23 October 2014
Cambridge Workshop at the Harvard Kennedy School on Teaching Human Rights Practice
Workshop participants. Photo: ESI
Workshop participants. Photo: ESI

ESI's Gerald Knaus participated in a three days working seminar in Harvard on the future of human rights practice in the 21st century. The seminar was organized around a series of questions such as: What will be the human rights issues in the next ten to twenty years? How will the global human rights 'regime' need to change to safeguard and realize human rights aspirations in that time? Are there areas of current practice that must be developed or expanded as a result of these changes? Are entirely new skills and capacities, institutions and movements needed to meet those challenges?

One conclusion was that the big human rights organisations are good diagnosticians, but the crucial gap is policy and strategy. The widespread assumption that "once the world knows what we know, things will change" rarely holds true. The challenge is how to change this and how to become strategic.

Other participants included Michael Posner, former US undersecretary of state for human rights; Doug Johnson, former head of Center for Victims of Torture for 24 years; Michael Ignatieff; Tyler Giannini, co-director of the Harvard Law School human rights program; Elazar Barkan from Columbia and John Ruggie, Kathryn Sikking, Carr Center for Human Rights Policy, and others.

Gerald presented on the crisis of the European human rights regime. This crisis has become obvious in the recent crack down on human rights in Russia and Azerbaijan and in debates on what human rights standards should be upheld, from the Balkans to Turkey; and in the failures of the Council of Europe and the European Union to confront these new challenges effectively. 

Participants' biographies

About us
Photo credits
Alan Grant is an Irish photographer who travelled extensively in the Balkans and other countries and regions of the world. Thanks to him, ESI is able to show fascinating pictures of the Balkans: the facades of Tirana, the painted mosques of Travnik, the fabulous old houses of Plovdiv and the spectacular blue of water - dark in the Bay of Kotor, emerald in the river valleys of Bosnia, deep blue in Ohrid, twinkling in the Aegean Sea and on the Bosporus.

You can find out more about Alan Grant on his websites:
Jonathan Lewis lives between London and Istanbul. He moved to London and spent many years studying photography and now specialises in photojournalism, documentary photography and commercial work for a wide variety of private and commercial clients in the UK, Europe and Turkey. His work has appeared in a number of magazines and publications and is used on the ESI website as well.

You can find out more about Jonathan Lewis on his website www.jonathanlewisphoto.com