Human Rights Institute's Co-directors Plan Expansion

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December 12, 2007 – Sarah H. Cleveland and Peter Rosenblum, the new co-directors of Columbia Law School’s Human Rights Institute, plan to expand on the Institute’s activities as the Institute, a pathbreaker in the legal study and practice of human rights, marks its tenth anniversary. 
The two professors say they want the Institute to expand on the already extensive human rights activities at Columbia through a wide array of symposia, conferences, lectures, faculty and student exchanges, fellowships, internships and other programs.
“Human rights is a priority for this law school. The Institute offers an opportunity to combine scholarship with practice and to build bridges between the wonderful activism of Columbia’s Human Rights Clinic, the rich scholarship in the Law School and the University, and human rights advocacy around the globe,” said Cleveland.
Cleveland and Rosenblum are advancing the work of Professor Emeritus Louis Henkin, often called the father of human rights law, who helped build the Institute into a driving force for the protection of human rights.
 ``Sarah Cleveland joins us as an expert in international human rights law,’’ Schizer said. ``She and Peter Rosenblum will ensure that the Human Rights Institute continues the pioneering work begun by Louis Henkin more than 50 years ago and which reflects some of the core values of Columbia Law School.’’
Cleveland said she wants to develop an intensive workshop format at the Institute. “I would like to see the Institute draw people together from diverse perspectives to grapple with cutting edge human rights problems and develop creative solutions,’’ she said, ``whether the issue is the human rights implications of natural resource extraction contracts in the developing world, strengthening the Inter-American regional human rights system, or exploring more effective ways to employ human rights arguments in U.S. courts.’’
Cleveland also wants to expand on two areas of historical strength for the Institute – the role of human rights in U.S. law and practice, and the relationship between business and human rights.
Founded in 1998, The Human Rights Institute provides a focal point at the Law School for human rights activities. Columbia University was the first to make human rights prominent in university education, and Columbia Law School has the oldest comprehensive human rights program in legal education in the United States, including one of the first internship programs and human rights clinics.
``Human rights has been a part of the life of Columbia Law School for decades,’’ said Rosenblum. ``The Institute helps to provide impetus, support and direction. With Professor Cleveland we will build on this to give a face to the myriad human rights activities at the school and to expand them.”
Cleveland, the Louis Henkin Professor of Human and Constitutional Rights, arrived at Columbia Law School July 1 from the University of Texas School of Law. She is a noted expert in the role and relevance of using international law in United States courts and in the relationship between human rights and international trade.
Rosenblum is the Lieff, Cabraser, Heimann & Bernstein Associate Clinical Professor in Human Rights at Columbia Law School. He has worked with numerous international agencies, NGOs and the United Nations, and has written, researched and taught on human rights.
``I think Sarah and I are a great pairing,’’ Rosenblum said. ``She is steeped in the law and jurisprudence of rights, but has an activist inclination and internationalist orientation.’’
Cleveland said Rosenblum ``has a tremendous knowledge about human rights problems around the globe and deep connections to the NGO advocacy community in New York and beyond.’’
Building on an extensive foundation of human rights education, Columbia Law School created the Human Rights Institute a decade ago to help train the next generation of lawyers, teachers and human rights professionals. The Institute builds bridges between theory and practice, between law and other disciplines, between national constitutional rights and international human rights.
The Institute’s first director was Catherine Powell, who worked together with Louis Henkin to develop the Institute.
Columbia Law School, founded in 1858, stands at the forefront of legal education and of the law in a global society. Columbia Law School joins traditional strengths in international and comparative law, human rights law, constitutional law, administrative law and business law with pioneering work in the areas of intellectual property, digital technology, sexuality and gender, and criminal law.