Spring 2012 Speaker Series

Event Date


Dr. Ekkehard Strauss, Former Human Rights Officer at the U.N. Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights

Popular Unrest in the Middle East & North Africa Region - Dawn of Universal Recognition of Human Rights for All?

Monday, March 26, 2012 - 12:00 PM - KH 1002 - Lunch served

Dr. Ekkehard Strauss holds a doctoral degree in international law and human rights from the University of Potsdam/ Germany. Following experience in academia, government and the private sector, he was seconded, from 1998-2001, to the OSCE to serve in different functions in Missions in Bosnia-Herzegovina and the, then, Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. He joined the petitions team of OHCHR in 2001. In 2002, he was assigned Desk Officer for the countries of former Yugoslavia. In 2004, he joined the Department of Political Affairs in New York to support the UN Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide in establishing his office and develop his working methods. Following the end of the mandate of the first Special Adviser in 2007, he joined the OHCHR New York Office to participate in the development and implementation of strategies related to the protection of civilians, the responsibility to protect, peacekeeping, peacebuilding and conflict prevention. Throughout his career, Dr. Strauss published extensively on protection of minorities, prevention of human rights violations, post-conflict peacebuilding and human rights responses to mass atrocities. Currently, he is on leave from the UN and works as consultant and researcher from Rabat, Morocco. He has been appointed adjunct professor at Griffith University, Australia.

Naz Modirzadeh

Naz Modirzadeh, J.D., Fellow at the HLS-Brookings Projects on Law and Security, Harvard Law School

Counterterrorism and Humanitarianism on a Crash Course?:

The Impact of "Material Support" Laws on Humanitarian Assistance in Situations of Armed Conflict

Tuesday, March 13, 2012 - 12PM - Room 1001, Kalmanovitz Appellate Advocacy Moot Courtroom - Davis, CA

Naz Modirzadeh is a Fellow at the HLS-Brookings Project on Law and Security at Harvard Law School. She is the former Associate Director of the Program on Humanitarian Conflict Research at Harvard University. At HPCR, Ms. Modirzadeh managed the international humanitarian law and Middle East portfolios. She previously worked for Human Rights Watch, and later served as Assistant Professor and Director of the International Human Rights Law graduate program at the American University in Cairo. Ms. Modirzadeh has carried out field research and trainings in the Middle East and Afghanistan, focusing on the intersections between Islamic law, international human rights and humanitarian law, and post-conflict legal reform. Her publications include policy and monitoring reports on the use of torture, the application of IHL, and human rights in post-war Afghanistan. Ms. Modirzadeh received her B.A. from the University of California, Berkeley and her J.D. from Harvard Law School.

Ms. Modirzadeh’s recent article identifies two countervailing sets of norms for engaging in armed conflict. The first promotes humanitarian engagement with non-state armed groups (NSAGs), in order to protect populations in need, and promote compliance with the rules of international humanitarian law (IHL). The second prohibits such engagement with listed ‘terrorist’ groups, by curtailing financial and other forms of material support, in order to protect security, despite some of these groups qualifying as NSAGs under IHL. This lecture explores how this conflict of norms might affect the capacity of humanitarian organizations to deliver life-saving assistance in areas under the control of one of these groups.

Lamis Deek

Lamis Deek, J.D.

Islamophobia: The New McCarthyism?

January 26, 2012, 12:00 - 1:00 pm

KH Room 1001, Lunch Served

Lamis Deek is a Palistinian Attorney, Human Rights Advocate and Community Organizer with a private practice in NYC, co-Vice President of the New York Chapter of the NLG and convenor of the NLG-NY's Muslim Defense committee. She will focus on the legal tactics required to effectively fight widespread anti-Muslim racism, from media to court rooms. She will examine the powerful anti-Muslim movement and how it trickles into the legal system; give insight into the lawsuits arising from the mosque attacks in NYC's Sheepshead Bay, as well as the recent Rye Park Playland cases out of New York; and discuss the anti-Muslim racism in police dealings, and de-evolution in the criminal field, with detailed accounting of types of surveillance & daily practices of law enforcement in the survellances.