RWCHR Launches Senior Fellows Initiative
Leading Thinkers, Writers, Scholars, Jurists, and Human Rights Defenders Unite in Pursuing Justice
The Raoul Wallenberg Centre for Human Rights (RWCHR) today launched its Senior Fellows Initiative – a group of human rights champions from around the world – leaders in academia, arts and activism – joining together in common cause.

The Senior Fellows’ human rights work is itself a reflection and representation of one or more of the Centre's four thematic projects, including:

1.    “Raoul Wallenberg: Hero of Humanity – Acts of Remembrance and Remembrance to Act – Wallenberg as a Paradigm of Moral Courage and Effective Action;”

2.    “The Holocaust, Genocide and Human Rights: Universal Lessons for the Preventing and Combating of Mass Atrocity;”

3.    “Pursuing Justice: Promoting and Protecting Democracy, Human Rights, Inclusion, and the Rule of Law while combating racism, hatred, and violent extremism;”

4.    “Pursuing Justice for Political Prisoners, including: imprisoned Saudi Blogger Raif Badawi; Iranian Peace and Justice Advocate Ayatollah Boroujerdi “the Mandela of Iran” now in his 11th year of imprisonment; Venezuelan Democratic Opposition Leader Leopoldo Lopez; Chinese Pro-Democracy Leader Wang Bingzhang, abducted from Vietnam and sentenced by China to life imprisonment in solitary confinement;”

“The Raoul Wallenberg Centre for Human Rights is delighted to welcome the leading thinkers and advocates of our day in Canada and beyond - chosen for their singular contributions to the struggle for peace and justice in our time” said RWCHR Founder and Chair Hon. Irwin Cotler. “Working in common cause, we seek to mobilize a constituency of conscience in defence of our shared values of democracy, human rights, and the protection of the most vulnerable. We can ensure that justice will prevail.”

The Senior Fellows Initiative is inspired by and anchored in Raoul Wallenberg’s humanitarian legacy, how one person with the compassion to care and the courage to act can confront injustice, prevail, and transform history. 
Senior Fellows
Payam Akhavan

2017 Massey Lecturer, Judge of the Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Hague, and Professor at Mcgill University Faculty of Law. He has served as a Fellow at Yale and Oxford, as a former UN prosecutor at The Hague, and as legal counsel in cases before the International Criminal Court, European Court of Human Rights, and the Supreme Courts of Canada and the United States. 
Susan Benesch

Faculty Associate of the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University, Director of the Dangerous Speech Project, and Professor at American University. She was the 2012-3 Edith Everett Genocide Prevention Fellow at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, and has worked at the Center for Justice and Accountability, Amnesty International, Human Rights First, and at the war crimes tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY).
Cindy Blackstock

Executive Director of the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society of Canada, and Professor at the McGill University School of Social Work. She is an author of over 50 publications and a widely sought after public speaker. Her work in Indigenous children’s rights and reconciliation has been recognized by the Nobel Women’s Initiative, the Aboriginal Achievement Foundation, Frontline Defenders and many others. 
Alan Dershowitz

Emeritus Felix Frankfurter Professor of Law at Harvard University, and one of the most celebrated lawyers in America. Known as "one of the most distinguished defenders of individual rights," he is the author of over 1000 articles and many bestselling books, and is a highly sought after speaker and media commentator. 
Adam Dodek

Professor at the University of Ottawa, and leading expert in public law, the judiciary, and ethics. He is the Founding Member of the Faculty’s Public Law Group, the Director of The Professionalism Initiative and the Co-Founder of the Legal Writing Academy. A recipient of various awards, he has been recognized as a top educator and lawyer in Canada. 
Javier El-Hage

Chief Legal Officer of the Human Rights Foundation and head of the Centre for Law and Democracy. He has been a Constitutional Law Professor in Bolivia, Ecuador, and Guatemala, and has advised democratic movements in Latin America and beyond. He is a frequent expert commentator in English and Spanish-language news and TV media.
Pearl Eliadis

International Human Rights Lawyer and Member of the McGill Centre for Human Rights and Legal Pluralism. She has advised leading domestic, international, and multilateral institutions, including the United Nations and the European Commission. She has written extensively on human rights and public policy, is a past President of Equitas, and was appointed President of the Quebec Bar Association’s Human Rights Committee.
Karen Eltis

Professor at the University of Ottawa and Princeton University. She is a former Professor at Columbia Law School, and past Director of the Human Rights Centre, the Centre for Law, Society, and Technology, and a former Senior Advisor to the National Judicial Institute. She is a leading expert on the impact of new technologies on constitutional rights, and has published in the areas of Internet law and policy (privacy and data security), comparative law, and democratic governance.
Jared Genser

Managing director of Perseus Strategies, Founder of Freedom Now, and one of the world's leading defenders of political prisoners. He is a regular contributor to the Washington Post, frequent lecturer at leading Law Faculties, and is a recipient of many awards, including the American Bar Association’s International Human Rights Award. 
Carl Gershman

Founding President of the National Endowment for Democracy, and architect of the Journal of DemocracyInternational Forum for Democratic Studies, and the World Movement for Democracy. He has served as the U.S. Representative to the United Nations Committee on Human Rights, and the UN Security Council. He is a recipient of numerous prestigious global awards, and has lectured extensively and written prolifically for leading publications on issues of foreign policy and democracy.
Terry Glavin

Leading Canadian author, journalist, and editor. He is an Ottawa Citizen and National Post columnist, and a regular contributor to Maclean's Magazine. His work has had a particular focus on Indigenous Peoples, foreign affairs, and human rights. 
Aleksandra Gliszczynska-Grabias

Lawyer, Author, Professor, and Senior Researcher at the Poznań Human Rights Centre of the Institute of Law Studies of the Polish Academy of Sciences. Former Graduate Fellow at Yale University and Bohdan Winiarski Fellow at the Lauterpacht Centre of the University of Cambridge. She is a Recipient of the 2015-2018 Fellowship of the Polish Ministry of Science and Higher Education, has published many leading articles and books, and counsels Parliaments, Governments, and civil society groups.
Hon. Michael Ignatieff, PC, CM

President and Rector of the Central European University and leading public intellectual. Past Edward R. Murrow Professor at Harvard Kennedy School, Centennial Chair of the Carnegie Council for Ethics and International Affairs, and Former Canadian Parliamentarian and Leader of the Opposition. A prolific author and academic, he has produced many major publications in human rights, policy, and politics. He is a Member of the Queen’s Privy Council for Canada and holds eleven honourary degrees. 

Yang Jianli

Chinese dissident and Pro-Democracy Leader, President of Initiatives for China, Co-founder of the China Human Rights Accountability Center, and Fellow at Harvard University. A former political prisoner and Tiananmen Square activist, he is now living in exile in the United States. Known as "a beacon of hope for democracy," he is an adviser to many leading human rights and democracy NGOs around the world.
Vladimir Kara-Murza

Russian dissident and democratic opposition leader, Vice-Chairman of Open Russia, Member of the Federal Council of the People's Freedom Party, and Senior Adviser at the Institute for Modern Russia. Past Russian television and print media editor and journalist, and former adviser to murdered Russian opposition Parliamentarian Boris Nemtsov. He has testified before Parliaments and contributed to newspapers and journals around the world. Targeted by the Russian Government for his human rights leadership, he has survived multiple assassination attempts.
David Kilgour, PC

David Kilgour is co-chair of the Canadian Friends of a Democratic Iran NGO, a member of the Helsinki-based NGO First Step Forum, and the Ottawa Mission Foundation (for homeless men). He is a former MP for both the Conservative and Liberal Parties in the south-east district of Edmonton and has served as the Secretary of State for Latin America and Africa, Secretary of State for Asia-Pacific and Deputy Speaker of the House and chair of committees of the whole House.
Fannie Lafontaine

Professor at the University of Laval Faculty of Law, Canada Research Chair in International Criminal Law and Human Rights, and Co-Director of the Centre for International and Transnational Law. Former special adviser and human rights officer in the Executive Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights in Geneva. She has also worked as a human rights officer and special assistant to the President of the International Commission of Inquiry on Darfur, as a lawyer for the Global Justice Centre in Rio de Janeiro, and Clerk for Canadian Supreme Court Justice Louise Arbour. She has written landmark publications in the area of human rights and mass atrocity law, and is the recipient of many awards recognizing her academic leadership. 
Anastasia Lin

Award-winning actress and human rights advocate, who addresses human rights violations through her art and activism. She has appeared in over 20 film and television productions, and testified before Parliaments around the world. A winner of Miss World Canada 2015, she was banned by China from competing in the international Miss World competition due to her work in defence of the vulnerable. Her films have won numerous accolades, and she was recognized by MTV as a "Top 25 under 25."
Kathleen Mahoney

Professor at the University of Calgary Faculty of Law. Founder of the Women's Legal Education and Action Fund, and former Chief Negotiator for the Assembly of First Nations and the subsequent historic settlement agreement with Canada for reparations and a Truth and Reconciliation Process. She has held many international fellowships and lectureships, and has organized and participated in collaborative human rights and judicial education projects around the world. She was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, and is a recipient of the Canadian Bar Association Distinguished Service Award.
David Matas, CM

Human rights lawyer and professor of law. A voice of conscience in Canada and beyond, he has been a leader in the most important international human rights struggles of the era. A Co-Author of the landmark report on Forced Organ Pillaging in China, he has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize for his tireless and innovative advocacy on organ harvesting targeting Falun Gong practitioners. A recipient of numerous awards, he was named to the Order of Canada, and is a recipient of the Manitoba Bar Association Distinguished Service Award and the International Society for Human Rights Swiss Section Human Rights Prize.
Errol Mendes

Professor at the University of Ottawa Faculty of Law, President of the International Commission of Jurists Canada Section, and Commissioner on the Ontario Human Rights Commission. He has served as an advisor to Governments, civil society groups, the United Nations, and the Office of the Prosecutor at the International Criminal Court. He has published extensively in the areas of human rights, constitutionalism, ethics, and global governance, and is the recipient of many prestigious awards, including the Walter S. Tarnopolsky Human Rights Award.
Kim Motley

Founder of Motley Legal Services and Consulting International. Serves as counsel to political prisoners around the world, and as a human rights litigator in defence of women's rights and the protection of children and the vulnerable. She is currently the first foreigner to litigate cases in Afghanistan’s Criminal Courts, and has worked in Afghanistan since 2008. As a leader in her field, she has travelled the globe to train legal practitioners and inspire the public to action. Her work is frequently covered in leading outlets, including the New York Times, Washington Post, CNN, BBC, Reuters, and the Today Show. 
Marina Nemat

Dissident, human Rights activist, and international bestselling author. A former political prisoner, she was jailed at the age of 16 in the notorious Evin prison, where she was tortured and raped. Refuging in Canada, she writes and lectures on her experiences and on the human rights crisis in Iran. She is Chair of the Writers in Exile Committee at PEN Canada, Member of the International Council of the Oslo Freedom Forum, Member of the Board of Directors of the Canadian Centre for Victims of Torture and of female political prisoner advocacy NGO Vigdis. She is a recipient of the inaugural Human Dignity Award from the European Parliament, the Grinzane Prize, and the Morris Abram Human Rights Award from UN Watch. 
Michael Petrou

Award-winning author and journalist who has reported from Europe, Africa, the Middle East and Central Asia. He has won two National Magazine Awards and the Ottawa Book Award for Non-fiction. He is also the recipient of the 2017 R. James Travers Foreign Corresponding Fellowship, which he used to examine the stories of displaced Syrians — with an emphasis on the millions of refugees who remain in the Middle East. 
Bob Rae, PC, CC, O.Ont, QC

Speaker, Writer, and Political Leader active on issues pertaining to First Nations, social justice, and international affairs. He has worked at the highest levels of government in Canada - including as Premier of Ontario - and has been elected eleven times to federal and provincial parliaments. He is a Member of Her Majesty’s Privy Council for Canada, the Order of Canada, the Order of Ontario, and has received numerous honourary degrees and awards from Canadian and foreign universities, colleges, and organizations.
Kent Roach

Professor at the University of Toronto Faculty of Law, Prichard-Wilson Chair of Law and Public Policy and Managing Editor of the Criminal Law Quarterly. He has authored many award-winning legal publications, and frequently appears as counsel in landmark criminal and constitutional cases. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, a recipient of the Trudeau Fellowship, and a Member of the Order of Canada. 
Ahmed Shaheed

United Nations Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion, Lecturer at the University of Essex Faculty of Law and Human Rights Centre, Founding Chair of the Universal Rights Group, and advisor to the UN Office on Genocide Prevention and the Responsibility to Protect. Former Foreign Minister of the Maldives and UN Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in Iran. He is the recipient of many international awards, including the Leo Nevas Human Rights (Global Leadership) Award of the UN Foundation. 
Hon. Murray Sinclair, MSC

Canadian Senator and Human Rights Leader. He was the first Aboriginal Judge appointed in Manitoba and second in Canada, was the Former Co-Chair of the Aboriginal Justice Inquiry in Manitoba, former Chief Commissioner of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, and past Professor at the University of Manitoba Faculty of Law. He has won numerous awards including the National Aboriginal Achievement Award, the Manitoba Bar Association Equality Award and its Distinguished Service Award, and is the recipient of eight Honourary Doctorates.
Charles Taylor, CC, GOQ, FBA, FRSC

One of the world's foremost public intellectuals. A McGill University Professor Emeritus, he continues to write and lecture extensively around the world. The New York Times has hailed his work as being of "stupendous breadth and erudition," and his former mentor Isaiah Berlin said of him that he "cannot fail to broaden the outlook of anyone who reads his works or listens to his lectures or, indeed, talks to him.” He is a recipient of numerous awards, including the Berggruen Prize, the John W. Kluge Prize, the Kyoto Prize, and the Templeton Prize.
Sherman Teichman

Senior Fellow at Harvard Kennedy School Carr Center for Human Rights, and Research Associate in the Department of Politics and International Relations at the University of Oxford. A former Founding Executive Director of the Institute for Global Leadership at Tufts University, he has had a distinguished career at the forefront of various foreign policy issues. He has been a leader in many human rights struggles, and is currently a strategic advisor to leading civil society groups around the world. 
Gil Troy

Professor at McGill University Department of History, and Visiting Scholar at the Bipartisan Policy Center in Washington. He is a past Chair of McGill's history Department and lecturer at Harvard University. A prolific and highly-esteemed scholar, he has appeared on most major Canadian and American television networks and has been widely published and quoted in the media. He has been described by Maclean's Magazine as one of Canada's most “Popular Profs” and the History News Network designated him one of its first 12 “Top Young Historians."
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