Nov 272016
 November 27, 2016

Vasileios Syros, a Maurice Amado Fellow at the Katz Center for Advanced Judaic Studies at the University of Pennsylvania and a Senior Research Fellow at the Academy of Finland, will  introduce a new perspective on Islamic debates on violence by focusing on Islamic political advice literature on good government and the origins and effects of oppressive or arbitrary rule.

Syros will explore how the distinction between ‘soft’ and ‘hard’ power can serve as a heuristic device for the examination of a set of medieval Islamic writings on the successful conduct of government. In addition, the paper will relate these ideas to European political thought, such as Machiavelli’s The Prince. The ultimate objective of the talk will be to identify and analyze broader affinities and points of intersection between Western and non-Western modes of political theorizing on statecraft and styles of leadership.

Noon to 2 p.m.
April 27
West Duke 08C
Lunch is provided

Nov 242016
 November 24, 2016

Internationally proclaimed safe areas are often viewed as a relatively low-cost means of civilian protection in civil war situations involving the threat of mass atrocities, but are safe areas established over sizable territories, without the consent of the conflicting parties, problematic from a human rights perspective?

Join Stefano Recchia, University Lecturer in International Relations at the University of Cambridge, at 1:30 p.m. April 24 in Gross Hall 270 as he presents “The Trouble with Internationally Proclaimed Safe Areas” as part of the Security, Peace, and Conflict Workshop.

The event is cosponsored by the Duke Human Rights Center at the Kenan Institute for Ethics, Duke American Grand Strategy Program, Duke Asian Security Program and the Trinity College Signature Course Program.

Recchia has authored articles in Political Science QuarterlyReview of International Studies, and Security Studies. He is the author of “Reassuring the Reluctant Warriors:  U.S. Civil Military Relations and Multilateral Intervention” (Cornell 2015).

Nov 082016
 November 8, 2016


The Duke Human Rights Center at The Kenan Institute for Ethics will be holding its third annual Scholars Research Symposium on Saturday, April 8. The symposium, which is sponsored by the Kenan Institute’s Global Human Rights Scholars, provides an opportunity for a select group of seniors at Duke University and UNC-Chapel Hill to publicly present honors or capstone projects that broadly relate to the themes of human rights, ethics, or international politics. This event is open to the public, and particularly for faculty, students and alumni of both Duke and UNC .

Saturday, April 8
Ahmadieh Family Conference Room (West Duke 101)

Introduction and Welcome – Daniela Flamini

Panel 1 | 1 to 2:15 p.m. | Migrant Workers, Sex Workers and Refugees: Work, Space and Place

  • Chair: Liz White
  • Panelists: Diana Dai, Jessica Van Meier, Olivia Johnson
  • Discussants: Jessica So and Rym Khadraoui

Living on the Outside: Unraveling the Paradoxes Surrounding Migrant Domestic Work in Jordan  – Diana Dai
Sex Work and the Politics of Space: Case Studies of Sex Workers in Argentina and Ecuador – Jessica Van Meir
Examining Mobility and Stasis Along the Balkan Route  – Olivia Johnson

Panel 2 | 2:15 to 3:30 p.m. | Strategies for Promoting Rights in the U.S.: Social Movements and State Policies 

  • Chair: Celia Garrett
  • Panelists: Kendra Schultz, Samantha Night, Kate Townsend
  • Discussants: Menaka Nayar and Sarah Sibley

Social Media as a Tool for Social Mobilization: A Case Study of Black Lives Matter – Kendra Schultz
Measuring the Right to Food: A U.S. Policy Perspective – Samantha Night
The U Visa, Domestic Violence, and Law Enforcement Reporting – Kate Townsend

Selected Presenters

  • Diana Dai, International Comparative Studies and Public Policy, Duke, May 2017
  • Olivia Johnson, International Comparative Studies and Political Science, Duke, May 2017
  • Samantha Night, Public Policy, UNC, December 2016
  • Kendra Schultz, Public Policy, Duke, May 2017
  • Kate Townsend, Public Policy and Women’s and Gender Studies, UNC Chapel Hill, December 2017.
  • Jessica Van Meir, Public Policy, Duke, May 2017

Global Scholars

  • Sanjeev Dasgupta, Political Science, Duke 2017
  • Daniela Flamini, International and Comparative Studies and English, Duke 2019
  • Celia Garret, Public Policy, Duke 2019
  • Rym Khadhraoui, Duke Law School, 2017
  • Sarah Sibley, Political Science, Computer Science and Statistics, Duke 2019
  • Liz White, Public Policy and French, Duke 2017

Alumni Discussants

  • Menaka Nayar, Trinity ’11 and Law ’14
  • Jessica So, Trinity ’10
Panel 1 | Migrant Workers, Sex Workers and Refugees: Work, Space and Place

Living on the Outside: Unraveling the Paradoxes Surrounding Migrant Domestic Work in Jordan – Diana Dai

This research project will examine the institutional and ideological factors that influence the experiences of migrant domestic workers in Jordan. For a decade now, human rights groups have been invested in the increase in and subsequent exploitation of migrant domestic workers. My project will critically analyze how the institutions and discourses that make up global capitalism have made possible these incidences of violence that many believe are unrelated to ideological and/or structural factors. Using a range of methods from Marxist feminism, structural analysis, and ethnography, and focusing intimately on the context of transnational domestic work, my thesis argues that the “abuse of human rights” could be best understand as an integral and necessary reality of late global capitalism. Furthermore, structural actors (the state, the household, the supranational organization), along with migrant domestics themselves, are all embroiled in the circulation of (oppressive) discourses surrounding gender, race, and nationality which make possible the specific forms of labor exploitation we see today.

Sex Work and the Politics of Space: Case Studies of Sex Workers in Argentina and Ecuador – Jessica Van Meir

While many studies examine how different legal approaches to prostitution affect sex workers’ living and working conditions, few studies analyze how sex workers’ physical workspaces and the policies regulating these spaces influence sex work conditions. Based on interviews with 109 current or former sex workers, 13 civil society representatives, 12 government officials, and 5 other actors in Ecuador and Argentina, this study describes sex workers’ uses of urban space in the two countries and compares how they experience and respond to government regulation of locations of prostitution. Argentina and Ecuador took different approaches to regulating sex work space, which appear to reflect different political ideologies towards prostitution. Sex workers expressed different individual preferences for spaces, and government limitation of these spaces represented one of their major concerns. The results illuminate how sex workers’ workspaces influence their working conditions and suggest that governments should consider sex worker preferences in establishing policies that affect their workspaces.

Examining Mobility and Stasis Along the Balkan Route  – Olivia Johnson

How do state border policies impact refugees’ mobility and wellbeing while travelling through the Western Balkans to Germany? How do these governmental policies and organizational responses to the ‘refugee crisis’ affect the individual agency of refugees travelling this route? In summer 2016 my research partner and I traveled along the Balkan route conducting semi-structured interviews with local organizations (n=24) and refugees (n=16) to explore the consequences of stasis within mobility. We heard about the personal impacts of closed borders, marginalization and deportations. While I imagined countries like Hungary were acting independently from overarching legislation like the Dublin Accords (III), I realized instead it was these very policies that permitted Hungary’s extreme admittance procedures and detention facilities. Although asylum policy is rooted in humanitarian ideals, I argue that EU asylum policies reinforce systems of incarceration through heightened surveillance, detention, and physical barriers to accessing asylum. The EU’s multi-state “shared” asylum policy exacerbates this situation through increased categorization and shifting border policies.

Panel 2 | Strategies for Promoting Rights in the U.S.: Social Movements and State Policies 

Social Media as a Tool for Social Mobilization: A Case Study of Black Lives Matter, Kendra Schultz

Presently, many social movements occur by way of social media. The integration of social media into social movements is changing the methods by which movement organizations mobilize and communicate. This project seeks to understand how social movement organizations are using social media platforms to mobilize, and how social media strategies contribute to engagement with a social movement. Using a singular in-depth case study, this paper explores Black Lives Matter’s social media output on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and Tumblr. This study provides insight into the output of Black Lives Matter, as well as the greater landscape of social movements through a breakdown of the effects on the Political Process Model (PPM). Ultimately, Black Lives Matter uses social media to initiate discourse and disseminate information rather than mobilize. Furthermore, a deeper analysis of the social media activity shows ambiguous implications for the Political Process Model. These findings can further guide our understanding of the future of social movements.

Measuring the Right to Food: A U.S. Policy Perspective – Samantha Night

The right to food is recognized by international law as a fundamental human right of all people. Three conditions must be met for the right to food to be realized; food must be available, accessible, and adequate. While food policy research in the United States has focused on specific elements of these conditions, the right to food has not been measured in a substantive and comprehensive way. This paper discusses the normative implications of the right to food in the United States and proposes a framework for operationalizing and measuring it domestically. Incorporating right to food principles into the development of U.S. food policy, particularly at the state and local levels, may address both structural and direct determinants of food insecurity and the prevalence of overweight and obesity. This paper takes the first step in a substantive right to food assessment of U.S. food policy by introducing an evaluation framework for use in future policy research and analysis.

The U Visa, Domestic Violence, and Law Enforcement Reporting – Kate Townsend

The U Visa allows undocumented survivors of certain violent crimes, one of which is domestic violence, a pathway to legal residence, and even citizenship, with certification that the survivor has cooperated with law enforcement. This research seeks to determine the degree to which the U Visa has had an impact on Latina survivors’ decision to report their domestic violence victimization to law enforcement, and for whom the effect was most relevant. I used difference-in-differences models to find that, with the establishment of the U Visa in 2000, there was only a statistically significant increase when controlling for the relationship with the abuser. With the implementation in 2007, there was actually a statistically significant decrease in the likelihood that a Latina survivor would report victimization from domestic violence to law enforcement.

Alumni Discussants

Menaka Nayar, Trinity11 and Law ’14, is an associate at Linklaters LLP in New York, where she is a member of the International Governance and Development and Dispute Resolution practices. Her practice focuses on advancing good governance across the private and public (development and humanitarian) sectors. Prior to joining Linklaters LLP, Menaka attended Duke University School of Law, where she graduated with a JD/LLM in International and Comparative Law; and Duke University, where she obtained a BA in Political Science. A classically trained dancer, Menaka was a member of Defining Movement – a multicultural dance group – throughout her Duke career.

Jessica So, Trinity ’10, is a human rights lawyer who has been living and working in Myanmar since 2014. At Yale Law School, she participated in the Lowenstein International Human Rights Clinic, co-authoring a report with Human Rights Watch on anti-corruption efforts in Uganda, representing individuals incarcerated in administrative segregation, and carrying out research on the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women’s protections for gender-based violence. Upon graduation in 2014, she was awarded a Robina Human Rights fellowship to do legal research with UNDP Myanmar. In her second year with UNDP, Jessica carried out a research study across three states in Myanmar that sought to better understand the ways people seek access to justice, including through informal pathways outside the formal legal system. Her research focused particularly on women’s experiences and the unique challenges they face in accessing justice. Jessica recently finished a short consultancy with the International Senior Lawyers Project and will begin several new projects, also based in Myanmar.

Jessica graduated from Duke with an A.B. in Political Science and a Certificate in the Study of Ethics. She also studied abroad in South Africa and China, traveled to Brazil to make a documentary film with Students of the World, and participated in Kenan’s first Alternative Spring Break trip to Molokai. After graduation, Jessica volunteered with an NGO that worked with refugees and asylum-seekers in Bangkok, Thailand.


Nov 052016
 November 5, 2016

What is the cost of learning for refugee youth? On April 5, scholar Gül İnanç will give context to the question as part of a talk hosted by the Kenan Institute for Ethics.

From 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. April 5, İnanç will present “Against All Odds: Access of Refugee Youth to Higher Education” in the Ahmadieh Family Conference Room, West Duke 101. The talk will focus on the current situation of refugees and their access to education in the Southeast Asia, where primary and secondary school attendance levels among transit migrants is very low and even lower for vocational and higher education attendance.

This creates a particular challenge, İnanç said, as those wishing to continue their formal education can neither afford it, nor be accepted as students into many higher education institutions due to their legal status.

As the founder of Open Universities for Refugees, Inanc works to support access of forcibly displaced people into higher education in the region and is working with the refugees in West Java and Kuala Lumpur partnering with the United Nations Refugee Agency. Additional efforts are being considered to Introduce new criteria for university ranking systems on the basis of ethics of global higher education and of humanitarian interference.

İnanç is a lecturer at Nanyang Technological University ‘s School of Art, Design and Media in Singapore. Her areas of interest and expertise include: modern diplomatic history of West Asia, history and intercultural education for peace. In 2004 she headed a team which re-wrote the history text book for high school education in North Cyprus. In 2007, she was the first Turkish scholar to teach simultaneously at the University of Cyprus and Eastern Mediterranean University.

Her current projects include creating student activity books, animated film and story books promoting global cultural heritage, deciphering the codes of contemporary religious art in the interfaith contexts, and working with UNESCO on writing teacher’s source books for ASEAN countries. She received the Koh Boon Hwee Scholar Award in 2016.

Oct 282016
 October 28, 2016

Please join Olivia Martin, a Digital Security Fellow at the Freedom of the Press Foundation, for a training session on privacy and security tools for mobile phones, computers, and internet usage, including basics on encryption and data security and tools for safer communication.

Co-sponsored by the Duke Human Rights Center at the Kenan Institute for Ethics, International Human Rights Clinic, the Center for International & Comparative Law, Human Rights Law Society, International Law Society, Duke Human Rights Center at the Franklin Humanities Institute.  Lunch will be served.

For more information or to RSVP, please contact Ali Prince.

March 28, 12:30 pm
Duke Law School Room 4045

Oct 222016
 October 22, 2016

In the aftermath of the events of Sept. 11, 2001, the international community brought a new focus and urgency to countering terrorism financing through criminalization, sanctions and freezing of assets, and de-risking. To date, the gender and human rights implications of these countering terrorism financing policies have escaped scrutiny.

Through research, interviews, surveys, and statistical analysis, the International Human Rights Clinic at Duke University School of Law and the Women Peacemakers Program seeks to better understand how responses to terrorism and violent extremism may in practice squeeze women’s rights and their defenders between terror and counter-terror.

Panelists for this discussion include:

  • Isabelle Geuskens, Executive Director of Women Peacemakers Program
  • Jayne Huckerby, Clinical Professor of Law and Director of the International Human Rights Clinic
  • Sarah Adamczyk, Supervising Attorney and Clinical Fellow of the International Human Rights Clinic

The event is co-sponsored by the Duke Human Rights Center at the Kenan Institute for Ethics, International Human Rights Clinic, and the Center for International and Comparative Law. Lunch will be served. To RSVP, or for more information, contact Ali Prince.

Oct 212016
 October 21, 2016

The Duke Human Rights Center at the Kenan Institute for Ethics is co-sponsoring a lecture by Dr. Adam Brown titled “Identifying and Managing Trauma, Loss and Resilience.”

Brown is a professor in the Department of Psychology at Sarah Lawrence College and adjunct assistant professor in the Post-traumatic Stress Disorder Research Program in the Department of Psychiatry at New York University School of Medicine. The event will focus on stress, trauma, vicarious trauma, and resilience among individuals working in the human rights context and the impact of human rights work on mental health.

Lunch will be provided. For more information or to RSVP contact Ali Prince at

The event is co-sponsored by the International Human Rights Clinic, Center for International and Comparative Law, International Law Society, Human Rights Law Society, and the Duke Human Rights Center at the Franklin Humanities Institute.


Oct 012016
 October 1, 2016

As a parallel event with the Second Annual Global Health Film Festival scheduled for February 27 through March 4, Debora Diniz, law professor at the University of Brasilia and co-founder of Anis: Institute of Bioethics, Human Rights and Gender, will discuss the Zika virus and its impact on reproductive rights for women in Brazil based on her work before the Brazilian Supreme Court on cases involving abortion, marriage equality, and stem cell research.

Diniz is also vice-chair on the board of the International Women’s Health Coalition (IWHC), an advisory committee member of Global Doctors for Choice, and co-editor of the Developing World Bioethics journal. As a documentarian, her films have received more than 50 prizes. Her most recent film is “Zika,” which tells the story of five Brazilian women surviving the epidemic. Her research interests include reproductive and sexual rights, human rights, penal systems, and research ethics.

Co-sponsored by the Duke Human Rights Center at the Kenan Institute for Ethics, International Human Rights Clinic, the Center for International and Comparative Law, the Duke Global Health Film Festival, Duke Human Rights Center at the Franklin Humanities Institute, International Law Society, and the Human Rights Law Society. Lunch will be served.

To RSVP, or for more information, please contact Ali Prince.

12:30 pm Wednesday, March 1
Duke Law School Room 4047


Aug 232016
 August 23, 2016  Tagged with:

Conv.HR_-300x225During the 2016 election, Donald Trump routinely highlighted the economic suffering faced by American workers, critiquing deinstrialization and arguing that trade agreements played a major role in the loss of American manufacturing jobs. Despite this, he has not indicated any interest in making trade agreements fairer by raising labor standards in foreign countries, as critics of international trade agreements, as well as some human rights proponents, have advocated.

What kinds of changes can we expect to the governance of labor, both domestically and in international agreements under the Trump administration? Can we expect anything more than a new era of repression, or does Trump’s rejection of multinational trade agreements also present opportunities for either labor or human rights advocates? What strategies might working people, particularly those on the margins in the U.S. and elsewhere, employ to challenge repressive conditions they face at work given the rise of the anti-regulatory Right? What new regimes of governance might emerge?

Join us on February 23rd for a discussion of these questions. Panelists include:

  • Cynthia Estlund (NYU Law School, Catherine A. Rein Professor of Law)
  • Kevin Kolben (Rutgers Business School, Associate Professor)
  • Moderated by Peter Pihos (Duke Thomspon Writing Program, Lecturing Fellow)

This event is part of the on-going discussion series Conversations in Human Rights, bringing together panelists from other institutions and Duke faculty to engage with their research on hot-button international human rights issues. The series draws together the social sciences, humanities, law, and policy.

The event will be held on Thursday, February 23 2017 at 4:30-6:00pm, located in West Duke, Room 101 (Ahmadieh Family Conference Room).

Please RSVP to Kate Abendroth by Thursday, February 20th at noon.

Aug 202016
 August 20, 2016

Since 2012,  Sareta Ashraph has served as the Senior Analyst for the U.N. Commission of Inquiry on Syria since 2012, investigating and publishing regular reports on the human rights conditions in Syria. Hear from Ashraph as she dicusses her work with the Commission in documenting human rights abuses and genocide committed by ISIS against the Yazidi minority in Iraq and Syria.

This event is sponsored by the International Human Rights Clinic at Duke Law School. Co-sponsors include the Duke Human Rights Center at the Kenan Institute for Ethics, Human Rights Clinic, the Center for International and Comparative Law, Duke Human Rights Center at the Franklin Humanities Institute, International Law Society, and the Human Rights Law Society.

To RSVP, or for more information, please contact Ali Prince at Lunch will be served.

Monday, Feb. 20, 12:30 PM
Law School 4047