can human rights-based responses do to decrease populism; what human rights-based responses are likely to make matters worse by causing or increasing populist backlash?

  • Have human rights NGOs or institutions contributed unintentionally to the rise of populism by provoking backlash; if so what should human rights NGOs or institutions do in the face of populist backlash; does increased populism point in other ways to lessons that should be learned by human rights NGOs or institutions?

Speakers will address these questions generally and within particular national or regional contexts, such as the Philippines, Latin America, the United Kingdom, Western or Eastern Europe, and the United States.

Participants include:

  • Alexander Aleinikoff, University Professor, Milano School of International Affairs, Management, and Urban Policy, The New School

  • Helena Alviar García, Visiting Professor of Law, Harvard Law School

  • Rosalind Dixon, Professor of Law, University of New South Wales, Faculty of Law

  • Tyler Giannini, Clinical Professor of Law, Harvard Law School; Clinical Director, Human Rights Program

  • Laurence Helfer, Harry R. Chadwick, Sr. Professor of Law, Duke Law School

  • Richard J. Heydarian, International Affairs Commentator & Journalist

  • Alexandra Huneeus, Associate Professor of Law, University of Wisconsin Law School

  • Doug Johnson, Lecturer in Public Policy; Director, Carr Center for Human Rights, Kennedy School

  • Martha Minow, Carter Professor of General Jurisprudence, Harvard Law School; Harvard University Distinguished Service Professor

  • Gerald Neuman, J. Sinclair Armstrong Professor of International, Foreign, and Comparative Law, Harvard Law School; Co-Director, Human Rights Program

  • Jamie O’Connell, Lecturer, University of California, Berkeley School of Law; Senior Fellow, Honorable G. William and Ariadna Miller Institute for Global Challenges and the Law

  • Ruth Okediji, Jeremiah Smith, Jr. Professor of Law, Harvard Law School; Co-Director, Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society

  • Michael Posner, Jerome Kohlberg Professor of Ethics and Finance and Professor of Business and Society, NYU Stern School of Business; Director, Center for Business and Human Rights

  • Wojciech Sadurski, Challis Professor in Jurisprudence, The University of Sydney

  • John Shattuck, Professor of Practice in Diplomacy, The Fletcher School, Tufts University

  • Dinah Shelton, Manatt/Ahn Professor of International Law Emeritus, The George Washington University Law School

The conference will take place for 1.5 days on March 23-24, 2018 at Harvard Law School. It will take place in Austin North on March 23rd and Langdell Hall, Vorenberg on March 24th. It is open to the public.

Share By Email