Garth Meintjes, President of PILnet, will lead a discussion on building partnerships between private and public interest lawyers in the era of globalization to promote social change. By harnessing a full range of legal tools for the public interest, lawyers can qualitatively advance progress in confronting the most challenging issues of today, including climate change, extreme income inequality and the refugee crises.
A non-pizza lunch will be served. Hosted by SJI.
Garth Meintjes Bio
Garth Meintjes became president of PILnet at the end of 2015, when he succeeded its founder, Edwin Rekosh. Prior to joining PILnet, Garth served as the executive director of ISLP for nearly five years. Under his leadership, ISLP completed a strategic review, which resulted in a more focused mission to advance “just and accountable development” by mobilizing pro bono expertise to support the efforts of civil society groups and least developed country governments. He also led the integration of the organization’s operations in the United States and Europe.
Previously, Garth was at the International Legal Foundation, an organization that helps develop public defender systems in post-conflict countries. Here he served as chief operating officer and oversaw the expansion of their programs in Afghanistan and Nepal. Before this he led the JEHT Foundation’s international justice program, which focused on challenging U.S. exceptionalism to international justice, particularly in its national security policies.
Garth was born and raised in South Africa and received his B.A. from the University of Stellenbosch and an LL.B. from the University of Cape Town. As a conscientious objector to compulsory service in the South African Defence Force, he was effectively barred from entering professional legal practice. While teaching constitutional law and criminal law at the University of the Western Cape, he received a scholarship to study international human rights at the Notre Dame Law School, where he earned LL.M. and JSD degrees, summa cum laude.
Garth spent 14 years at Notre Dame, where, as associate director of the Center for Civil and Human Rights, he helped build the Center into an internationally recognized human rights institution. The Center brings together lawyers from around the world to learn about international human rights and helps them to secure jobs or internships in the field after completing the program. At Notre Dame, he also wrote and taught in the areas of international law and human rights, particularly accountability for gross violations of human rights.