Previous Other Speakers Events

The Human Rights Happy Hour Speaker Series features scholars and practitioners from around the world. These multidisciplinary lectures foster dialogue around complex human rights issues. Each lecture draws a wide array of students, faculty, and community members, creating an atmosphere characteristic of the collaborative nature of human rights work.

  1. Author Fatin Abbas will read from her novel, Ghost Season, and from a memoir about her family’s exile from Sudan. Set in the borderlands of Sudan and South Sudan, Abbas’s novel explores narratives of civil war, delving into themes of conflict, climate change, community, nationhood, and humanitarian aid, and draws on her family’s experience of political repression following her father’s imprisonment in Sudan. Abbas' reading will reflect on the ongoing war in Sudan to examine relations between arts, literature, activism, and human rights.
  2. Two dynamics have been making their imprint on the political landscape of Europe over the past decade: the rise of economic inequality and the rise of far-right parties. Are the two phenomena related? And why isn’t the rage of impoverished workers fueling support for the left? Professor Albena Azmanova will trace policy developments through which these processes have taken place, in order to disclose the political and economic logic behind the spread of autocratic rule in Europe.
  3. This critical, interdisciplinary roundtable discussion, framed by two exhibitions of materials from Chile at the Benson Latin American Collection, brings together scholars and activists who will focus on different historical memories to consider the history and trajectory of Chile over the past six decades as they think towards possible futures.
  4. How might we use this moment to rename, refine, and make more publicly intelligible the set of justice concerns – access, historical redress, fairness, equal opportunity – that were in many ways shorthanded by DEI? Please join us for a roundtable discussion on “Critical Lives in Red States.”
  5. Join us for a screening of Rebecca Richman Cohen's short documentary, "The Recall: Reframed"
  6. Acclaimed Iraqi-American writer Sinan Antoon will present on "When Wars and Wounds Collide."
  7. Lunch & Learn with BU Law Professor Aziza Ahmed who will discuss the current crisis of crisis pregnancy centers.
  8. In this talk, Chilean legal scholar Amaya Alvez, who served as an elected member of the 2021-22 Chilean Constitutional Convention, argued that Chile’s Constitutions have long enabled natural resource governance that perpetuates (neo)colonial dispossession and makes Indigenous peoples invisible.
  9. Dr. Adil Hasan Khan of Melbourne Law School discussed the widely perceived and ongoing "citizenship crisis" in contemporary India, highlighting the historic relationship between the phenomenon of statelessness and the institution and protection of minority rights.
  10. Melissa Murray, professor at New York University School of Law and leading expert in family law, constitutional law, and reproductive rights and justice, delivered an address titled “Race-ing Roe and Woke Warriors: Weaponizing Racial Justice at the Supreme Court.”
  11. A discussion with UN Special Rapporteur on human rights and counter-terrorism, Fionnuala Ní Aoláin, hosted by the University of Minnesota's Human Rights Center.
  12. This two-part inaugural event of the Sissy Farenthold Fund for Peace and Social Justice brought together elected officials representing Austin and Travis County residents at the city, county, state, and federal levels—along with abortion funders and abortion rights advocates—to share strategies for securing post-Roe reproductive justice in Texas and beyond.
  13. Speaker:
    Antonio Herman Benjamin, Justice on the Superior Tribunal de Justiça (the National High Court of Brazil), presented his current work on the legal protection of forests and emerging principles in environmental law.
  14. Nancy Hollander, an internationally recognized criminal defense attorney, represented Mohamedou Ould Slahi, who was detained for 14 years without charge. The case inspired 'The Mauritanian' (2021), with Jodie Foster as Hollander.
  15. This event featured a bilingual conversation between quilombola advocates in Brazil and members of the Austin Justice Coalition about shared experiences and differences in the fight against white supremacy, police violence, and territorial dispossession in Brazil and the U.S.
  16. Speaker:
    • Visiting Postdoctoral Scholar, Abbasi Program in Islamic Studies, Stanford University
    Our Inaugural Scholars at Risk Lecture, followed by a reception at Texas Law.
  17. Participants met with activists to learn about Grassroots Leadership's work fighting for decarceration, including in the context of immigration detention.
  18. Thomas Saenz, President and General Counsel of the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF), spoke on “Latino and Immigrant Rights in the Trump Era” at the Law School.
  19. Speaker:
    • Associate Professor of Law, Thabo Mbeki African Leadership Institute, University of South Africa
    Dr. Djoyou Kamga's presented her research, which over the years has demonstrated a profound and sustained commitment to advancing knowledge about human rights in Africa, especially on the right to development in the African human rights system, human rights from cross cultural perspectives, and disability rights.
  20. Speaker:
    • Associate Professor of Law, Thabo Mbeki African Leadership Institute, University of South Africa
  21. Speaker:
    • Associate Professor of Music; Director, Latin American Studies Program, University of California-Riverside
  22. Speaker:
    • Associate Professor, Department of Political Science and Public Administration, Babcock University, Nigeria
  23. Speaker:
    • Associate Professor, Department of Political Science and Public Administration, Babcock University, Nigeria
  24. Speaker:
  25. Speaker:
    • Professor, Department of History, Centre for Peace Studies, McMaster University, Canada
    Rapoport Center Visiting Professor, Dr. Bonny Ibhawoh, will participate in a panel at the 18th Annual Africa Conference.
  26. Speaker:
    • Professor, Department of History, Centre for Peace Studies, McMaster University, Canada
    Rapoport Center Visiting Professor, Dr. Bonny Ibhawoh, will participate in a panel at the 18th Annual Africa Conference.
  27. Speaker:
    • Lecturer, Department of Sociology and Senior Fellow, Kleinman Center for Energy Policy, University of Pennsylvania
    Among the major changes in employment in recent decades, the rise of independent contracting is one of the least understood. In fact, why less-skilled workers choose to become independent contractors has not been studied in detail at all.
  28. Speaker:
    Since being retained by the Chagos Islanders in 1997, Robin Mardemootoo has litigated in the UK, the US, and now before the ICJ at The Hague. He is the leading lawyer coordinating the crossborder litigation, which seeks to return the Chagossian people to their homeland and compensate them for the abuses they suffered at the hands of the US and UK governments.
  29. Speaker:
    • Associate Professor of Sociology, University of California-Santa Barbara
    Sarah Thébaud, Associate Professor of Sociology, University of California-Santa Barbara, will discuss her research on gender inequalities and work practices.
  30. Speaker:
    • Distinguished Professor Emeritus in Latin American Literatures and Culture - Ohio State University
    Dr. Rodríguez's presentation explores: 1) the nature, possibility or impossibility of the political, examining the makeup of the social subject—here woman as urban guerrilla; and 2) the understanding of ‘the feminine’ as an entry point to the maleability or transformability of being.
  31. Speaker:
    Clark will discuss the work of Columbia University’s Center for Oral History Research in conversation with the Rapoport Center’s Archives and Human Rights working group.
  32. Speaker:
    This talk will explore the ethical, legal and constitutional issues that have arisen since the designation of Guantánamo Bay as a site of incarceration and torture for people suspected of terrorism against the United States, following the events of September 11, 2001.
  33. Speaker:
    Clark will visit Professor Ann Cvetkovich’s Archival Fictions seminar in order to discuss Columbia University’s September 11, 2001 Oral History and Narrative Memory Project.
  34. Graduate students who undertook Summer Fellowships in Human Rights will reflect on their field work, and share their experience working at some of the most cutting-edge human rights and social justice organizations around the world. Free pizza and refreshments!
  35. Speaker:
    • Professor of History, University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee
    This talk explores some of the exploits of the American Committee for the Protection of the Foreign Born (ACPFB), an immigrant rights organization operative between 1933 and 1982.
  36. Arne Kalleberg from the University of North Carolina will present "Precarious Lives: Job Insecurity and Well-Being in Rich Democracies" as part of the Population Research Center Brown Bag series.
  37. Speaker:
    Dietrich Thränhardt, one of the most renowned European immigration scholars, will discuss the influx of Syrian refugees to the European Union since 2015, Germany's contradictory responses to this refugee immigration, and the European Union's struggle to find a common approach in the field of migration policies.
  38. Speaker:
    • Senior Counsel, Brennan Center for Justice, NYU School of Law
  39. The Human Rights Clinic at Texas Law will present its report "Control...Over the Entire State of Coahuila: An analysis of testimonies in trials against Zeta members in San Antonio, Austin, and Del Rio, Texas."
  40. Speaker:
    • Climakaze Artistic Director, FUNDarte, Inc. & Americas Program Coordinator, National Performance Network
    Cultural response to climate change is now inevitably global and local, telling specific stories about people, the land where they live and unique ecosystems, and communities of solidarity. This presentation will address these themes through discussion of Elizabeth Doud’s performance research project and other cultural organizing work.
  41. Speaker:
  42. Speaker:
  43. Speaker:
    Join a discussion co-sponsored by SAI and led by Dr. Sarojini Nadimpally on what privacy rights mean in the current Indian political context. 
  44. Central American migration to the U.S. and to Mexico presents unique challenges in the current political environment. This panel of Mexican and U.S. migration experts will discuss the obstacles facing Central Americans who are fleeing violence and seeking protection.
  45. Speaker:
    • Human Rights Activist; Rapoport Center Visiting Practitioner
    Human rights activist Khushi Kabir will explore the state of democracy and rights in Bangladesh. Lunch provided!
  46. Speakers:
    • Contributing Writer, National Geographic
    • Executive Director, Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting
    Join us for a conversation with award-winning journalist Cynthia Gorney about her Pulitzer Center-supported National Geographic project, "For Widows, Life After Loss."
  47. Speaker:
    • Professor of Political Science, Brooklyn College and Graduate Center; Doctoral Program in Criminal Justice, Graduate Center, City University of New York
  48. Speaker:
    • Associate Professor and Senior Researcher, Centre on Migration, Policy and Society (COMPAS), University of Oxford
    In 2015, about 850,00 people, a quarter of all arrivals in Turkey, moved on irregularly to the EU. This represents a sudden change from 2014, when only 51,000 people left Turkey for the EU. What was going in Turkey in 2015 that can explain these processes?
  49. Speaker:
    • Associate Professor and Senior Researcher, Centre on Migration, Policy and Society (COMPAS), University of Oxford
    Policy debates and media coverage during the migration ‘crisis’ gave a misleading impression of a linear, uninterrupted flow of people towards Europe. Instead, research found that this migration was the result of a temporary merger of diverse migrations of a huge range of people along many routes.
  50. Speaker:
  51. Speakers:
    • Louis A. Horvitz Professor of Law, Harvard Law School
    • Lloyd M. Bentsen Chair in Law & Associate Dean for Research, Texas Law
  52. Speaker:
    • Thomas A. and Currie C. Barron Family Professorship in Humanities and Environment, Princeton University
  53. Speaker:
  54. Speaker:
  55. Speaker:
    • Assistant Research Professor & Associate Director, Minor in International Development and Conflict Management, University of Maryland
    Professor Kosko will discuss how the formal categorizing of different types of ethnocultural minorities affects how international human rights law can protect them.
  56. Speaker:
    • Assistant Professor of Law and Economics, Goethe University, Frankfurt
  57. Speaker:
    • Alliance to Break the Silence and End Impunity
    Please join us for a talk on the recent landmark case that tried crimes against humanity for sexual violence and sexual and domestic slavery committed against Q’eqchí women at Sepur Zarco military base in Guatemala. Light lunch provided.
  58. Speaker:
    • Helen H. Jackson Endowed Chair in Human Rights and Director of the Center for Human Rights, University of Washington
    As part of LLILAS Benson's “Digital Scholarship in the Americas” speaker series, Angelina Godoy discusses the amnesty law in El Salvador, examining the possible role of digital archaeology in the pursuit of truth and justice there.
  59. Speaker:
    • Director of Research Centers and Senior Lecturer, University of Wisconsin Law School
  60. Speaker:
    As part of the Turkish Ottoman Lecture Series, Dr. Gurbuz will present the situation of the Kurds in Turkey as a case study for attempting to understand the conditions that foster nonviolent civic engagement in emerging civil societies.
  61. Speakers:
    • Program Manager and Reproductive Rights Policy Specialist, Public Leadership Institute
    • Clinical Professor of Law and Director, Human Rights Clinic
    • Texas State Representative
    This panel will discuss how human rights are codified at the local and state level in Texas.
  62. Speaker:
    • Associate Professor of Asian American and Asian Diaspora Studies, University of California, Berkeley
    Professor Khatharya Um will discuss her recent book From the Land of Shadows (NYU Press, 2015), which examines the factors and conditions that produced the genocidal outcome in Cambodia, as well as the struggle of Cambodians, both in Cambodia and in the diaspora, to live with and transcend this historical trauma in the aftermath.
  63. Speaker:
    • Attorney and Counselor at Law, Hendler Lyons Flores
    Austin attorney Scott Hendler will talk about his experience litigating against American corporations on behalf of Central American agricultural workers.
  64. Speakers:
    • Adjunct Professor, Universidad Austral de Chile School of Law; Co-Director, Observatorio Ciudadano (Citizens’ Watch)
    • Director of Research and Advocacy, Worker Rights Consortium
    • Co-founder of Colibrí Consulting – Certification for Sustainable Development
    • Postdoctoral Fellow (2015-2017)
    • Co-founder and Senior Investigator, Fair Food Standards Council
    The roundtable will consider the possibilities and limitations of various forms of certification regimes for the realization, enforcement and governance of human rights.
  65. Speaker:
    • Deputy Chief, Special Litigation Section, Justice Department Civil Rights Division
    Please join us for a talk by Christy Lopez, a national expert on policing who led the DOJ’s investigation of the Ferguson, Missouri, police department.
  66. Speaker:
    • Advocate of the Supreme Court of Pakistan, Human Rights Activist
  67. Speakers:
    • Coordinator, Council of Indigenous and Popular Organizations of Honduras (COPINH)
    • Executive Director, The Black Fraternal Organization of Honduras (OFRANEH)
    A Dialogue with the 2015 Rothko Chapel Óscar Romero Award Recipients
  68. Speaker:
    • Professor of Development Studies and International Relations, School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London
  69. Speaker:
    • Senior Counselor to the Director of US Citizenship and Immigration Services, Department of Homeland Security (
  70. Speaker:
    • Associate Professor of History, Chair of the Historical Studies Department, and Director of The Janey Program in Latin American Studies, The New School for Social Research
  71. Speaker:
    • Donald M. and Constance H. Rebar Professor of the Humanities; Professor of English and Director of Creative Writing, Colgate University
  72. Speaker:
    • Professor of Law and Coordinator of the Migration & Human Rights Program, National University of Lanús (Argentina)
  73. Speaker:
  74. Speakers:
  75. Speaker:
    • Visiting Professor, Middlesex University London, and Convenor, The Global Institute for the Prevention of Aggression
  76. Speaker:
  77. Speaker:
  78. Speakers:
    • Professor and Associate Chair of the Department of Political Science, Washington University in St. Louis
    • Associate Professor of Political Science and Director of the Center for the Study of Law, Politics, and Economics, Emory University
  79. Speaker:
    • Associate Professor of Political Science, University of New Mexico
  80. Speaker:
    • Sidney W. Souers Professor of Government and Director of the Program on Citizenship and Democratic Values, Washington University in St. Louis
  81. Speaker:
  82. Speaker:
    • Professor and Director of the Center for Human Rights, Universidad Diego Portales (Chile)
  83. Speaker:
  84. Speaker:
    • Assistant Professor of Gender and Women's Studies and Asian American Studies, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
  85. Speaker:
    • Professor, School of Law, Victoria University of Wellington
  86. Speaker:
    • Assistant Professor of Public Policy, University of Michigan at Ann Arbor
  87. Speaker:
    • Associate Professor of Law & Director, Human Rights Center, University at Buffalo Law School, SUNY
  88. Speaker:
    • Director, Department of Political Science and International Relations, Universidad Torcuato Di Tella (Argentina)
  89. Speaker:
    • Professor and Chair of Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, Yale University
  90. Speaker:
  91. Speaker:
    • Professor, School of International Service, American University (AU)
  92. Speaker:
    • Professor of Law and Policy at The City University of New York
  93. Speaker:
    • Professor and Director of the Graduate and Postgraduate Program in the School of Humanities and Social Sciences at the National University of Rio Negro (UNRN) in Argentina
  94. Speaker:
    • Professor, Universidad de San Andrés in Buenos Aires, Argentina
  95. Speaker:
    • Leitner Professor of Philosophy and International Affairs at Yale University
  96. Speaker:
    • Assistant Professor, Rhetoric Department at the University of California, Berkeley
  97. Speaker:
    • Associate Professor, History Department at Rice University in Houston, Texas
  98. Speaker:
    • Professor of Law, University of Toronto
  99. Speakers:
    • Co-director (2010-2019); Professor of Government and of Law; Chair, Government Department
    • Senior Economist in the Development Research Group of the World Bank
  100. Speaker:
    • Universidad de Chile and past president, Inter-American Court of Human Rights
  101. Speaker:
    • William Ray Forrester Professor of Public and Constitutional Law, Tulane University
  102. Speakers:
  103. Speaker:
  104. Speaker:
    • Professor of Anthropology, Pontífica Universidad Javeriana, Bogotá, Colombia
  105. Speaker:
    • Morris Wasserstein Public Interest Professor of Law & Faculty Director of the Child Advocacy Program, Harvard Law School
  106. Speaker:
    • South African born novelist, playwright and memoirist
  107. Speaker:
    • Director, Bureau pour le Volontariat au Sevice de l'Enfance et de la Santé (BVES), Democratic Republic of the Congo
  108. Speaker:
    • Associate Professor & Department Chair, Law and Society, University of California, Santa Barbara
  109. Speaker:
    • Cassius Marcellus Clay Fellow, Department of History, Yale University
  110. Speaker:
    • Nobel Peace Laureate (2003), civil rights activist and lecturer in law, University of Tehran
  111. Speaker:
  112. Speaker:
  113. Speaker:
    • Professor in the Department of Government at the University of Texas
  114. Speaker:
    • Visiting Professor at the University of Baltimore School of Law
  115. Speaker:
  116. Speaker:
  117. Speaker:
    • Professor of Constitutional Theory and Political Philosophy at the Universidad de Buenos Aires and at the Universidad Torcuato Di Tella
  118. Speaker:
    • Distinguished Lecturer in Journalism and African Politics at Simmons College
  119. Speaker:
    • Associate Professor of Internal Medicine; Assistant Dean and Director of Medical Education, Dell Medical School
  120. Speaker:
  121. Speaker:
  122. Speaker:
  123. Speaker:
    • Associate Professor of Southeast Asian Studies, National University of Singapore
  124. Speaker:
    • William C. Graham Professor of Law, University of Toronto
  125. Speaker:
    • Associate Professor of Practice, Gallatin School of Individualized Study, New York University
  126. Speaker:
    • Professor of Sociology and Women's Studies and Director of the Women's Studies Program, Purdue University
  127. Speaker:
    • Associate Professor, Universidad de los Andes School of Law
  128. Speakers:
  129. Speaker:
  130. Speaker:
  131. Speaker:
  132. Speakers:
  133. Speaker:
  134. Speaker:
  135. Speaker:
    • Clinical Professor of Law and Director of the Immigration Clinic
  136. Speaker:
  137. Speaker:
  138. Speaker:
  139. Speaker:
    • Associate Professor of Law, Notre Dame Law School and Member, Inter-American Commission on Human Rights
  140. Speaker:
    • Senior Lecturer in Law, Murdoch University, Perth
  141. Speaker:
    • Co-director (2010-2019); Professor of Government and of Law; Chair, Government Department
  142. Speaker:
  143. Speaker:
    • Professor, Faculty of Law and the Women's and Gender Studies Institute, University of Toronto
  144. Speaker:
  145. Speakers:
  146. Speaker:
    • Associate Professor of Law, University of Utah
  147. Speaker:
    • Lecturer, Faculty of Law, University of Cambridge, & Director of Studies & Fellow of Emmanuel College, Cambridge
  148. Speaker:
    • Clinical Professor of Law and Director, International Human Rights Law Clinic, University of California, Berkeley
  149. In this workshop, an interdisciplinary cohort discussed facets of the broad topic of Black and indigenous land rights in Latin America, promoting dialogue across the academic/activist divide.
  150. Speaker:
    • Senior Lecturer, Cornell University School of Industrial and Labor Relations
  151. Speaker:
    • Deputy Director, Americas Division, Human Rights Watch
  152. Speaker:
    • Professor, University of Pittsburgh Law School
  153. Speaker:
  154. Speaker:
  155. Speaker:
    • Lecturer, Department of Laws, University College London