The Institute for the Study of Human Rights welcomes scholars wishing to engage in research in the area of human rights. The Visiting Scholars Program is designed to link the visiting scholars with the Columbia community by providing connections to faculty members and encouraging participation in conferences and seminars.
Read the selected biographies of some of our recent scholars below. (Note: Bios may not be up to date.) Click here for a list of additional visiting scholars.
To learn more about the Visiting Scholars Program and how to apply, click here.
Matheus Hernandez is a Visiting Scholar at the Institute for the Study of Human Rights at Columbia University for the 2017-2018 academic year where he is conducting a research on the OHCHR-NY. He is a Professor of International Relations at Faculty of Law and International Relations at Federal University of Grande Dourados (UFGD) in Brazil. He holds a PhD in Political Science from Unicamp, Brazil. His thesis (PhD Unicamp, 2015) on the institutional development of the OHCHR was considered the Best Political Science PhD Thesis of 2015 in Brazil according to National Association of Graduate Studies and Research in Social Sciences. His research interests encompass international organizations, mainly the UN, and human rights field. He is author of The Vienna Conference and the Human Rights Internationalization (Juruá Press 2014). His research has appeared in Cadernos de Política Exterior – Brazilian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Brazilian Journal of International Relations, Revista de Direito Internacional, The Age of Human Rights Journal and in edited volumes. Matheus was a member of the research team of the Brazilian National Truth Commission. He also worked as Editorial Assistant at Brazilian NGO Conectas in 2011.
Binalakshmi Nepram, born in the state of Manipur located in India's Northeast region next to Myanmar, is an writer and civil rights activist spearheading work on making women-led peace, security and disarmament meaningful. She is author of five books, her most recent being, Where are our Women in Decision Making on UNSCR 1325. In 2004, she co-founded India's first civil society organization for conventional disarmament issues, Control Arms Foundation of India. In 2007, Binalakshmi launched the Manipur Women Gun Survivor Network. She is a recipient of Dalai Lama Foundation's WISCOMP Scholar of Peace Award (2008), the Sean MacBride Peace Prize (2010), and the CNN IBN Real Heroes Award (2011).
In 2015 Forbes (India) listed Binalakshmi in 24 "Young Minds of India that Matter" and Femina Women’s Magazine honoured her with their Women Awards 2015 followed by an award by the Young Women Federation of Indian Commerce and Industries. She was also awarded with "Women Have Wings" Award from USA in 2016 and in 2017, she received Telegraph Newspaper Excellence Awards 2017 for her work with women survivors in Manipur. You can follow her work on twitter @BinaNepram
Toru Oga is an Associate Professor in International Politics, Faculty of Law, Kyushu University, Japan. He completed his MA in International Relations (2002) and Ph.D. in Ideology and Discourse Analysis (2005) at the Department of Government, University of Essex, United Kingdom. In 2008, he joined the faculty of Kyushu University. He was also a visiting scholar at St. Antony’s College, University of Oxford, and the Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies, University of Cambridge. His research interests include international relations, East Asian regionalism, and human rights regimes. His recent research has focused on human rights regimes in Southeast Asia, not least the networks of national human rights institutions (NHRIs) in Southeast Asia, specifically how the networks of NHRIs have influenced human rights policy making and advocacies in domestic politics by examining and comparing the ASEAN countries of Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, and the Philippines.
Visiting scholar 2016-2017
Angana P. Chatterji is Co-chair, Project on Armed Conflict Resolution and People’s Rights, Center for Social Sector Leadership-Haas, University of California, Berkeley. A cultural anthropologist, Dr. Chatterji’s scholarly work focuses on issues of gendered violence; nationalism and minoritization; religion in the public sphere; and cultural survival. Between 1989-2002, she worked with the Indian Social Institute, Planning Commission of India, and Asia Forest Network, on issues of community land tenure. Between 1997-2011, Chatterji served on the faculty in the Anthropology Department at the Ca. Inst. of Integral Studies, where she co-created a graduate curriculum in postcolonial anthropology. In 2005-2006, she convened a people’s tribunal in Odisha, calling attention to issues of majoritarian nationalism. In 2008-2012, Chatterji co-founded and was co-convener of the People’s Tribunal on Human Rights and Justice in Jammu & Kashmir, and her collaborative work called attention to the issue of unknown and mass graves. Chatterji is a founding-member of the South Asia Feminist Preconference at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. She has served on human rights commissions and offered expert testimony at the United Nations, European Parliament, United Kingdom Parliament, and United States Congress. Chatterji’s publications include: Violent Gods: Hindu Nationalism in India’s Present; Narratives from Orissa (2009); Land and Justice: The Struggle for Cultural Survival (forthcoming); a co-edited volume, Contesting Nation: Gendered Violence in South Asia; Notes on the Postcolonial Present (2013); a co-contributed anthology, Kashmir (2011); and the reports entitled, BURIED EVIDENCE: Unknown, Unmarked, and Mass Graves in Kashmir (2009), Communalism in Orissa (2006), and Without Land or Livelihood (2004), for which she was lead author.
Gina Cosentino is a human rights, environmental, conservation and international development leader with two decades of experience at the local, national and international levels, working with communities, NGOs, governments and the private sector. She has extensive experience in social and environmental sustainability and operationalizing best practices and human rights based approaches to conservation and development. She is also a leading practitioner in international human and environmental policy and rights norms, policy and standard-setting. More recently, she has worked as the Global Director of Indigenous and Communal Conservation at The Nature Conservancy, was the senior advisor to the National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations and to the President of the Metis National Council in Canada, and was the president of a boutique public affairs firm where she was listed on the Top 100 Public Affairs specialists in Canada. Gina’s work supports strengthening governance, sustainable livelihoods, and participatory approaches that strengthen the roles of Indigenous peoples in making decisions that will shape their futures and positively impact their lands, territories, waters and natural resources while promoting healthy ecosystems and biodiversity. Gina was an instructor in the department of political science at the University of Toronto. She is also a frequent television, print and social media political and social commentator.
Cristiana Grigore is a Fulbright scholar of Roma (Gypsy) ethnicity from Romania who graduated from Vanderbilt University in International Education Policy and Management in December 2012. Since then she has been a Research Scholar at Bard College, New York. She frequently writes and speaks about Roma in a global context. Her experiences have been featured by the International New York Times, CNN, Voice of America, NPR, Al Jazeera America etc. In 2007, Cristiana received a B.A. from Univ. of Bucharest, Romania, in Psychology. She co-founded a nonprofit organization, Link Education and Practice (LEAP), which promotes non-formal education to improve employability. Cristiana began to study ballet in graduate school, which fulfills her need for athletic and artistic expression.
Sandra Ristovska is a filmmaker and a PhD Candidate in communication at the Annenberg School for Communication, University of Pennsylvania. She is interested in the role of visuals in achieving social change and human rights. Currently, she looks at the institutionalization and professionalization of video advocacy by human rights organizations as facilitated by unfolding changes in technology, journalism and law. Sandra is a recipient of the Top Paper Award from the Philosophy, Theory and Critique Division at the International Communication Association (ICA) and the Herbert Schiller Prize from the International Association for Media and Communication Research (IAMCR). Her academic writings have appeared in The Communication Review, Journalism: Theory, Practice & Criticism, the American Journal of Sociology, the World Policy Institute Blog and Public Books. Sandra is a co-chair of the Emerging Scholars Network of IAMCR, co-director of CAMRA, an interdisciplinary media collective, and an honorary, non-resident Research Fellow at the Center for Media, Data and Society at the Central European University in Hungary. She recently worked as a cinematographer on a documentary exploring the film industry in Myanmar as affected by the political changes post 2011.
Dr. Rebecca Adami is a visiting research scholar at the Department of Arts and Humanities, Teachers College. Her post doc project titled “Women of the Declaration: Exploring Counternarratives on Human Rights from 1946-48” centers on the UN female delegates who where part of drafting the Universal Declaration on Human Rights (UDHR) in 1948. Her research interest is on the broad study of human rights in the field of philosophy of education. In her PhD thesis, titled “Human Rights Learning: the Significance of Narratives, Relationality and Uniqueness”, Dr Adami explored human rights learning through a narrative turn that focus on learners and teachers life stories, drawing on the work of Hanna Arendt and Adriana Cavarero. Her published work includes articles such as “Re-Thinking Relations in Human Rights Education: The Politics of Narratives.” in Journal of Philosophy of Education and “Towards Cosmopolitan Ethics in Teacher Education: An Ontological Dimension of Learning Human Rights”, in Ethics and Education. Dr Adami has taught university courses for teacher students on multiculturalism and diversity at the Department of Education, Stockholm University. Contact: email@example.com
Katrine Bregengaard is a researcher an curator based in New York. Her work seeks to critically investigate the genealogy of human rights theory, practice and their claim to universality, particularly in relation to their visual representation in exhibitions, museums and digital media. She is the founder of the Human Rights Exhibition Project — a traveling research initiative exhibiting the archive of UNESCO’s Human Rights Exhibition from 1949. She has exhibited her research on in New York, Copenhagen and Galway and is currently organizing exhibitions in Paris and Perth. Katrine holds an MA in Human Rights from Columbia University and a BA in Philosophy from Copenhagen university. She has previously worked on safe migration and labour rights in Kathmandu and at Danish Mission to the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, and is currently building a digital archive directory based on the historical use of photography, digital media and the arts in the human rights field.
Ulrike Capdepón (Ph.D in Political Sciences, University of Hamburg 2011). She is an associate Researcher at the Institute of Latin American Studies (ILAS) of the German Institute of Global and Area Studies (GIGA). After leaving the graduate school, she has been a Marie Curie-Fellow at the Center for Human Science and Humanities (CCHS) of the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC) in Madrid, and a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the University of Konstanz in the European Research Council Project “Narratives of Terror and Disappearance”. Her research interests include human rights policies, memory studies and transitional justice in Latin America and Spain, as well as national and international prosecutions of human rights crimes and enforced disappearance. In her new project, she analyzes the challenges and contradictions that arise in the application of universal jurisdiction in foreign tribunals as a mechanism for coming to terms with a repressive past. The current attempts to prosecute the crimes related to the Spanish Civil War and the Franco dictatorship in a court in Buenos Aires is one of her case studies.
Antonio Cisneros de Alencar is the Programme Coordinator of the United Nations’ OHCHR Country Office in Guatemala, having assisted in the integration of international human rights norms, including those related to indigenous peoples’ rights, into national plans and programmes in other countries like Brazil, Guyana, Mexico, Nicaragua, the United States of America, and Venezuela during these past 15 years, through his work with OHCHR. Mr Cisneros holds a Master’s degree in development studies from the Facultad Latinoamericana de Ciencias Sociales (FLACSO) in Mexico, and Bachelor’s degrees in Communications and in Latin American Studies from the University of Florida, in the United States of America.
Ann Marie Clark is an Associate Professor of Political Science at Purdue University specializing in international relations. Her research interests include theories of human rights norms in international relations, the influence of non-governmental organizations on state behavior, theories of global justice, and how ideas about right and wrong are put into practice by global political actors.
Jagoda Rošul-Gajić is a Ph.D. candidate at Universität der Bundeswehr München, Institute of Political Science, in the Department of International Relations in Germany. Her research focuses on the implementation of international women’s human rights norms into domestic policies in post-war Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina, and on the role of norm advocates at the level of the state, in this case mainly on women’s non-governmental organizations and grassroots groups. Since July 2013 Jagoda has been granted a research fellowship from the Hans Böckler Foundation, Germany. Her work is published in academic and journalistic forums. In the 90s Jagoda was a human rights activist in Croatia and has established two NGOs. From October 2012 till June 2013 she was a head of education section at the FAM-Frauenakademie München e.V. (Women's Academy) in Germany.
Radwan Ziadeh is the Head of the Syrian Commission for Transitional Justice established by the Syrian Interim Government to work on the transitional justice. He is the founder and director of the Damascus Center for Human Rights Studies in Syria and co-founder and executive director of the Syrian Center for Political and Strategic Studies in Washington, D.C. He is the managing editor of the Transitional Justice in the Arab World Project. He is also a member of the Syrian National Preparatory committee for Transitional Justice. He was involved in documenting the ongoing human rights violations in Syria and testified at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva. He was elected in October 2011 as director of the Foreign Relations Office of the Syrian National Council until he resigned from the position in November 2012. In 2009 he was awarded the Middle East Studies Association (MESA) Academic Freedom award in Boston; and in 2010 he accepted the Democracy Courage Tributes award on behalf of the human rights movement in Syria, given by the World Movement for Democracy in Jakarta, Indonesia. His most recent book is Power and Policy in Syria: Intelligence Services, Foreign Relations and Democracy in the Modern Middle East (I.B.Tauris, 2011).
Ahmed Hussain Adam is a prominent Sudanese politician and scholar from Darfur. Mr. Adam studied law in Sudan and public international law in the UK, where he received his LL/M in International Law from Westminster University, London 1999. Mr. Adam has been a prominent voice for the people of Darfur and all oppressed Sudanese. He has been one of the principal negotiators on behalf of the people of Darfur in various peace talks sponsored by international and regional organizations such as the United Nations, the African Union, and the Arab League. Mr. Adam is currently a Visiting Scholar and co-chair of the Two Sudans Forum at ISHR. Mr. Adam is also writing a book manuscript on Darfur titled: Darfur Betrayed: An Insider Perspective. The proposed book attempts to offer a scholarly and insider perspective on Darfur peace processes since 2004.The book will critically examine the role and response of the regional and international community to the crisis of Darfur.